Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembery called the deal to supply the British GT Championship “very important for Pirelli as it represents perfectly our target market: premium and prestige manufacturers.
“The tires that we supply for these cars on the road are made to measure for each model, using many of the same design processes and production techniques as are utilized in motorsport. As a result, there is a direct technology transfer between GT racing and the road.”
The series features three classes of cars and one-, two- and/or three-hour races, depending on venue. The championship format calls for an obligatory pit stop for a driver change at each race.
The value of the contract was not disclosed.
The announcement follows Pirelli's agreement to extend its supply contract to the Blancpain GT Series, which Pirelli called the world's “premier GT championship” for race versions of road-going supercars. It is contested by 10-plus manufacturers over a variety of legendary circuits within Europe.
Pirelli will equip competitors with Pirelli P Zero competition tires similar to those used on the Blancpain GT series, which has used Pirelli tires the past few seasons and will continue to do so for the next five years.
Both the Blancpain GT and British GT series include FIA-designated GT3 and GT4 category cars.
GT3 cars are designed to be close to their road-going equivalents to keep maintenance costs to a minimum. Modifications allowed include limited alterations to suspension, engine and bodywork. Among cars in the GT3 category are the Audi R8 LMS ultra, Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, Porsche 997 GT3 R, BMW Z4 GT3, McLaren MP4-12C, Mercedes AMG SLS GT3, Ginetta GT3, Nissan NISMO GT-R GT3, Aston Martin's V12 Vantage and Bentley Continental GT3.
The GT4 categories are even closer to stock and include: Toyota GT86 GT4, Lotus Evora GT4, Nissan 370Z, BMW M3 GT4, Aston Martin GT4 Challenge, Porsche Cup GT4 car and Ginetta G55 and G50.
The Blancpain GT series includes both sprint and endurance races; the championship season traditionally is the Spa 24 Hours at Spa, Belgium.
Pirelli called this its biggest motorsport engagement, requiring as many as 9,000 tires for the Spa event alone.
In 2016, there will be 10 rounds: five endurance and five sprint races.
In 2016, the Blancpain GT and Pirelli World Challenge series in North America will be more closely aligned, as both series' vehicle eligibility regulations will be based on the international GT3 and GT4 rule.
2016 Pirelli World Challenge — the series 27th season — will feature 11 racing weekends at 10 U.S. circuits and one visit to Canada, including six weekends in partnership with the Verizon IndyCar Series.