Never underestimate how iconic a tyre and car combination can be

50w ago


Certain aspects of a car can haul it up to iconic status. A vivid bonnet badge is a great place to start, as well as a standout design feature like a defining curve or aerodynamic tidbit.

In motor racing, all of those things still apply towards making an icon, but I've discovered that some cars stick in my mind due to the elegant tyre writing emblazoned on the rubber that keeps them sticking hard to every millimetre of tarmac that they bless with their presence.

Every '90s motorsport fan will have stumbled upon 'Potenzas' at some time or another

Although Pirelli currently has a monopoly on F1, there was once a great tyre battle that raged throughout the sport. At one time it was Bridgestone vs Michelin, and it was the former that very much came out on top.

During the grooved-tyre V10 era at the turn of the century, Michael Schumacher and Ferrari set about decimating the likes of McLaren and Williams. And although the cars he drove may be remembered for the white contrast of the Marlboro and then Vodafone advertising, it was the white tyre writing of Bridgestone that has this car stuck firmly in the nostalgic, motorsport-obsessed annals of my mind.

A niche favourite of mine shod in the same rubber was the Stewart Grand Prix SF2, driven by the legends that are Jos Verstappen, Rubens Barrichello and Jan Magnussen.

Rubens is going a tad quick to see the tyre writing, it's a good job they bought some rear wing space

And then there's the beautifully iconic cars from my real passion – endurance racing.

The low and sleek shape of the frighteningly quick Mercedes-Benz CLR and the clever engineering behind the Jaguar-based Nissan R390 GT1 were both stuck to the road (let's give a bit of a poetic license to the Merc on that one...) with Bridgestone slippers. The ever-present split 'B' of the brand stood out on the silver, blue and white bodywork of these endurance beasts through stickers on the front bumpers.

Front canards would be placed on the front bumper of the CLR after flipping in practice at Le Mans – aerodynamic trinkets that would soon highlight the clever placement of Bridgestone's stickers

Of course, Gulf, Martini, Castrol, Rothmans and Malboro may spend their days fighting out an iconic livery war, even in historic racing paddocks to this day. But ask me what the common factor in my iconic racing car list is, and the white tyre writing of Bridgestone runs away with the victory.

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