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The Pirelli P7, the Cinturato “From Track to Road”, is Back

The new Pirelli P7 is much more than just a commercial item: it is the reaffirmation of a long tradition of the number “7” in the history of Pirelli. Today’s P7 recalls the name of a tyre that changed the face of sports car racing over forty years ago, putting into practice the concept of technological transition from track to road.

The Lancia Stratos entered the arena of the World Rally Championship in 1974: it was a paragon of pure power and in many ways a revolutionary car. For the Stratos, Pirelli created an equally innovative tyre – an ultra-low-profile with its sidewall only half the width of the tread: its contact patch was practically square, giving total grip in lateral acceleration and maximum stability in any road condition. Fitted with Pirelli P7 tyres, the Lancia Stratos won everything that could be won in rallying, paving the way for a P7 racing tradition that lasted over twenty years. But true to the Pirelli philosophy, which takes solutions developed for the track and adapts them to series production, at the very moment when the tyre for the Lancia Stratos was approved for rallying, the Pirelli P7 began its history as a super-tyre for road use. The Porsche 911 Carrera Turbo was the first to adopt it, in the version with a tread design consisting of a tight-knit network of blocks and grooves to prevent aquaplaning. The structure was the one that came together in the new generations of the Cinturato: a radial ply casing and metal belts surmounted by a zero-degree band of nylon – in other words, arranged in the direction of travel. And especially, for the first time, an ultra-low-profile Series 50 ready to take on everyday roads: the sportscar industry had found a new benchmark.

The history of the Pirelli P7 thus joined that of the cars that had written the history of motor racing: the first was the Fiat 131 Abarth, which took the rallying throne from the Stratos and naturally chose the P7 also for its road model. The ultra-low-profile Pirelli tyre was also adopted by the Lamborghini Countach, with a rear size that went down to the 35 Series. This was the one that was fitted on the De Tomaso Pantera, coupled with a Series 40 for the front – tyres that now extended beyond the 35 cm width threshold. The Pirelli P7 was also chosen by Ferrari, for the 308 GTB, and it was fitted on BMW Alpina sports models, as well as on the Opel Manta and Volkswagen Scirocco. In other words, it took the OEM sports sectors by storm in the 1970s and 1980s, writing a chapter in the history of twentieth-century sports cars.

The Pirelli P7, with its later evolutions in the P700 and P7000, became original equipment across the world until the 1990s, when once again it was the racing track that opened a new chapter in the history of Pirelli tyres. This time, the name was P Zero. And now the P7 is born again. This is a modern, environmentally friendly Cinturato with its sights on the future of mobility. The benchmark parameters have changed since the “old” P7, but the approach to an ever-changing, ever-evolving world of automobiles remains the same. A new threshold of high performance is being crossed.

The new Pirelli P7 is much more than just a commercial item: it is the reaffirmation of a long tradition of the number “7” in the history of Pirelli. Today’s P7 recalls the name of a tyre that changed the face of sports car racing over forty years ago, putting into practice the concept of technological transition from track to road.

The Lancia Stratos entered the arena of the World Rally Championship in 1974: it was a paragon of pure power and in many ways a revolutionary car. For the Stratos, Pirelli created an equally innovative tyre – an ultra-low-profile with its sidewall only half the width of the tread: its contact patch was practically square, giving total grip in lateral acceleration and maximum stability in any road condition. Fitted with Pirelli P7 tyres, the Lancia Stratos won everything that could be won in rallying, paving the way for a P7 racing tradition that lasted over twenty years. But true to the Pirelli philosophy, which takes solutions developed for the track and adapts them to series production, at the very moment when the tyre for the Lancia Stratos was approved for rallying, the Pirelli P7 began its history as a super-tyre for road use. The Porsche 911 Carrera Turbo was the first to adopt it, in the version with a tread design consisting of a tight-knit network of blocks and grooves to prevent aquaplaning. The structure was the one that came together in the new generations of the Cinturato: a radial ply casing and metal belts surmounted by a zero-degree band of nylon – in other words, arranged in the direction of travel. And especially, for the first time, an ultra-low-profile Series 50 ready to take on everyday roads: the sportscar industry had found a new benchmark.

The history of the Pirelli P7 thus joined that of the cars that had written the history of motor racing: the first was the Fiat 131 Abarth, which took the rallying throne from the Stratos and naturally chose the P7 also for its road model. The ultra-low-profile Pirelli tyre was also adopted by the Lamborghini Countach, with a rear size that went down to the 35 Series. This was the one that was fitted on the De Tomaso Pantera, coupled with a Series 40 for the front – tyres that now extended beyond the 35 cm width threshold. The Pirelli P7 was also chosen by Ferrari, for the 308 GTB, and it was fitted on BMW Alpina sports models, as well as on the Opel Manta and Volkswagen Scirocco. In other words, it took the OEM sports sectors by storm in the 1970s and 1980s, writing a chapter in the history of twentieth-century sports cars.

The Pirelli P7, with its later evolutions in the P700 and P7000, became original equipment across the world until the 1990s, when once again it was the racing track that opened a new chapter in the history of Pirelli tyres. This time, the name was P Zero. And now the P7 is born again. This is a modern, environmentally friendly Cinturato with its sights on the future of mobility. The benchmark parameters have changed since the “old” P7, but the approach to an ever-changing, ever-evolving world of automobiles remains the same. A new threshold of high performance is being crossed.

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