Pirelli’s new P Zero DHD tire has caused concern with Lamborghini teams and other mid-engined cars in the Blancpain GT Series paddock, following a series of punctures and issues.
Pre-season testing has seen numerous tire failures, in an issue that first became apparent in a private test at Misano, as well as the official pre-season test at Paul Ricard earlier this month.
GRT team boss Gottfried Grasser, who fields factory-supported Lamborghinis, told Sportscar365 he’s unsure whether the tire will be able to complete 30-minute stints in today’s under-the-lights season-opener, after suffering some issues during private testing and practice on Friday.
Attempto Racing also experienced problems with its Huracán GT3s, encountering at least two punctures in last night’s Free Practice 2.
The cars, however, were still able to show competitive pace over one lap during practice.
Along with the Lamborghini, the Audi R8 LMS is another car prone to the issue, although the German manufacturer only seems affected to a lesser extent.
“We know that the Lamborghini and Audi chassis demand a lot from the rear axle,” Pirelli’s Circuit Activity Manager Matteo Braga told Sportscar365.
“They need to rebalance the car and adapt the way they use the tire compared to last year, to reset the limit.”
Pirelli has been the exclusive tire supplier for the series since 2012 and only offers a single dry (and wet weather) compound for all GT3 models.
While the new tire was developed specifically to suit a wider range of vehicle architectures and improve driveability for gentlemen drivers, the complex nature of the 16-turn, 2.63-mile circuit, which features hairpin bends, large curbs and fast sections, has made for high lateral load, according to the Italian tire manufacturer.
Braga confirmed there was a last minute private test session with Lamborghini and Audi at Misano last week, in order to find the best set of parameters for the race weekend.
As a result, Pirelli has issued somewhat conservative guidelines for camber and tire pressure settings this weekends.
It’s understood that SRO is aware of the tire issue and has enacted additional safety measures.