In recent weeks news has broken that Pirelli hillclimb tyres will be available in the UK next year. This has generated a lot of comments on our Facebook posts on the subject. We got in touch with Alan Mugglestone of UK agent Triple M Motorsport to find out more…
Could you give us an introduction to yourself and Triple M?
I’ve been in the motorsport business all my life, worked in most formulas and over the last 30 years have won 50 British, European and world championships as an engineer or driver.
Triple M Motorsport is our business and we supply race engineering, management and hospitality services to teams all over the world.
We also help quite a few club racers and sprinters with setup and driver tuition days both at our workshop and trackside through the season. We run a few sprint school days up at Blyton park pre season too.
How did you end up working with Pirelli?
It started 3 years ago, when one of our sprint customers couldn’t find a good feeling from the Avon tyre he was using, and so with my contacts of 30 years, I asked four manufacturers to look into producing a modern tyre specifically for the UK sprints and hills. We had product from all four, started a test program, fed back the results and Pirelli decided to try and make us something specific.
Lots of testing later, here we are with a fantastic new product that has broken records everywhere it’s been run towards the end of this season. And now we are confident to go to market with something we believe will ultimately benefit the sport.
What sizes & compounds are available to order now?
We currently have 4 sizes of 13″ available, a range of 17″ and 18″ due in very soon and I am working on trying to get the range expanded into 15″ and 16″ as soon as I can.
We have developed 3 slick compounds, Soft, Supersoft and Ultrasoft.
The soft is for the heavier cars in the 18″ sizes, the Supersoft is available in all sizes and will suit some of the sprint cars and the Ultrasoft is only available in the 13″ sizes at the moment and is designed to be run on the UK hills and most of the sprint venues. So far the Ultrasoft has been all things to all men, in so much as it has had great performance, copes with a range of temperatures and circuit lengths well and doesn’t wear much at all.
I should also add that we have a full moulded wet specifically for the Hillclimb and Sprint market. I ended up with FTD at a wet Curborough by around two seconds in my Fulcrum against the single seaters.
Check our website for up to date info on the size range. Triple M Motorsport.
Pirelli tyres have been used for some time on European hillclimbs but those events are quite different to UK hillclimbs, with UK sprints being somewhere in between. We’ve heard that you’ve been doing some testing here to see how they perform. Can you share who has tried them and what the feedback has been?
This tyre range has been developed specifically for the UK market and we have been testing them on our Dallara F3 car for some time now. We involved CCC racing to get some real life on event info and Chris Jones has gone on to break records and set PBs at every venue he has competed on since fitting them, sprints and hills.
SBD had a set for their Dallara and so did Nick Algar, ready for the last British Sprint rounds at Anglesey and I believe both of them went at least 2 seconds under the class records. Feedback has been excellent, fit them, go fast, repeat…..no cleaning required, no graining, just loads of grip right from the off that stays with you all through the run.
CCC have done more than 60 runs on a set of Ultras and they haven’t even had the first (1/2mm) wear marker disappear yet!!
More recently we had the current British hillclimb champion, Trevor Willis out on a set to test at Curborough and he went over a second quicker around the single lap course in his first run on them compared to his current tyre…..it just also happened that the time he did was also a second under the course record, so you could say it was a resounding success.
How are the Pirelli hillclimb tyres priced compared to the equivalent Avons?
Generally speaking they work out a little cheaper than the corresponding size, they look like they will last longer and have less maintenance needed, so far it’s been a win win with them all round, not just the the performance gain.
Do you have any plans to make it possible for more drivers to test a set to see how the tyres perform for them?
We have now finished the test and development phase, as I mentioned earlier, now the tyres are in production and available to buy as a proven product. We will help anyone who wants to make the move, with technical support and advice on how to get the best out of them.
Avon Tyres, and their agents BMTR, currently sponsor a number of championships and support those events with the the BMTR tyre truck. Do you think the arrival of competing tyres will change their support of the sport? Will you be taking stock to events?
I can’t speak for Avon or BMTR and they have provided an excellent product and service to the UK over the last few decades, I hope that with Pirelli we can do the same and provide the drivers with a choice, hopefully at a reduced overall cost.
I would like to know out of the several hundred competitors, how many actually buy and fit tyres at the venue, is this a benefit to only a small number, how difficult is fitting before the events like the majority do? We offer a fitting service here at Triple M and I can organise fitting at Pirelli HQ at Didcott if needed. I would hope we can provide a great technical backup using the knowledge base we have here at Triple M and with the technical support of Pirelli HQ.
As to track side fitting, it remains to be seen as to if it makes any sense commercially. There are plans in the pipeline for more support……..wait and see what we can come up with.
How can drivers find out more?
Quite simply check out https://www.triplemmotorsport.co.uk for all the info on Pirelli and how we can help with other aspects of your performance.
Thank you to Alan for taking the time to answer our questions. Hopefully we have covered the basics but what else would you like to know? Let us know in the comments below. It will be interesting to see how this option shakes things up next season.
We hope you found this article interesting. We plan to produce more longer form posts going forward, along with our existing quick updates that we share on Facebook. We would also like to accept articles from anyone else that has something interesting to say.