Tyres can be a bit boring. They're mostly defined by talk of compounds and tread patterns, about braking distances and load ratings.
Fascinating if you're the type of person who obsesses over fractions of a second at the track, or if you're really into rubber...
But for the average punter, it can all be a bit mystifying. And that's not good, because car makers and tyre manufacturers are increasingly hopping into bed during the vehicle development process.
Tyres are more important than ever – and they've always been very, very important.
Which is where Pirelli P Zero World comes in. Along with supplying Formula 1, the Italian giant works with a long list of car makers – ranging from Alpina to Volvo, with the likes of Lamborghini, Ferrari, Tesla and Porsche in between – to develop rubber for a specific model.
Pirelli's stranglehold on the high-end global car market is impressive. The brand says it is the factory-fitted tyre for 50 per cent of the "prestige and premium" segment worldwide, and is the exclusive tyre supplier to McLaren and Lamborghini.
According to Pirelli's own presentation, the 'prestige' brand umbrella includes Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley and Pagani, while 'premium' encompasses the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, and Alfa Romeo.
In Australia, the company owns a smaller 17 per cent share of the market. But it wants to deliver a 'premium' experience for vehicles fitted with its tyres from the factory.
Opened at an event featuring one bona-fide supercar legend (Horacio Pagani) and one ex-Bachelor contestant (Laurina, of 'dirty street pie' fame), P Zero World in Preston, Victoria, is designed to deliver that experience.
"We are focused on prestige and premium tyres," Dimitris Papadakos, CCO for Pirelli north-east Asia and Pacific, told media in Melbourne.
"We are preparing something similar to the expectations to the users of these cars. So let's say the owner of Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bugatti, Pagani, they're going to find a place similar to the expectations according to the car they have."
That means a large tyre-fitting workshop with space for five cars, and a waiting room full of merchandise developed by Pirelli in collaboration with brands like Puma, Mont Blanc, and Roger Dubuis. It's definitely the nicest tyre store we've ever seen, although its location in industrial Preston isn't quite as high-end as, say, the Collins St showroom Mercedes-Benz chose for its Mercedes Me cafe.
To launch P Zero World, Pirelli gave journalists (and the reality stars) a taste of what a "prestige and premium" lifestyle might look like.
Which is why on the sort of cold, windy, rainy spring day in which Victoria specialises, this particular
journalist was wedged into a Lamborghini Aventador S, and sent out onto a cold, slippery Phillip Island circuit.
And when I say wedged, I really mean wedged. Lamborghini's flagship supercar might be a massive beast from the outside, but it isn't built for tall drivers wearing helmets.
I'm sitting there with my head jammed on the roof at a 45 degree angle, legs splayed around the steering wheel, knees just tickling the spindly metal paddle shifters for good measure when our instructor and lead driver pokes his head in.
"You going to be right to drive like that?" he asks, looking concerned. All I can manage is a feeble "yes?" in reply.
"I suppose you'll have to be," he says, sceptical. "Leave it in auto and we'll gradually up the pace as you get comfortable."
And with that the scissor door is shut. Our instructor jumps into the bright blue Aventador lead car, and tells us it's time to go over a crackling walkie-talkie. Right.
I'd always imagined my first supercar experience would be a heroic flat-out blast, but the reality was more of a nervous tiptoe around an entirely unfamiliar circuit.
The Aventador S sounds incredible at full noise and the V12 fills the cabin with an incredible, buzzing energy above around 3500rpm, but the it feels edgy and keen to understeer at the merest hint of throttle through Phillip Island's slower corners. I have to take my right hand off the wheel to get through Honda Corner, too.
It isn't a particularly friendly beast, especially around a slippery Phillip Island.
Up-shifts seem to take forever, and visibility is average (at absolute best) through the aggressively raked windscreen. Speaking of which, my neck is sore after four laps with my head jammed into the quilted leather roof.
It's total overload, and reinforces everything I've read about big Lamborghinis. The Aventador S is a brilliant showpiece, but it isn't to be messed with.
