Multitasking all over the world
One of the buzzwords of modern life is ‘multitasking’. Even your telephone these days is expected to carry out a myriad of functions alongside the mundane business of making and receiving calls (you can even get an app to maintain the apps). Whip out a phone from your pocket that can be used only for telephone calls and people will look at it with same incredulous scrutiny that they would examine a prehistoric meteor that has just crashed to earth.
So in this multifunctional world, Pirelli’s approach in motorsport – during which the Italian firm regularly competes on a variety of very different competitions, all over the world – certainly captures the zeitgeist.
Many championships: a single core of dedicated people
There are nearly 300 different championships that Pirelli takes part in, both on four wheels and two, in racing and rallying. This weekend provides a perfect example of why the Italian firm is not only the world leader in ultra high performance road car tyres, but also the world leader in motorsport tyres. The two go together after all.
Firstly, there is the Japanese Grand Prix: one of the most demanding races on tyres of the entire season, featuring massive g-loadings at Suzuka.
This year, Japan is the second half of a so-called ‘double-header’ – when the 55 or so members of the Pirelli race team, along with the rest of the circus, travels directly from one race to the next on consecutive weekends, rather than going home.
It’s tough, but with an unprecedented 21 races on the calendar this year (to be repeated in 2017) it’s more or less inevitable. And in Pirelli’s case, there’s far more than just Formula 1® going on.
Many peoples’ roles overlap, but to take care of the 300 global championships going on worldwide, there are ‘only’ around 1000 people within Pirelli working exclusively on motorsport – meaning that the campaign is driven by a bunch of extraordinarily dedicated people, working across a variety of series, who have mastered the art of being everywhere at once. They are led by motorsport director Paul Hembery, who missed the last F1® race at Malaysia in order to attend the Blancpain GT Series finale at Barcelona.
This flexible approach, shared by everyone working in motorsport, allows an incredible amount of knowledge transfer across all the championships: a key to Pirelli’s famed reactivity. This contributes to the rapid evolution of competition products, which also benefits road car tyres.
Rallying and racing
As well as Formula 1®, Pirelli’s other big engagement during the coming weekend is the Rallylegend Festival in San Marino. You’ll read more about this later in the magazine, but it combines both modern and historic rallying on an event that is expected to be attended by around 60,000 spectators from all over Europe.
Pirelli is supplying the tyres for all the competing cars: more than 1200 covers in total, for cars that range from the Lancia 037 to the Group A Subaru Legacy. In rallying, this is set to be one of the company’s biggest single engagements of the year, alongside the Monza Rally that will take place during the weekend of December 3-4.
That’s Asia and Europe covered – so how about America? There’s plenty going on over there too. The trucks are setting off for round 11 of the Pirelli World Challenge in Laguna Seca, California, while Formula 4 takes place on the other side of the continent at Homestead in Florida. Now in its 27th year, the Pirelli World Challenge is probably the biggest championship in the world, involving more than 20 manufacturers with around 90 cars (split into seven classes) at each round.
And did we mention that there’s a GT4 round taking place in Zandvoort as well? Not to mention the preparations for the latest round of the World Rally Championship in Spain?
Two wheels as well as four
The action isn’t confined to four wheels either. The French round of the World Superbike Championship at Magny-Cours (the home of the French Grand Prix right up until 2008) is scheduled for this weekend. Around 20 Pirelli personnel attend every WSBK bike race. In parallel to that, there’s another important bike race – the latest round of the British Superbike series – also taking place at the legendary venue of Assen in Holland.
Sometimes, it’s hard to keep track…