First world record for Pirelli Collezione tyres

The MX-5 negotiated 2,900 hairpin bends in 12 hours

Tyres from the Pirelli Collezione range for vintage and modern classic cars have taken a first-generation Mazda MX-5 to world record glory on the 30th anniversary of the roadster’s launch.

In a test organised by Mazda’s subsidiary in Germany, the MX-5 – shod with Pirelli P Zero Asimmetrico tyres in size 205/50ZR15 86W – was tasked with breaking the record for the highest number of hairpin turns in 12 hours of driving. The supervised record attempt took place in Tyrol, Austria in mid-July. At the wheel of the roadster was racing driver Cyndie Allemann, MX-5 Cup driver Jan Spieß, Auto Bild test driver Stefan Novitzki and rally driver Niki Schelle. Drivers were switched every hour.

After 12 hours, the team had negotiated exactly 2,900 hairpin bends on the Kaunertal Gletscherstraße (Glacier Road), far surpassing the 1,500 required for the record. The panoramic road is 16 miles long and has 29 hairpin bends in total, with an elevation change of almost 1,500 metres. It leads to the beginning of the Kaunertal glacier, at 2,750 metres.

Commenting on the P Zero Asimmetrico tyres fitted to the MX-5, Jörg Schäfer, Pirelli Germany’s head of Outdoor Driving Tests and Dynamic Instrument Testing, said: “This tyre, manufactured with racing technology, features exactly the high performance required for the record in terms of strength, durability, grip, steering precision, performance and safety on wet roads. The tread pattern of the P Zero Asimmetrico is the original pattern from the P Zero tyre, which has been very successful for more than three decades. This tread pattern was used for rally cars as early as 1986, under a different name, and its design is optimised for high lateral loads.”

To produce the P Zero Asimmetrico for Pirelli Collezione, Pirelli engineers use modern construction processes and compounds that are currently used in ultra high-performance tyres to withstand the extreme loads during cornering.

Virtual drive before the record

In order to evaluate the durability of the tyre structure before the world record drive, experts from Pirelli recorded the route profile of the Kaunertal Gletscherstraße on computer and translated it into a digital test programme. After that, the tyres were physically tested in an indoor laboratory for maximum lateral acceleration, both in a straight line and through a variety of corners for 18 hours. The wheel load was also repeatedly tested at 150 per cent of its maximum capacity.

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