A marriage made in heaven. Or rather, Maranello.
Of course, the story between Ferrari and Pirelli dates back just as long: the Italian tyre firm first won the Formula 1 World Championship with Ferrari back in 1952, with Alberto Ascari crushing the opposition by winning all six of the races in which he took part with a Ferrari Tipo 500. That shared motorsport history, which still continues now, extended beyond Formula 1 and included victories in endurance events such as Le Mans in 1954: courtesy of Jean Behra and Maurice Trintignant in a Ferrari 375 MM Plus.
It was natural that Pirelli and Ferrari should continue the relationship into road cars as well, with several classic models wearing Pirelli tyres over the years. The game-changer came in 1986, with the launch of the P Zero tyre: a genuinely pioneering product that went onto to redefine ultra high performance tyres all over the world. Using lessons learned from motorsport, the P Zero was a high performance low profile tyre that pioneered a whole family of tyres from track to road, setting new standards. At the time, the F40 was the fastest Ferrari built: a genuine race car for the road. More than 30 years later, Ferrari’s quickest road cars still rely on P Zero rubber.
Rising to the Challenge
As well as the exalted heights of Formula 1, the Ferrari Challenge has been a constant presence in the sporting relationship between Ferrari and Pirelli. This famous one-make series now features several worldwide editions in every continent, having showcased a variety of Ferrari models in the past. As such, it’s been a valuable marketing exercise as well as a thrilling show. There are three categories within each championship, ensuring that drivers at every level of all nationalities can enjoy close competition.
This year, the Ferrari Challenge celebrated 25 years of existence, making 2017 a truly significant milestone for the Maranello constructor. The series originally started with the 348 Challenge, before moving onto the F355 and then F360 Challenge. That was followed by the F430, and then the F458 Challenge that raced up right until recently. The latest incarnation of Ferrari Challenge race car is the new F488: launched last year by current Ferrari F1 drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen at Daytona.
The current Ferrari Challenge car will form part of Ferrari’s 70th birthday celebrations, along with the new Ferrari Portofino road car: the recently launched replacement for the California T, which features a 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 – as well as Pirelli P Zero tyres.