Race car engines roared Monday as Pirelli and the Trans Am racing series inked a new five-year agreement for Pirelli to be the sole supplier of tires for the North American high performance racing series.
Ian Coke, Pirelli’s Chief Technical Officer and Stefano Sbettega, head of Pirelli Motorsport in North America were joined by Trans Am President John Clagett and representatives from two of the Trans Am series teams — GoShare owned by Burtin Racing out of Alpharetta and CD Racing’s Plaid Mustang at the Pirelli plant in Rome for the brief ceremony.
Pirelli also revealed Monday that it has extended its agreement with the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association for the same period, as the “official street tire of SVRA’.
SVRA, the largest vintage racing organization in the United States, is open to virtually any vintage or historic race car and will share a number of key dates with the Trans Am Series as part of the Speed Tour.
Clagett, who started off in public relations for the Trans Am series in 1984 and moved up to take the reins as executive director in 2000 said he arrangement with Pirelli has been fantastic.
“Ultimately I think the biggest compliment I can say is you would never do a five-year agreement with somebody you don’t trust,” Clagett said. “That speaks volumes to the relationship we have. A five-year agreement of any sort is a very long agreement. Yes, they make a great product but it’s the people that give you the confidence you can have a long term contract.”
It’s not unusual now for Trans Am races to feature upwards of 60 cars on the grid, all of them sporting Pirelli tires, manufactured at Pirelli’s plant in Turkey.
Pirelli has been the tire supplier to the Trans Am Series for the past three years.
“We’re very excited that we’re going to be together for another five years,” Sbettega said. “When we started our partnership with them we developed a specific product just for Trans Am. We sell it only for them.”
“It is one of the most iconic series in North America,” Sbettega said. “We have seen their field growing over the last few years since we have been working together.”
Pirelli and Trans Am are currently testing 18-inch tires for the series, bringing the tires used on the track even closer to those on the road. Sbettega said Pirelli would be introducing 18-inch tires to Formula 1 in 2021.
Rome plant employees, who were treated to a barbecue luncheon outside the plant to celebrate the new deal, were busy snapping cell phone photos of the Trans Am vehicles but had to back off when crew chief Gary Selix gave the thumbs up to fire up Burtin Racing GoShare Camaro.