May 14, 2009



MONTEREY, California – Pirelli Tire North America Motorsport is supporting two of its race series on the road this weekend – The Volkswagen (VW) Jetta TDI Cup and the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. The Jetta TDI Cup is heading into its second race weekend of the 2009 season at Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, Utah; and the Verizon Festival of Speed presented by SPEEDCOM for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 gets underway today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California; both series run exclusively on P Zero racing tires and Pirelli is providing on-site service and support at both events this weekend.


The Jetta TDI Cup series was off to a successful start alongside the Rolex Series last month at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). While Pirelli is in its second season as the Official Tire of the Grand-Am Rolex Series, the season-opening TDI Cup race marked the debut of Pirelli as the new and exclusive tire supplier for the innovative series that features clean-diesel Volkswagen Jettas and featured two rounds of competition – one on Saturday and one on Sunday.

This weekend’s Miller event will be a single-round race for the TDI Cup, and will be held on Miller’s 2.183-mile West Course. Rookies Joey Atterbury and Jake Thompson split the race wins at VIR. Positive reports about the new Pirellis poured in from competitors and Volkswagen officials alike after the first two rounds of racing at VIR last month.

“The Pirellis felt great,” said VIR Race 2 winner Thompson, who was victorious in his first ever weekend of racing cars. “The tires were actually really consistent all through the race. Today was a little hotter than yesterday, so it was maybe a touch more challenging, but they were so consistent, and that is all you can ask for. Despite the temperature, the Pirellis didn’t go away. I was amazed and they held right through to the end.”

Second-year TDI Cup drivers Mark Pombo and Taylor Broekemeier finished second and third in Race 2 behind Thompson.
“The Pirellis are phenomenal,” said Broekemeier. “You don’t want to think about tires, you just want them to be there and that is exactly how the Pirellis were – they were there when I needed them. The tires seem a little quicker (than last year’s tires) and initial bite on turn in is great. The car is a lot more stable on turn in, and the same thing on exit. When you get back on the power it just takes off. The Pirellis really hook up.”

Volkswagen officials were also pleased with the initial weekend performance of the Pirelli P Zeros on the VW Jetta TDIs.

“Our new second-season drivers have a talent level that surpasses last year and the car’s performance on the Pirelli tires this year is phenomenal,” said Clark Campbell, Motorsport Manager, Volkswagen of America, Inc., about the debut weekend at VIR. “I credit a lot of that driver skill on the track to the new tire. We are so pleased with the Pirelli and its durability. Performance and grip on the track has really allowed the drivers to focus on their skills. We had clean races with no caution flags and I think Pirelli has been a big part of that.”


Pirelli Tire North America partner Chip Foose will be the Grand Marshal of this weekend’s Verizon Festival of Speed presented by SPEEDCOM, Round 4 of the 2009 Rolex Series schedule. The race will be Foose’s first Grand-Am Rolex Series event and is just another step in what has been a successful relationship with Pirelli and a life-long passion for all things related to the automotive culture.

Foose and Pirelli have also been in the news lately after the announcement of the Chip Foose-Pirelli Edition Ford Flex Giveaway that will be conducted throughout the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season.

“I had been talking about doing a program with Pirelli, so I built that Flex for the Pirelli booth at SEMA and we debuted it there last November,” Foose said. “Then Pirelli got back to me and said Grand-Am wants to tour it. I said ‘Wow, that’s cool – can I go to a race?’”

Fans can participate in the contest by watching Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series races on SPEED this season. During the race broadcasts a special Pirelli Prize Word will be shown on camera; prompting viewers to visit the contest website at to read the official contest rules and enter the Pirelli Prize Word(s) for a chance to win the Pirelli Edition Ford Flex. Contest rules are also available at participating Pirelli Tire dealers across the country. Fans from the first two races have been chosen so far – Jerry Peak of Virginia and James Colavita of New Jersey – as winners of the first two qualifying contests, and will travel to the Grand-Am Rolex Series season-ending event at Homestead-Miami Speedway, October 10, where one lucky fan will be given the key to the custom car!


Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series

In the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series championship standings, No. 58 Brumos Porsche Riley teammates and Rolex 24 at Daytona winners David Donohue and Darren Law lead with 88 points heading into the Laguna Seca
race. Virginia winners Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty and the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley team are second with 84 points and No. 12 Verizon Wireless/Penske Racing Porsche Riley and drivers Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas are third with 79 points.

In the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series GT championship, TRG Porsche GT3 driver Spencer Pumpelly is alone on top of the standings with 89 points. Dirk Werner and Leh Keen and the No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Porsche GT3 team and the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R team and drivers Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell are all tied for second at 86 points.


In the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup, Josh Hurley of Cooper City, Florida is in first place with 260 points; Liam Kenney of Sterling, Virginia is second with 255 points; and Mark Pombo of Duluth, Georgia is third with 234 points.


VW Jetta TDI Cup driver Jake Thompson has been racing and winning championships in go-karts in his native Canada since he was 13, but 2009 marks his first year in cars – on and off the race track. The Vancouver native has never owned a street car and his experience racing cars consisted of 2009 TDI Cup try outs and a pair of practice sessions in a borrowed Acura Integra in Canada just prior to his VIR debut.

“Even when I got my driver’s license I have driven a rusty pick-up truck for the last seven years,” Thompson said. “When I tried out for the Jetta TDI Cup – that was my first weekend in a race car. We got four sessions there and then I rented a car back home and did about 30 laps and then went to VIR.”


Andrew Davis, No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R – Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series – “Laguna Seca is certainly one of the best circuits in North America. Its combination of both high and low speed corners in addition to the drastic elevation changes make for an exciting lap. Although the track surface is quite smooth, front grip is usually at a premium around the circuit. Last year, the Stevenson Motorsports crew worked hard to make sure that our BryanMark Financial Pontiac GXP.R was working the front tires hard enough. The 2009 Pirelli tire has provided us with more grip, so I expect the car to be even better this year. In addition to increased grip, the longevity of the Pirelli tire has also been very impressive this season. From a driver’s perspective, it is very confidence inspiring to know that you can push a tire to the maximum for the entire stint.”

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. For more information please visit
Media Contacts:
Rafael Navarro, Director Communications & Motorsports

Joe Severns, Public Relations Manager