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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Pirelli Gathering Data for Kyalami Debut

Pirelli planning for unknown conditions for November’s IGTC finale at Kyalami…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

Pirelli has started preparation for the unknown conditions in the Kyalami 9 Hour, although it isn’t currently planning to do any testing prior to the November race.

November’s new Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli round poses a range of challenges to all involved, taking place on a newly reopened Kyalami circuit near Johannesburg, South Africa.

With no data from other “representative” events to use, the series’ sole tire supplier could be heading to Kyalami less prepared than for other events.

Despite this, it isn’t currently planning any testing at the track ahead of the IGTC finale, according to its circuit technical manager Matteo Braga.

“We are looking at [testing possibilities],” Braga told Sportscar365. “For the moment, there is nothing planned.

“We have some people from our local motorsports division in South Africa who are passing some information [on].

“But we don’t have representative events there that can be used as a representative for the 9 Hours, obviously.

“We are always discussing with the SRO and manufacturers for collecting data and to understand what the scenario [will be] there.”

South African weather conditions in November – during summer in the southern hemisphere – are expected to make for a hot race at Kyalami, while the circuit could be quite abrasive. 

The nine-hour race will begin at 1 p.m. local time although, with a fairly early sunset time of around 6:40 p.m., not all of the race will be in direct sunlight.

Braga believes that Pirelli’s growing dataset from the many series it supplies worldwide, coupled with the experience gained after almost two years running its P Zero DHD2 compound, will prepare it sufficiently for the Kyalami challenge.

He also expects the new track to have similar characteristics to Spa and Suzuka; both circuits that IGTC teams will have had experience running on in hot conditions. 

“The experience that we have with the product that we are supplying now shows that we are quite good at covering a very wide range of conditions,” he said.

“We think that Kyalami won’t be too far from any of the more critical or severe circuits that we go to, like Suzuka or Spa, or something like that.

“We are doing simulations and some evaluations for that.”

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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