The orange Huracan Evo that comes next is significantly friendlier. For one, my head is only grazing the roof, and my knees don't impede the steering wheel. It's much keener to turn in the wet, and feels more rear-biased than the bigger, more expensive Aventador.
There's a sense that, with a bit more time and a lot more confidence, it'd happy slide in a way I hadn't expected of an all-wheel drive Lamborghini. It also feels surprisingly lively under brakes, although that might be down to the occasional patch of standing water.
The noise is also exceptional, and the way the V10 attacks the last 2000rpm before redline is truly brilliant. It feels inertia free and revs to the moon, backed by a noise that, while not as intense as the Aventador's masterpiece of an engine, has a character of its own.
Four laps isn't enough – I desperately want to hop back in and explore the what the car can do, preferably somewhere dry with plenty of run off.
But perhaps most impressive is the Urus, the least Lamborghini of our trio. Built on the Volkswagen Group MLB Evo platform, it shares its DNA with the Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q8, and Volkswagen Touareg. Sounds pedestrian, but the reality is anything but.
The looks don't do much for me, but there's no doubting the car's capabilities. We actually start off-road with the Urus's standard air suspension jacked up to its maximum height, and point its nose over a steep, damp gravel hill.
It cruises over effortlessly, as you'd expect of a $390,000 car with 850Nm and a sophisticated all-wheel drive system. The brakes are a bit squeaky on the way down, but hill-descent control keeps the speed in check on the way down. We saunter through a small water crossing and slip-and-slide through some slick mud, the Urus barely breaking a sweat.
Are any Urus owners likely to head off road? No, but the car will no doubt be able to cross a muddy field or tricky entrance to the polo.
Also positive is the amount of rear head- and legroom from the individual rear buckets. Turns out it's possible to do a sloping roofline without giving rear passengers a haircut.
If it's surprising off-road, the Urus is staggering on the track. The track was never dry during our trip to Phillip Island, but it came close while we were lapping the big SUV.
Our instructor, clearly keen for a bit of action, decides it's time to have a proper crack and says "let's go now, let's go now" over the radio. And go we do, attacking Phillip Island with more intent than was possible during the slippery morning session.
The active anti-roll bars are remarkably effective, keeping the 2268kg crossover flat on turn-in, before the all-wheel drive system shuffles power to the outside rear wheel to fight understeer.
It can't match the atmospheric V10 and V12s from the morning, but the twin-turbo V8 in the Urus sounds pretty mean in Sport mode, and the eight-speed automatic transmission is preternaturally good on the track.
I've never driven an SUV that feels so... sorted. It's absolutely rock solid under brakes, the carbon-ceramic rotors effortlessly pulling the car up from 260km/h into Doohan Corner. That's right, this SUV will do 260km/h with an absolute hack like me at the wheel. Remarkable.
Pirelli's connection to all of this? The Urus is offered with 21-, 22-, and 23-inch wheels, all of which need tyres.
Pirelli says the development process takes around three years, and involves constant back-and-forth with car makers, who can tune their rubber across a number of categories, including lap time, weight, comfort, lateral grip, and noise suppression.
Pirelli claims it's the leader in the high-end world of 'tailored' or 'bespoke' rubber, with 1221 unique 'marked' tyres currently homologated for use worldwide.
That's up on the 800 of its nearest competitor, and more than double the 571 of the third-placed brand. The market for bespoke tyres is growing, too. According to the company it homologated fewer than 140 'marked' tyres in 2012, but that number grew to 421 in 2018.
More people are driving cars with unique tyres on them, and Pirelli wants to cater to them.
The all-singing, all-dancing launch of P Zero World concluded with the actual launch of, you know, P Zero World.
This shop is clearly a big deal for Pirelli, which flew a number of senior executives to Australia to attend. Horacio Pagani is there, and draws a huge crowd wherever he goes.
He's an impressive guest, not someone you'd expect to see at a tyre store opening. But this wasn't a normal day, and P Zero doesn't really seem like a normal tyre store.