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Pirelli, Dunlop to offer 'green' tires for racing

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Pirelli Competizioni and Dunlop Motorsports both will be offering “greener” race tires this coming season, having converted their respective race tire production to more environmentally friendly processes.

Both race tire suppliers recently disclosed that their 2010 specification products are being produced with highly aromatic oil-free processing oils in line with European Union regulations banning the use of aromatic oils, which are suspected carcinogens.

Pirelli's 2010-spec P Zero Racing Slick for the Grand-Am Rolex Series got its first broad-scale test recently at a two-day Grand-Am test session at Daytona International Speedway's 3.56-mile road course held to help teams prepare for the 24-hour endurance race at the same track Jan. 30-31.

Pirelli is the exclusive supplier of race tires for the Grand-Am Rolex series, although Pirelli recently stated 2010 will be its last season in this role. Pirelli's race tires are made at the firm's tire plant in Izmit, Turkey.

The introduction of the HAOF-based tires in Grand-Am reflects Pirelli Tire North America Inc.'s strategy to increase the number of “environmentally sustainable” products in its lineup, according to Tom Gravalos, vice president of motorsport, marketing and OE sales.

Pirelli's goal is to double the share of such products in its portfolio to 40 percent by 2011, Gravalos said.

The teams in the Rolex Series got another preseason opportunity to try out the 2010-spec race tires Jan. 8-10 at the “Roar Before the Rolex 24” test session.

In Europe, Dunlop Motorsports—a unit of Goodyear Dunlop U.K. Ltd.—has reformulated the compound for the Sport Maxx race tire it produces for the British Touring Car Championship to accommodate the use of low polycyclic aromatic materials in line with the EU regulations.

Dunlop said the new polymer technology will be used in the firm's ultra-high performance Sport Maxx road tires.

The 2010-spec tire also incorporates an aramid overlay in its construction and has a miniature radio frequency identification tag embedded inside. The tag—just 1 centimeter in length—enables BTCC officials to track every tire from production and allocation to each team right back to their return to Dunlop for recycling, Dunlop said.

The new tire incorporates lessons learned from Dunlop's Le Mans racing activities in 2009, both in Europe and North America, the firm said. It is the result of 18 months of intensive design and materials and construction development by the firm's European Motorsport Operations based at Fort Dunlop in Birmingham, England.

The launch of the new tire coincides with Dunlop's return as title sponsor for the BTCC for the next four years.

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