Last week, I packed my favorite mini cosmopolitan city with me in my suitcase and made my way to Valencia for the launch of the Firestone Destination HP tire. I was really surprised to see how many women were there, thinking that it would be mostly a male-dominated event. We were greeted at the elegant 4-star hotel by a group of gorgeous Spanish ladies, who took us to the outside bar area for a welcome drink. Huge tapas plates and cold glasses of crisp cava were awaiting us, along with the hot summer air. I was delighted to hear that the women were louder than the men, making naughty car and guy jokes. I couldn’t stop laughing at how open and uninhibited they were – Firestone women on fire! Our representative Chris gave us a mischievous wink, and announced, “Let the challenge begin!”
We started with a bike tour around Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences, and drove into the old town. It was very beautiful with many remarkable old buildings and streets. A few people damaged their bikes on the way, so it was really like a survival of the fittest biker tour! We got back to the hotel, changed faster than the speed of light, and were chauffeured to the secret location of the opening ceremony. As we arrived in front of the futuristic cube building, a huge two-floor level “F” of the Firestone logo greeted us as a bright beacon in the night. We stepped into a dimly-lit area, and the first thing I saw was the celebrated Destination HP tire, standing under a pink spot light in the middle of the room in all its glory… quite mysterious indeed. The DJ was playing a hypnotic house set, and more pretty ladies in red Firestone polo shirts were floating around with a tray of various cold drinks. The catering gentlemen in black were circulating their delicious creations, including my favorite mini burgers, langoustine on sticks, and other exotic dishes. Here we met Stefano Modena, the Italian Formula One racing star of the late 80s. He is such an open, friendly and cool character. He explained the racing and tire business to me a bit, and we all had a great evening.
The next day, the real adventure began! We got a black Firestone polo shirt, and were sent off to the next mysterious location, where we teamed up in twos and were given our own SUV to have crazy fun and burn some rubber! We had to collect points, and the team with the highest score would win. I got a really cool racing partner Nicole, who goes by the name of Auto Diva. I was given my very first roadbook, which I learned to read on the spot, and so the challenge was on! We made our way through the city of Valencia with this roadbook, and then drove off the main roads, onto a rough terrain. Half the time I wasn’t sure if we were on the right path because it was mainly an abandoned strenuous off road with many ups and down, and huge rocks everywhere. But we put the pedal to the medal, created dust and dirt hurricanes behind us, and arrived at the destination point, which was a racetrack, where Stefano Modena was waiting for us. There we got to drive like devil-possessed teenagers on the wet track, and also another off road track, where some drops were almost completely vertical! The tires had a really strong grip, and performed excellently on wet and dry land. What a wild ride! My heart was thumping with adrenaline and excitement. And guess what? Surprise, surprise, the winning car was driven by two women.
We got back to the hotel, had some relaxing spa hours, and then escorted to the dinner and party at the picturesque harbor. We went on a catamaran ride that took us into the ocean to watch the gold sunset. After some bottles of cava, we proceeded to a restaurant where we ate more delicacies, and were ready to shake it on the dance floor. Our cool and cheerful rep Chris took us to the VIP section of the open-air club, where a table and bottles were waiting for us with open arms. We danced into the early morning hours, where the Valencia sky was turning a glowing purple, and everyone was in an ecstatic mood. It was like being in a wonderland for adults. What a phenomenal day!
As the weekend came to an end, and all of the action-packed events played through my head, I was very happy to see how the times have changed. So many more women are involved in this industry. Firestone is really ahead in the tire game because they know how to appeal to both genders, and their trendy lifestyle-factor is very prominent. Also ladies, I’ve seen once again that if you want to meet fun and interesting men, go to more car events. You never know if your future partner is somewhere amongst the crazy adrenaline junkies or tire lovers. All in all, Firestone positively surprised me: an incredible weekend, a very exciting launch, an adventure never to be forgotten, and a competitive, good-priced product! At the end, Frankfurt loved Valencia, but still nothing beats coming back home to my favorite Mainhattan.