Pirelli Tire North America is readying itself for whatever Mother Nature may bring to bear at this weekend’s EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Even as last year’s torrential downpours at Mid-Ohio – or the rain last month at a similarly challenging race at New Jersey Motorsports Park –are still fresh on the minds of some teams, forecasters are predicting great weather in central Ohio for this weekend’s event.

Saturday’s EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington is Round 6 of the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season. Daytona Prototype and GT race teams will take to the 2.258-mile Buckeye road course for the twilight race.

The race starts just after 5 p.m. ET this Saturday, June 20, for a 2 ¾ hour timed sprint. Live coverage of the race will be broadcast on SPEED starting at 5 p.m. ET.

Rain or shine, teams and drivers in both the Daytona Prototype and GT divisions know they can count on Pirelli P Zeros this weekend.

“I think historically Pirelli has a very good rain tire for everything from go karts up to the big classes,” said Nic Jonsson, who co-drove to victory in the rain in New Jersey with teammate Ricardo Zonta in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola. “I have been racing on Pirelli tires from back in my days of racing in Europe. We never had any problems. They seem to be very consistent and a very reliable rain tire. I feel confident and good about the Pirelli rain tires.”

Jonsson’s confidence doesn’t end with the P Zero rain tires. He believes Pirelli racing slicks are up to the job at Mid-Ohio as well.

“Mid-Ohio is one of the higher grip tracks we go to,” Jonsson said. “I think it is one of the tracks you can run very long on one set of tires without losing too much lap time. I think the Pirelli will be a very good tire for the Mid-Ohio race.”

Zonta is also feeling good about Pirelli heading to Mid-Ohio.

“I enjoy the close racing and atmosphere in Grand-Am competition,” Zonta said. “I think we can do well there with the Lola because the Pirelli tires should work well with our car to give us good grip. I am looking forward to getting in the car again, and who knows… it might rain!”

On the GT front, the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R of Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis finished second in last year’s rainy Mid-Ohio race with Liddell pressuring the winning Farnbacher Loles Porsche of Leh Keen to the finish. Rain or shine, he knows Pirelli will be ready for Mid-Ohio.

“I am sure, as always, the tires will perform very well,” said Liddell, who won with Davis earlier this year in Round 2 at Virginia International Raceway. “We know that the development they have done over the winter on the P Zeros has been really beneficial to all of the cars in the GT class.”

Last year’s rain race at Mid-Ohio is also still fresh in Lidell’s mind.

“Last year it was a tough race at the end because the track dried very quickly, we were all on (racing rain tires), and it was just a question of whose wets were deteriorating quicker in those drying conditions,” Liddell said. “We were very close to winning, but ultimately we settled for second in that situation. I expect we will have a good car there and we actually learned a lot there last year when we stayed on for the Monday test. We had a tricky car handling wise all weekend but the tires performed well. We are looking to start with a better car there this year, so we are pretty upbeat about it and I think we should have a good result at Mid-Ohio.”

A special Monday test open to all Grand-Am Rolex Series teams will be held again this year at Mid-Ohio following the EMCO weekend.

Pirelli Tire North America designs, develops, manufactures and markets tires for passenger vehicles in both the original equipment and replacement markets as well as markets and distributes tires for motorcycles and motorsports. Located in Rome, Georgia, Pirelli’s Modular Integrated Robotized System (MIRS) employs state-of-the-art technology to manufacture tires for both export and domestic markets.

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Media Contacts:
Rafael Navarro, Director Communications & Motorsports
951-533-0305 rafael.navarro@pirelli.com

Joe Severns, Public Relations Manager
706-506-2195 joe.severns@pirelli.com