A 50-YEAR PARTNERSHIP MARKED BY SUCCESS ON THE ROAD AND TRACK, INSPIRED BY THE PASSION OF FERRUCCIO LAMBORGHINI AND LEOPOLDO PIRELLI FROM THE MIURA TO THE AVENTADOR, EACH ICONIC LAMBORGHINI HAS BEEN GIVEN ITS OWN BESPOKE PIRELLI TYRE
Milan, May 7, 2013. Pirelli is proud to celebrate the 50th birthday of Lamborghini, and of the partnership that unites the Italian tyre firm with the renowned supercar manufacturer. The Pirelli Foundation hosted the press conference to get Lamborghini’s half-century celebrations underway, which began in Milan and will conclude at Lamborghini’s headquarters in Sant’Agata, also taking in Forte dei Marmi, Rome and Bologna.
The choice of Pirelli and its Foundation as the launch pad for Lamborghini’s anniversary is not a coincidence, but instead the recognition of an all-encompassing collaboration that has driven one of the most important periods of technical and cultural automotive history. The partnership, born in the pioneering era of industry legends such as Ferruccio Lamborghini and Leopoldo Pirelli, remains unaltered today, uniting the current company leaders with a mutual passion for cars and challenges that inspires them to build a high-speed future.
The collaboration between Pirelli and Lamborghini dates back to 1963: the year in which Ferruccio Lamborghini asked Pirelli to equip the newly-created constructor’s first car. This was the 350 GTV, launched as a prototype at the Turin Motor Show the same year.
Both this model and the production version, badged 350 GT, which was presented at the Geneva Motor Show the following year used Pirelli’s Cinturato HS tyre: developed at the time to equip sports cars that were already capable of reaching the 240kph mark. The HS designation stood for ‘high speed’, indicating the tyre’s capability of withstanding the sustained high speeds generated by the emerging supercars of the 1960s.
Yet 1966 was the year in which Lamborghini really came of age, with the introduction of the legendary Miura. Tyres for the Miura were added to Pirelli’s range in 1967 – together with original equipment for the Lamborghini 350 GT and 400 GT – but the latest model benefitted from the newest generation of Cinturato HS tyres: the CN72, in 205 VR 15 size. The new tyre introduced a more advanced tread pattern compared to the classic Cinturato, the CA67, featuring a quieter and more comfortable design. This was then adopted as original equipment by all subsequent Lamborghini models, including the Espada that appeared in 1968.
When Lamborghini requested a revised ‘Series 70’ tyre for the Miura a couple of years later with a much lower sidewall to improve roadholding, Pirelli introduced the new Cinturato CN73 in 225/70 VR 15 size. This paved the way towards the low profile tyre that would be marketed as the Pirelli P7, chosen by Lamborghini in 1971 as original equipment for their latest model: the epic Countach, which defined the 70s supercar.
It was a Lamborghini once more that launched another new Pirelli product in 1988. The Countach ‘Anniversary’ edition – introduced to mark Lamborghini’s 25th birthday – was among the first supercars to use the new Pirelli P Zero family of tyres.
The partnership between Pirelli and Lamborghini is not just a technical one either. Lamborghini cars often star in Pirelli’s advertising. The Lamborghini Countach Anniversary, for example, was used in a series of Pirelli advertising campaigns throughout America and Southeast Asia, while the Miura was the centrepiece of a 1970 advert for Pirelli original equipment. The advert simply yet eloquently stated: “The Miura chose Pirelli Cinturato.”
Between 1986 and 1988 Lamborghini produced the ultimate 4×4: the LM002. For this precursor to the modern range of luxury off-road vehicles, Pirelli created the Scorpion range, with innovative features such as the use of Kevlar in the structure of the carcass and a new run-flat construction.
The LM002 took part in the 1988 Paris-Dakar Rally, marking the beginning of the association between Lamborghini and Pirelli in motorsport. This sporting partnership is still very strong now, with Pirelli as the exclusive supplier of the Super Trofeo Lamborghini Blancpain.
In 1990 the Lamborghini Diablo arrived on the scene. Just 3000 examples were built; all of them equipped with Pirelli tyres, while the turn of the century brought the Murcielago (2002) and Gallardo (2003) – both of which used P Zero Rosso. A Lamborghini Diablo was the protagonist of Pirelli’s ‘Mission Zero’ film in 2007, starring Hollywood actress Uma Thurman, and it was the Diablo again that also launched Pirelli’s Winter Sottozero II in 2008, with a spectacular display through the snow of Zermatt.
So this remarkable story comes right up to date. Pirelli technology and safety is still an integral part of Lamborghini’s offering, with the new Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster using a bespoke P Zero tyre. The Veneno, a dream car created to celebrate Lamborghini’s 50th birthday, is fitted with specially-developed Pirelli tyres that carry a distinctive red logo inspired by the P Zero Formula One tyres.
And the next chapter? That’s already being written by the talented engineers from Pirelli and Lamborghini.