The art of being
everywhere at once


A plethora of global championships
You’d think that Formula 1® was enough to keep any tyre company busy for most of the year. But in actual fact, F1® is just one of around 300 championships that Pirelli is involved in worldwide – covering both two wheels and four – on race circuits and also rally stages.
Most of the races are spread over the course of the year, but occasionally there’s a perfect storm of coincidence that brings all these events together at one time. This weekend coming up is one of those occasions.
It’s the German F1® Grand Prix – coming back to Hockenheim for the first time in two years – but 320 kilometres away the Spa 24 Hours is also taking place in Belgium: Pirelli’s biggest and most logistically impressive engagement in motorsport of the entire year, which is also the highlight of the Blancpain GT Series.
That’s far from all though. It's equally the same weekend as Rally Finland – the fastest and most spectacular rally of the World Rally Championship – not to mention the Ferrari Challenge in Sochi (Russia), the Lamborghini Trofeo also in Spa, Pirelli World Challenge in Mid-Ohio (USA) and Porsche Cup in Australia. And of course we have GP2 and GP3 alongside in Germany. In Silverstone, there’s also the Silverstone Classic for historic cars, where Pirelli is sponsoring a Porsche restoration competition. The action couldn’t get more varied. And we’re only talking about the major international events here: there’s a lot more going on at national level.
In total this makes it one of the busiest motorsport weekends of the year for Pirelli, with an estimated 25,000 motorsport tyres being supplied to all these championships throughout the world.


Similar but different
What all these very diverse championships have in common – with the exception of the bike championships (where the tyres are called Diablo) and gravel rally tyres (called Scorpion) – is the P Zero name: a symbol of the very highest quality when it comes to Ultra High Performance tyres.
They all cater for very different styles of use: a Formula 1® tyre is meant to deliver its best performance for around 100 kilometres, lasting perhaps for half an hour, whereas an endurance tyre is designed to carry out multiple stints of an hour or more.
As a result the way that all the motorsport tyres are conceived is quite different, but the design methodologies and production techniques are similar (in fact, all the motorsport tyres are produced in the same ‘factory of champions’ at Izmit in Turkey; now backed up by a second motorsport factory in Slatina, Romania).
The tyres for the GT and single-make series in particular are very close to their road car equivalents, as these championships are based on the same supercars you can buy in the world’s most prestigious showrooms. As for rallying, the road link is even more apparent: by the very nature of the sport the cars are also driven on the public roads, in front of an estimated one million spectators in Finland.


Motorsport at the heart of the brand
“There are very few companies that have motorsport at the very heart of their brand in the same way that we do,” comments Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery. “We look at it as the biggest research and development facility that we have.”
Of course, with so much going on during one weekend, there’s a vast logistical operation to undertake as well. With Spa and Hockenheim being so close, Hembery himself is planning to attend both. But in general, all of Pirelli’s motorsport operations are split up into different business units that act independently, yet with a joined-up approach that ultimately feeds back into the road car business.
This is just as true for the races in Europe as for those further afield in Australia and the United States – where Pirelli has another research facility alongside those in Italy, carrying out projects in association with some of the top American universities.
Modern motorsport is a truly global business, so success will never come unless you operate internationally. One of the most graphic illustrations of that worldwide reach will be the staggering total of Pirelli’s motorsport activities in just a single weekend, straddling every continent. With the exception of Antarctica (for now) – although the Sottozero winter rally tyres would be guaranteed to perform perfectly there…

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