Pirelli and General Motors are teaming up to outfit a Cadillac prototype race car for next year's 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.
Pirelli Tire North America will provide tires, testing and technology to Cadillac for two Northstar-powered vehicles and another three or four vehicles for independent teams.
The contract is a one-year partnership between Pirelli and Cadillac with renewable options for the three-year program. No dollar amount has been assigned to the contract, which will receive investment from both sides, a Pirelli spokesman said.
Cadillac chose Pirelli because of the tire maker's success in racing, a Cadillac spokesman said. In 1996, Pirelli was GM's tire supplier for another racing car platform, the Aurora V8 endurance program, which won the world championship that year.
Although not an original equipment contract, the partnership is a coup for Pirelli, which has tried for the past decade to make inroads with North American original-equipment manufacturers.
'We hope down the road that there's some opportunities there,' the Pirelli spokesman said.
Aside from the Northstar race contract, Pirelli may have another link to Cadillac. The automaker's Evoq concept car equipped with the Michelin Pax system is touring the auto show circuit. Pirelli has agreed to join Michelin in developing Pax for the consumer market.
'We are studying feasibility of production of the (Evoq) and with that, studying feasibility of the Pax system on the car,' the Cadillac spokesman said.
Cadillac currently does not buy original-equipment tires from Pirelli, the Cadillac spokesman said. 'As far as I know, negotiations have only been so far to do with the racing car project,' he said. 'But in negotiations, Pirelli has been very receptive to our needs.'