Pirelli presents MINI challenge at Brands Hatch

Italian tyre firm Pirelli, the official supplier to Formula One, had a strong presence at the MotorSport Vision Racing Media Day at Brands Hatch on Tuesday, equipping the MINI Challenge for the first time.A number of the leading drivers turned out to demonstrate their cars to assembled media and guests, including former MINI Challenge champion Lee Allen in a Pirelli-branded MINI John Cooper Works, as well as Chris Panayiotou. For the MINI drivers, this was their first chance to sample the new Pirelli tyres for this year – and they were extremely encouraged by their performance in both wet and dry weather.Conditions were damp at Brands Hatch in the morning – formerly the home of the British Grand Prix – allowing the MINI drivers to sample both the Pirelli 225/625-17 WH wet tyre and the 225/625-17 DH slick tyre, as the track dried out in the afternoon. There are two classes within the MINI Challenge: the turbocharged JCW class and the Club class. The Pirelli RX5 15-inch intermediate tyre is also used for the less powerful Club class.The Brands Hatch Indy circuit contains long corners such as the exhilarating Paddock Hill bend, one of the most famous corners in British motorsport, as well as tight and technical sections such as the Druids hairpin. This allowed the drivers to experience the performance of the Pirelli tyres under a wide range of conditions, with the verdict being unanimously positive. The first round of the championship takes place at Silverstone on 14 April.Paul Harvey, the Managing Director of series promoter Total Track said: “The drivers were delighted with their first taste of the Pirelli tyres, in terms of grip, performance and durability. Both in the wet and in the dry the tyres gave plenty of feedback, even though the conditions were very tricky: up until yesterday we were shovelling snow off the pit lane! We’re looking forward to some even more thrilling races this year as we enter this important new partnership with Pirelli, bringing two iconic brands together.”Pirelli UK’s Motorsport Manager Carl Naylor said: “It was great to kick off the MINI Challenge season with the press day at Brands Hatch, which enabled the competitors to sample the tyres that they will use this year. We’re delighted to welcome MINI to the Pirelli family: a manufacturer that Pirelli supplies as original equipment. MINIs have always been an integral part of the scene in Britain and this latest series is an important new addition to our motorsport portfolio.”