In 1889, two French brothers, Ándre and Édouard Michelin, started their own tire company. Throughout Europe, Michelin was one of the more famous tire companies but the two Michelin brothers wanted it to get even bigger. So how would they get more people to buy Michelin tires, especially when the automobile was still in its infancy?
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In 1900, Ándre and Édouard developed what is still called the Michelin Guide. The Guide was to give help people touring through Europe to find the best restaurants and sights to see. The idea was that, not only would they be selling guides to help people navigate through the best parts of Europe, but if people were driving to do so, Michelin would sell more tires. So it was a good business move on two levels. It especially helped grow the brand image, as tires really aren’t the sexiest of things to brand.
Fast forward one hundred years and Michelin is not only one of the leading tire manufacturers in the world but often regarded as the best maker of performance tires. Michelin’s summer performance tires are considered by most enthusiasts and automakers alike for being the absolute best in the world. Which is why Michelins are usually factory-spec on the highest of performance cars in the world.
To prove that, we were invited along for a three-day event in Palm Springs for what the French brand calls the “Michelin Pilot Experience”, where we spent those days enjoying beautiful scenery, eating great food and, of course, driving the new Michelin Pilot Sport 4S performance tire.
We began our three-day event at the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage, a stunning resort in Palm Springs, California, where we enjoyed wonderful relaxation in between the roars of high-performance engines and the screams of tires on hot, desert pavement. At the Ritz, we were part of a group of journalists, influencers and even celebrities. Keanu Reeves actually ended up joining us for a large portion of the event, as he was immersed in the experience of driving the fast cars and enjoying the superb food.
Our first night there, we were greeted with a launch party on the lawn of the Ritz, a lawn which housed high-performance cars from Porsches to Koenigseggs. That night, we heard Reeves and racing drivers Justin Bell, Tommy Milner, Kuno Wittmer and Gunnar Jeannette speak about their passion for racing and performance driving. The racing drivers are obviously well-versed in the topic of performance cars but Keanu Reeves, even just being an actor, held his own as he’s also a big performance car and motorcycle enthusiast who even builds his own bikes.
After listening to them speak, we were all treated to exquisite meals, prepared by Michelin-starred Chef Michael Tusk and his staff from Quince restaurant in San Francisco, California. Tusk and his staff provided food for the next two nights and calling it food is doing it a disservice. Tusk and his staff provided fantastic meals that made us realize just how prestigious a Michelin Star is.
The following day, we were handed the keys to some of the world’s best performance cars, to sample them on Michelin’s new PS4S tire. Our first taste of the tires came by way of a few different cars on a trip from the Ritz to Joshua Tree National Park. The cars we took to Joshua Tree were the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe, Mercedes-AMG GTS, Ferrari California T and Audi R8 V10 Plus, which all were great cars.
We were also accompanied by a County Sheriff who led the way for us at some pretty high speeds and allowed us to really open up and enjoy the incredible cars we were driving. During the trip to Joshua Tree, we saw some beautiful desert scenery, gorgeous winding roads and enjoyed the hell out of our cars.
From Joshua Tree, we followed our Sheriff to the Thermal Club, a stunning country club and race track in California. The Thermal Club is one of the most exclusive and incredible facilities for the well heeled and famous that dabble with the passion of supercars. While members of Thermal use the brilliant track as they please, Michelin had taken over the facility and circuit to allow us to properly test the new PS4S.
There, we were treated to an educational, on-track experience with the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, through technical sessions on the new tire series, autocross comparisons with the PS4S and other tire manufacturers and on-track lead-and-follows featuring BMW M Performance models. But the day would have not been completed without a proper hot lap, so several professional racing drivers were at our disposal to give us the best experience aboard the BMW Z4 GT3, Nissan GT-R, Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Porsche 911 GT3 RS, Acura NSX, Porsche Cayman GT4 and BMW M4 GTS, amongst others.
As the sun began to set over the scenic desert track, we were ready to further explore Chef Tusk’s meals right on the lawn at The Thermal Club. While some of our celebrities, such as Keanu Reeves, dined with us over incredible meals and drinks (after we were done driving, of course), we were able to discuss the different cars, tires and experiences we had that day. It was truly a unique and memorable event, and a great way to experience the new PS4S, both in a lifestyle and racing setting.
See below our extensive photo gallery and click here to read the Michelin PS4S review.