The Pirelli Scorpion BK Returns: The Tire With ‘Ears’ for the Lamborghini LM002

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Pirelli Scorpion BK on a Lamborghini LM002. Photo Pirelli

Pirelli is re-introducing the Scorpion BK tire for the 1986 Lamborghini LM002.

This tire was at the cutting edge of technology at the time of its creation because of its size and strength, but also because of its ‘ears’: lateral winglets that allowed it to float across the desert sands. Recreated as part of the Pirelli Collezione range dedicated to historical cars, the tire was shown at Fuori Concorso: an event for the collectors’ cars near Lake Como. From the LM002 to the modern Urus, this marks one of the latest chapters of a story that started in 1963.

The tire with “ears”

In the early 1980s, Pirelli was asked to develop a very special tire for a very special car: the Lamborghini LM002, which was the forebear of all sporting SUVs. Scorpion BK covers were produced specifically for this vehicle: big tires complete with lateral winglets, known as ‘ears’, which gave the car extra agility and response on sand. This tire, as well as offering outstanding road-holding, had to work in high temperatures typical of the desert, as well as sustain the weight of the car (at around 3,500 kilograms—7700 pounds) and cope with the speed of the V12 engine while also guaranteeing sporting performance on asphalt. As a result, these tires were made using an extremely robust carcass, with anti-cut reinforcement in aramid, which was also able to absorb impacts and react quicker to sudden inputs.

The Scorpion BK, subjected to additional strength tests and developed using rally-derived techniques, was one of Pirelli’s first examples of race-to-road technology transfer. The tread pattern design derived from the intermediate ‘Monte Carlo’ tread pattern cut into the rally slick tires of the time and many of the technologies within the BK also came from motorsport, where Pirelli had already claimed several world titles. It’s no coincidence that Pirelli equipped several cars with Scorpion tires on the 1988 Paris-Dakar Rally, including the Lamborghini LM002.

The presentation of the recreated tire took place at Fuori Concorso in Villa Sucota on Lake Como, equipping the LM002 of a private collector with the ‘new’ Scorpion BK, supported by the Lamborghini Polo Storico.

A private collector’s LM002 with the ‘new’ Scorpion BK. Photo Pirelli

The first in the Scorpion line

The Pirelli Scorpion BK was the forerunner of the Scorpion family, the range of Pirelli tires dedicated to Sport Utility Vehicles. The entire range was renewed in 2022 to suit the most modern cars, including electrified models. The Scorpion family has the most homologations for electric or plug-in hybrid cars out of the entire Pirelli range. Pirelli applied its ‘Eco Safety’ design approach to the new Scorpion, which combines low environmental impact with optimal performance when it comes to driving control, thanks to materials innovation and the use of cutting-edge virtual design tools in the development process.

Pirelli tires for Lamborghini’s SUVs

From the LM002 to the Urus, Lamborghini’s lineage of SUVs has one element in common: Pirelli tires. When the Urus made its debut in 2018, Pirelli introduced six different tires, from 21-23 inches in size, ranging from the P Zero to the Scorpion. A bespoke version of the P Zero Trofeo R was designed for the most recent Urus Performante: the first time that semi-slick tires have been seen on an SUV. This combination of car performance and tire grip culminated in a class victory on the legendary Pikes Peak hill climb in the U.S.