By Alex Kapadia
Pirelli has announced it has signed ’Gymkhana’ legend and World Rally Championship star Ken Block to drive its Formula One test car and put its tyres through their paces
Block will drive the Pirelli F1 test car, which has been used by the Italian tyres manufacturer since its F1 programme was announced in June 2010.
Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery added: “We’re absolutely delighted that Ken is making his Formula One driving debut with us, and where better than Monza? I hope that he thoroughly enjoys the experience of driving these awesome cars.
“We got to know Ken through our partnership with the Gymkhana programme and the World Rally Championship last year, where he impressed us with his dedicated approach, his technical feedback and his unique way of marketing the sport.
“We’re really looking forward to finding out what he thinks about our Formula One tyres, and I’m sure that the millions of his fans around the world can’t wait to see him behind the wheel of a grand prix car. Ken seems to be a person who has done more or less everything in his career up to now – so I’m very glad that we were actually able to find a new experience for him!”
The car was used in competition throughout the 2009 grand prix season but it has since undergone aerodynamic and weight distribution modifications to simulate the latest Formula One regulations, which the current P Zero tyres are designed for.
Before Block gets behind the wheel for a one-off drive at the famous Monza circuit in Italy on August 5, the car will already have completed two days of testing in the hands of Pirelli test driver Lucas di Grassi from Brazil, who will be assessing the latest evolutions of the PZero products for the future.
The test campaign forms part of Pirelli’s on-going development program this year, alongside the 18,000 kilometres of private testing that were carried out in 2010 before Pirelli embarked on its first grand prix.