GT World Challenge America powered by AWS drivers have given praise to Pirelli’s new PZero DHE tire, which is making its global competition debut in this weekend’s season-opener at Circuit of The America.
The new construction, which replaces the DHD2 tire, will be utilized in all three GTWC series this year, Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli as well as other SRO-run championships.
DXDT Racing’s Ryan Dalziel said he’s noticed improvements in tire degradation and stability with the new tire, with team’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo having completed a back-to-back tests between the DHD2 to DHE during the off-season.
“Without them telling us too much, it seems like it’s a little bit of a stiffer sidewall,” Dalziel told Sportscar365.
“The Mercedes is a typical entry understeer car, so I actually think it’s helped us out speed-wise.
“For us, there’s no negatives. We drove it at Buttonwillow and put a half a day on it and compared it to last year’s tire.
“You’ll give up a little bit of traction but I think in degradation we’ll probably gain so throughout the stint, it should be better all around.
“We didn’t struggle last year with rear tire wear. So for us, I think it will help us purely on conserving a bit of front tire by helping the car turn.”
Several cars, including the Porsche 911 GT3 R, struggled with the previous-gen DHD2, particularly at high-speed tracks such as Road America and Watkins Glen.
GMG Racing team owner/driver James Sofronas said he’s been “impressed” by the strides made with the DHE.
“Not only does it have more overall grip, but it seems to have more stability and long term grip over a stint,” Sofronas told Sportscar365.
“In our short amount of testing, we’ve been impressed right away and the lap times proved it.
“I’m sure Pirelli did what they had to do and time will tell after the first race how these tires withstand, maybe with some curbs, late stint charges and pushing hard. I’m excited.”
Reigning GT3 Pro-Am champion Kyle Marcelli echoed Dalziel and Sofronas’ comments on improved degradation, although indicated the DHE has not required any massive changes in setup.
“It’s been four months since driving the car. It’s really difficult to have an apples to apples comparison on the previous tire to this years,” he said.
“What I can say is that this year’s tire, we’re finding the tire deg to be quite good. I expect it to be pretty consistent over a stint.
“There’s not a huge amount of magic in a [fresh] tire.
“We find that as we go from a heavy fuel load in a new tire to a light fuel load in an [worn] tire, we’re kind of same in the ballpark.
“It’s been nice. It’s been great to tune on and been consistent and reliable.”
Dalziel, meanwhile, believes the true test will come later this year at more demanding tracks and in higher temperature environments.
“COTA is also not very rough on tires and the temperatures are not very high,” he said.
“So once we go somewhere where you run those aggressive cambers and high g-loads, this is probably one of the lowest grip tracks we come to.”
In addition to the DHE, Pirelli has also developed an updated GT4 tire, the DHB, which also debuts this weekend for Pirelli GT4 America competitors.