History of a passion turned into Myth: OZ Racing
4th January 1971: in a petrol station in Rossano Veneto, in the province of Vicenza, Silvano Oselladore and Pietro Zen (the name of the Company, OZ, derives from the acronym of their initials), car and racing enthusiasts, hand-crafted their first light alloy wheels, and fitted them onto the glorious Mini Cooper, which raced and won rallies of the day. This was the first challenge.
1978: OZ S.p.A. was constituted, with a company capital of 210 million lire, thanks to the official entry of Isnardo Carta. The new manufacturing facility was inaugurated in S. Martino di Lupari, in the province of Padua, on a site of 1,800 sq.m.
1982: OZ became the sole supplier to Lamborghini.
1984: OZ Racing Division was set up, run by Claudio Bernoni (today Managing Director of OZ S.p.A.) and production was started on wheels for Formula 1. The first single-seater to be equipped with the wheels was Patrese and Cheever's F1 Alfa Romeo Euroracing, with two-piece wheels in magnesium and aluminium.
1987: OZ set up the “Racing Wheels” award, with the aim of identifying talent emerging in the car racing world. Gordon Murray (1988), Carlos Sainz (1990), Michael Schumacher (1991), Jacques Villeneuve (1994) and Frank Williams (1996) were awarded the prize.
1989: the associate partner OZ Japan was set up.
1990: Carlos Sainz won the Driver's World Rally on a Toyota Celica 4WD, equipped with OZ wheels.
1991: OZ patended the technology for the unified centre bore for multiple applications (OZ KIT SYSTEM).
1992: OZ moved into the modern factory in S. Martino di Lupari the Company occupies a total surface area of 100,000 sq.m, of which 75,000 are covered. Carlos Sainz won his second World Rally.
1993: the associate partner OZ Deutschland was set up. In the same year Alain Prost's Williams won the F1 car and driver titles. The cars were fitted with OZ wheels.
1994: OZ set up its own Style Center.
1996: the third associate partner, OZ France was set up.
1997: the Carting Championship, Indainapolis 500 Miles and Indy Racing League were added the OZ collection of medals.
1998: OZ obtained ISO 9001 Certification, issued by the German KBA board. OZ was the first italian company to obtain this type of certification on its entire production cycle.
1999: collaboration with Aprilia was initiated and a project for forged aluminium motorbyke wheels was developed and applied to the RSV One Thousand R. The associate partners OZ USA and OZ Scandinavia were set up.
2000: success in the World Rally with the Peugeot 206 WRC.
2001: a new victory with the Peugeot Total Team (Constructor's Championship) and with the Subaru World Rally Team (Driver's Championship) with Richard Burns. Victories also in the F3000 Championship, Indy 500 and Le Mans24 Hours. 2001 also marked the return of OZ to the motorbike sector with new forged aluminium wheels for the After Market.
2002: collaboration started with Franco Sbarro and Espera Sbarro, a renowed French design school specialised in the designing of prototypes.
2003: OZ S.p.A. And OZ Racing came under the same roof in a single manufacturing facility, situated in Via Monte Bianco, S. Martino di Lupari. The year 2003 was extremely successful in terms of sports victories: the teams officially supplied by OZ won the Indianapolis 500 Miles (1st and 2nd place with Bentley, 3rd place with Audi), the European Touring Car Championship, the German Touring Car Championships (1st and 2nd place Drivers and 1st place Constructors), and lastly the World Rally Championships, with Solberg in a Subaru for the Drivers and Citroën for the Constructors.
2004: history repeats itself: the Venetian House represents in a more aggressive and charming version the Superturismo, a myth for OZ. It is the winner of innumerable race tracks, more than a million exemplaries sold in the road model, reproposed in the After Market collection, with the new GT printing. The “white” is now named Superturismo WRC, in the name of her sister, which in 2004 equipped the Xsara: winners of the Rally Drivers and Manufacturers’ Championship. In the same year OZ wheel wins the Indy 500, with Buddy Rice, on a single seat of the Rahal Letterman Racing Team. Double victory at Le Mans, at the famous 24 Hours, for Ara, Capello, Kristensen and Davies, Herbert, Smith, on Audi R8 from Audi Sport Japan Team Goh. It may be a repetition, but wheels are once again: forged magnesium multispokes with Superturismo design.
2005: The attitude to victories turns every year into a challenge.
We have the fortune to share it with the best teams in the world but the fact that we have been chosen to win represents for us the obligation to continually innovate technologies and processes. Also 2005 has been a fantastic year.
Numerous and prestigious victories have arrived, paying back passion and extending the list of victories which we are so proud of. With our wheels we won many times the podium placing thanks to the big of the car sports:
- First at Le Mans with the splendid Audi R8.
- F1 driver’s and constructor’s world champion with RENAULT F1 and Alonso. To them we dedicated one of the subjects of our world advertising campaign.
- World rally driver’s and constructor’s champion (WRC) with Citroën.
Skimming through the pages of all the journalistic headings about this discipline, you will continue to find our wheels and not only on the highest step of the podium but also in the images that describe the passion of all those people living this sport at all levels.
2006: This was an extraordinary year for OZ’s racing department. The list of its successes is filled with victory after victory, in all the main world racing competitions.
Alonso and Renault win the FIA F1 constructor and driver world championship;
- Loeb wins the Rally drivers championship with 112 points;
- The BP Ford World Rally team, thanks also to OZ, gains the Rally constructors championship;
- Audi R10 leads in the Le Mans race, thanks to an extraordinary TDI engine;
- Exciting success in the US most important motor race: Indianapolis’ 500;
- The list includes also Maserati MC12 in the FIA GT1 championship and Mitsubishi in the Dakar Rally Raid;
2006 also saw the return of the Superleggera design, renamed as Ultraleggera, thanks to a further reduction in weight.
2007: After Antares, Superleggera, Michelangelo II, OZ gains another prized design award. Indeed, at the Essen Motorshow 2007 the well-known AutoBild magazine declared the Botticelli III wheel “best wheel of the year”. In the meanwhile, OZ is launching the new high-tech products line, called HLT: High Light Technology.
There are again several successes in the racing world: Audi wins with OZ, besides the le Mans competition, in the DTM constructors and drivers championship!!
Again, an extraordinary double win in the WC constructors and drivers championship, with BP Ford and Loeb.
Once again, the 2006 wins in the FIA GT1 and in the Dakar Rally Raid, with Mitsubishi, are confirmed.
These latest championship awards bring OZ’s successes at a world level since 1984 to more than 100, in all the world’s main racing tracks.