Pirelli played a prominent role in the final round of the 2020 British GT Championship season, with the titles decided at the end of the three-hour Silverstone 500.
Despite being held in November, ambient and track temperatures were largely the same as the penultimate round of the year at Snetterton a month ago, but it was still tricky to build up temperature in the Pirelli tyres.
The day started off as damp but drying, meaning that all the runners got underway on the dry-weather compound.
Much like the previous three-hour endurance race at Donington Park, stint lengths were dictated by tyre performance as well as diminishing fuel loads, so the drivers were able to maximise the performance from their Pirelli tyres.
The key strategic call towards the end of the race was deciding when to make the third and final pit-stop, with tyre conservation likely to play a big part in the ultimate outcome.
One team that managed its tyres superbly throughout the three hours was the race-winning #78 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo of Sandy Mitchell and Rob Collard, which also clinched the overall Drivers’ and Team’s titles.
The Lamborghini-supported team started on pole thanks to a superb lap by Collard in Saturday’s qualifying session and was at the front for the duration of the race.
Mitchell had to give way to the sister Lamborghini of Phil Keen early in the second stint as the #72 was on fresher Pirelli tyres, but made the most of its solid all-round package and superior pace through traffic to come out on top.
Behind the winning Lamborghini was the Ram Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Ian Loggie and Yelmer Buurman, while the Rocket Team Jenson McLaren of James Baldwin and Michael O’Brien finished third.
Coming into the weekend, just 13 points covered the top three in the class, with TF Sport’s Jamie Caroline and Dan Vaughan holding the slender advantage. Things did not get off to a good start for either TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 as Caroline and Vaughan, along with their title-challenging team-mates Patrick Kibble and Connor O’Brien, were handed a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for running a red light in the pitlane during the opening safety car period.
Despite this, both cars fought their way through the field, finishing second and third respectively as Rob Wheldon and Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke took their first class win of the season in the Century Motorsport BMW.
Jonathan Wells, Pirelli UK motorsport manager:
“Considering the tricky low temperature conditions experienced all weekend as you’d expect at Silverstone in November, our GT range has once again shown itself as a fantastically versatile package, allowing some great racing at an incredibly fast pace.
“Today, we saw the GT3 lap record around Silverstone being broken by the Barwell Lamborghini and the GT4 lap record by the Toyota GR Supra, which from a Pirelli perspective, is very satisfying.
“The weekend was a real test for not only the teams and drivers, given the very tricky track conditions, but also for Pirelli as the championship’s tyre supplier. It’s been a short sharp season with great competition throughout, but the new season isn’t so far away, so preparations are already beginning for 2021.”