Founded in fashion capital Milan in 1872 by Giovanni Battista Pirelli, the company started as a producer of elasticated rubber. By 1885 they began to move closer to what would be their true purpose, adapting their knowledge of rubber into the manufacturing of bands for carriage wheels.
Moving on to producing bicycle tyres in 1894, it was a few years later that the first commercial motor vehicles began to be mass-produced. Pirelli, as well as emerging manufacturers such as Dunlop, began to make car tyres, opening several plants across Europe.
When the inaugural Grand Prix was held in 1921, the winning car used Pirelli tyres, giving them further exposure and credibility as an elite tyre brand. Despite this triumph, it was 1922 that became a landmark year for the company, as the first company of Italian origin to trade on the U.S stock market.
In the early 1950s, after several years of trials, the company released its first radial tyre. The radial tyre would go on to be the most widely used of its kind, but in 1953 Pirelli’s take on the radial tyre would be praised for its durability, safety, and excellent handling.
Pirelli built on this success in the next few decades, revising their famed Cinturato tyre designs to suit a new and exciting range of sports-based road cars. This new generation of vehicles were built for speed and performance and Pirelli proved to be a perfect fit.
Currently, Pirelli produces world-class tyres for motorcycles and cars, even re-emerging in the world of bicycles, releasing their P ZERO Velo range in 2017.
Pirelli’s Original Equipment (OE)
At Pirelli, they believe that tyres must suit the needs of each driver. They know that every model of car and indeed its owner are unique and have different preferences. Their brand of OE offers custom tyre marking which they believe allows your tyres to match your car’s features and internal systems, such as your ABS (Anti-lock braking system) for example. This allows for accuracy and works towards preventing any risk when driving.
This process was first implemented with Porsches over 30 years ago, but as of 2022, Pirelli offers their custom marking for a wide variety of vehicle brands, from Hyundai right through to Aston Martin.
Pirelli’s tyre range
Made up of five unique tyre families, Pirelli caters for a range of different vehicles and uses. These families are P ZERO, Cinturato, Scorpion, Sottozero and Carrier.
P Zero - These tyres are optimised for high-speed performance, combining years of experience and collaboration with top manufacturers to produce a fantastic overall performance.
Cinturato – With five unique tyre options themselves, Cinturato tyres are among the first developed by the company. Offering safety and a promise of low environmental impact, the Cinturato is a planet-friendly choice.
Scorpion – Engineered for SUVs, Scorpion tyres offer smooth performance combined with the eco-friendly approach of the Cinturato.
Sottozero – Designed for colder weather, these tyres offer a special tread pattern which expels water, giving peace of mind to drivers of sportier or higher-end car models.
Carrier – Last but certainly not least, Pirelli produced Carrier tyres for van owners. Acknowledging that vans aren’t quite the lumbering behemoths they once were, they wanted to produce something with excellent resistance and safety to match the versatility of the modern van.
With a rich and prestigious history, Pirelli tyres have developed a trusted and recognisable brand, sponsoring Italian football giants Inter Milan and acting as one of the main tyre suppliers for Formula 1 racing.