The opening round of this year’s Intercontinental GT Challenge – the only intercontinental series for the world’s top GT drivers, with Pirelli as exclusive tyre supplier – gets underway this weekend at the famous Bathurst 12 Hours in Australia. The Mount Panorama track is one of the most epic on the planet, with several changes in elevation and some truly demanding corners. Pirelli currently holds the track record, set two years ago in qualifying when there was still open tyre competition.
Pirelli will bring its P Zero slick specifically designed for GT racing to Bathurst, which has been tried and tested in the Blancpain GT Series, plus a wet tyre in case it rains. To cope with the demands of the circuit and expected hot weather during the day, as well as to provide the capability to double-stint, this tyre comes in a hard compound only.
Last year, there were numerous safety car periods during the 12 hours, so tailoring the race stop strategy to take advantage of these neutralisations proved to be key. The tyres can be double-stinted, but with the race starting at 05:45 and then finishing in the late afternoon, ambient temperatures can vary by 59 degrees Fahrenheit or more, which also has an effect on tyre wear and degradation.
Matteo Braga, Pirelli’s Circuit Activity Manager: “Contrary to previous years, we are bringing only one type of tyre to the Bathurst 12 Hours this time. This tyre works equally well on a wide range of vehicle structures and should have the effect of tightening the competition by removing a number of variables. As a result, this could be the hardest-fought race here yet. The surface at Bathurst is smooth and low-grip, but with high temperatures and challenging corners, there is a lot of work to do for the tyres. It’s a circuit with very specific demands.”
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