Pirelli will introduce a new slick tire family for next year that will see the GT3, GT4 and GT2 categories aligned under the same product developed using the same materials.
The Pirelli P Zero DHF range will replace the GT3 formula’s DHE and the GT4 category’s DHB that were both introduced in 2020.
The launch of a new product comes with the introduction of a “big change” in the tire compound, according to Pirelli’s racing manager Matteo Braga who described the DHF launch as a “milestone” for the company’s involvement in the GT arena led by SRO.
It also marks the first time that GT3, GT4 and GT2 tires have been designed “following the same processes and technologies.”
“From our side, it is about the optimization of all our production processes,” Braga told Sportscar365.
“By implementing virtual design, we have reduced the production of prototypes and testing by 20 percent. It’s quite a bit step in that direction of sustainability.
“Obviously it can improve, but that is something that we have in our roadmap for the next six or seven years.
“For the teams, we are bringing new materials to GT4 that are the same materials as GT3. We have renewed most of them.
“But it’s not that we just put something sustainable in there without thinking about performance and durability.
“We did an improvement in the construction for GT3 and GT4, trying to have a better connection between the front and rear with all the different models.”
Braga explained that the new slick tire compound marks one of the main technological differences between the current GT3 and GT4 Pirelli products and the upcoming DHF.
“In terms of materials, we are going to make a big change in the track compound,” he said.
“That’s something that in the last six or seven years has never been changed. Just fine-tuned, but never changed.
“One of the main targets was to be able to widen the working range of the compound.
“Today we think that the bottom of the range is quite good, so we have tried to enlarge the top. In hotter conditions it will improve the consistency and stability.”
According to Braga, testing of the DHF has been in motion for a while and required Pirelli to identify an initial base before applying changes based on manufacturer feedback.
It’s understood that ideas for the DHF have fed into Pirelli’s tires used by development team Dinamic Motorsport in the NLS, while learnings from that Nürburgring-based initiative are also being fed back into the DHF program.
“In the last few years we have had good connections with the manufacturers, and they have supported us quite well in the development,” Braga said.
“It’s always a continuous development. Some of the concepts we started to test and develop a couple of years ago. Every time it was something new.
“Once we found something that was quite stable and gave good results with everybody, we tested with the most representative manufacturers.”
Pirelli’s introduction of a new GT racing tire comes at a time when the company is outlining high sustainability targets including a 30 percent increase in renewable material usage by 2025 and carbon neutrality at its factory by 2030.
The new P Zero DHF tires will include new types of renewable materials and “evolutions” of renewable materials found in Pirelli’s existing GT racing products.
According to Braga, “everything is moving toward optimization and efficiency” in tire development.
“We are always developing new products for GT and our customer range,” he said.
“At the end, there were a few things that were going on between this year and next year, including some changes in the international regulations about raw materials.
“Following our development plan that began in 2012 when we started with SRO, the idea was always to try to optimize the range and reduce the mix.
“When we started to supply GT4 we used a product that was a bit different to GT3, and we tried during the year to bring the technologies and materials of GT4 as close as possible to GT3.
“2022 was the perfect time for this milestone in our development, where we can share design processes, materials for the GT3 and GT4 ranges, and consequently GT2 which comes from a mix of GT3 and GT4 sizes.
“It was quite interesting because when we began to supply GT3 and GT4, we reduced by 60 percent the mix of GT3 sizes, and 30 percent the mix of GT4.
“It means that from a logistical perspective – but also materials, management and scrap – everything has been reduced.
“We have reached a point from where we treat the GT world as one world.”
Target for Most Series to Have DHF in 2022
Pirelli is aiming to roll out the new DHF tire in almost all of the championships that use SRO Motorsports Group’s Balance of Performance system from next year.
However, Braga explained that it can only do so once each series has completed its initial BoP measurements for the 2022 season.
“We will start in all the championships that are using the SRO BoP and all the major ones that are using GT3 and GT4 cars, such as Italian GT and GT Masters,” he said.
“All around the world, we need to understand what the right timeframe is to introduce it.
“We will introduce the new product just after the BoP. So we will try to use the [current] product in all the championships that are starting before, so probably only GT World Challenge Australia will be [later to adopt the DHF].”
GTWC Australia has been using the older DHD2 tire so far this season but is set to switch to the P Zero DHE for the final round of the campaign at Bathurst in December.
“The rest of the world will try to implement the new product,” Braga added. “It depends on stock management and availability, but we are targeting to start from the beginning.
“We know that now, from a logistical point of view, it is not easy to ship everything around the world.
“Everything is becoming complicated, but our target is to be ready at least for all the SRO BoP series since the beginning.”