Pirelli will supply tires for all the 4-wheel categories that will be participating in the World Rally Championship between 2021 and 2024. This is after the tire manufacturer was chosen as the exclusive supplier for the championship by the sport’s governing body, FIA. Pirelli tires will also be used in the regional and national headlining category, R5-specification WRC2 class, as well as that which races for the overall title.
The company’s latest sponsorship aligns with a similar agreement it has had with Formula One since 2011. In the latter, Pirelli supports the top single-seater category while in the current WRC agreement, it supports the top rallying class. These demonstrate the company’s leadership in motorsports and showcase the experience it has gained in its 110 years of involvement in motorsports.
Pirelli’s history with the rallying scene dates to as far as 1973. Its tires were used in cars that won 25 world titles and 181 WRC events. The tire manufacturer was the sole tire supplier for WRC between 2008 and 2010. It then again supplied tires to drivers in the WRC2 category in 2018.
According to Pirelli’s senior vice president of prestige and motorsport, Giovanni Tronchetti Provera, the company’s ability to merge passion and technology into motorsports has been key in ensuring that they remain at the top. This has allowed them to secure an exclusive supply contract with WRC. The team has supported the Junior category for a long time and is now returning to the top category as well.
Alongside the supplier agreement, Pirelli will still offer support to young drivers by helping them advance their careers. It will supply tires to the Junior WRC category and the Junior ERC3 class in the European Rally Championship.
Speaking about the company’s return to the top class, Mario Isola, head of car racing and F1, said that the team had been thinking about it for a while. The appointment from the FIA came at the right time considering that Pirelli already has a graduate from its Star Driver program. Ott Tanak was recently crowned world champion. The supply contract will assist Pirelli in improving its products further by subjecting them to some of the toughest conditions in motorsports. Rallying has always been the perfect ground for proving Pirelli’s new tire technologies which eventually go into road tires.
For the next WRC event, Pirelli will supply tires that have already been a success in other rally championships across the world. For instance, the P Zero RA tire will be for asphalt racing. Different compounds will be applied depending on the weather and terrain conditions. The Sottozero Snow will be applied in snowy conditions. Pirelli will decide whether to include studs or not. The Scorpion K will be used on gravel surfaces due to its ability to accommodate a wide range of loose surfaces. Lastly, the Sottozero Ice J1 will be used in the Rally Sweden event.