At Monza, 41 cars, 12 prestige manufacturers, more than 150 people and 22,000 horsepower came together to recreate a historic portrayal of the Pirelli logo from 1978: 80 metres long and 18 metres tall. As was the case 40 years ago, the modern cars that made up the logo were all extremely varied: different makes, models, engines, architectures and styles – but with the same tyres.
The iconic 1978 representation of the Pirelli logo was made up of road cars, but the modern evocation consisted of the GT3 cars that currently compete in the Intercontinental GT Challenge and Blancpain GT Series: the world’s premier championships dedicated to road car-based racing machinery, exclusively equipped by Pirelli.
A total of 41 cars made up the Pirelli logo at Monza; as soon as the sun began to set after a busy day on the track. The cars all gathered on the main straight for the photo shoot, where they normally reach 280kph. This time, they were pushed into place one by one, with the only sound coming from the P Zero tyres on the hallowed asphalt.
The original 1978 concept was to involve a huge variety of different road cars from a mix of manufacturers, to illustrate that the one thing they had in common was their Pirelli tyres. Photographer Adrian Hamilton directed the photo shoot, and there was also a TV ad produced byItalian director Giulio Cingoli, introducing the slogan: “Tyres with a capital P”. This was also thevery first TV ad that also spawned a ‘making of’ spin-off.
Fast forward 40 years later to 2018 and the legendary Monza circuit: one of the oldest permanent tracks still in regular use, second only to Indianapolis. And once again – thanks to a collaboration with championship organiser SRO – another giant Pirelli logo, marked out by cars on the asphalt.
However, rather than road-going models from 1978, these were cutting-edge GT3 cars that compete in the Intercontinental GT Challenge and Blancpain GT Series. They have more manufacturers represented than any other motorsport series, with the list including Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Lexus, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG, Nissan and Porsche. Each one of those companies was present within the Pirelli logo spelt out on the main straight, as every one also represents part of the prestige world in which Pirelli is market leader. Many of these car companies use Pirelli tyres exclusively, which are specifically homologated to enhance the individual dynamics of each car and maximise safety.
P Zero is the ultimate expression of Pirelli’s ‘perfect fit’ strategy, ever since the tyre was first seen in 1987, when the Ferrari F40 made its debut on bespoke Pirelli tyres. And right from the very beginning, the links between P Zero and motorsport were clear: the first Pirelli tyre to carry this exalted name was actually the one that equipped the mighty Lancia Delta S4 in rallying.
These days, the P Zero brand – in different specifications – is seen on sports saloons as well as road-going GT cars and competition machinery, not to mention hypercars and in Formula 1. A longsuccess story that has been appropriately celebrated at Monza, the ‘temple of speed’. And onethat is set to continue for another 40 years.