Keep Austin weird…
and Pirelli-flavoured

Keeping Austin weird… and Pirelli-flavoured 01

Lawnmowers, Elvis, and chickens
The unofficial city slogan is “keep Austin weird” – and judging from a quick look at the local shops and facilities, they’re doing a pretty good job with that. Highlights include the “Cathedral of Junk” – a massive suburban structure made up of essential items such as broken lawnmower wheels and old TV sets – as well as the “museum of natural and artificial ephemerata”, where among the star exhibits are a lock of Elvis’s hair and the butt of the last cigarette smoked by Marilyn Monroe. 
The city also boasts at least seven taxidermists, as well as a bar where you can play “chicken shit bingo”. The rules are simple: a chicken gets placed in a big cage that has a series of numbers written in squares on the floor. If it poops on your numbers, you win. Entrepreneurs didn’t get where they are by copying everyone else.
As the undisputed capital of hipster culture in Texas – you’ll find more checked shirts here than at any lumberjack convention – Austin is keeping its individualistic streak high up on the agenda.
So where better to host the United States Grand Prix? OK, so Formula 1 cars might not be hand-crafted out of quinoa husks by men with beards called Ebenezer. Yet. But in a state that’s been brought up on a strict diet of NASCAR, F1 definitely leans towards the unconventional.

Keeping Austin weird… and Pirelli-flavoured 02

The stars and stripes of Pirelli
This year, the race at Austin has a special look. It’s one of the events where Pirelli is title sponsor, so its official name is the “Formula 1 2018 Pirelli United States Grand Prix”. This title sponsorship agreement highlights the importance of the American market to Pirelli, which centres on premium and prestige tyres: the Italian firm’s speciality. And of course, this focus on prestige is what makes Formula 1 such a perfect fit for Pirelli – in Austin as much as anywhere else.
So, expect to see a lot of yellow and black at the United States Grand Prix, which this year is being run for the seventh time (believe it or not…) from October 19-21.
It's a sign of how committed Pirelli is to Formula 1 that the Milan-based company is both a sponsor and a technical partner, giving it a unique perspective from both sides of the sporting fence. After all, the best way to understand exactly what a sponsor wants out of Formula 1 is to become one.

Keeping Austin weird… and Pirelli-flavoured 03

Living in America
Pirelli and America have a long history and a huge amount of shared automotive culture, which stretches from Hollywood (who remembers the ‘Mission Zero’ film starring Uma Thurman from 2007?) to Austin. The United States is also the home of the Pirelli World Challenge: among the motorsport championships that showcases the highest number of manufacturers in the world, from Acura to Porsche. Not just that, but the Trans Am series (which dates back to 1966) is another iconic American name associated with Pirelli: again, both as a sponsor as well as an exclusive tyre partner. And let’s not forget that the very first P Zero World boutique was opened in Los Angeles. Where else darling?
So that’s why Pirelli getting behind the United States Grand Prix this year is such a big deal. There are some special activities already planned for the October weekend to celebrate: more details to follow.
That’s also why it’s important to keep Austin weird, because it’s one of the races on the calendar with the biggest personality: as well as being a truly epic circuit to drive. “It’s crucial that we have at least one grand prix in the States; I think we need more than one,” pointed out Lewis Hamilton last year. “The more that we expose people to the sport, the more they are going to follow it.”
Especially if they get to make a small fortune via a chicken’s digestive tract at the same time.

Read more