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#OMP50 Episode 8: Starring again in the WRC

Partnering the Rush movie, OMP found success in the movie industry, but not without ceasing to collect honors in true motorsport as well. After several triumphs in the 90s, the Italian brand returned to the top of the World Rally Championship in 2013, through its alliance with Volkswagen Motorsport. The German manufacturer, making its debut in the series, chose OMP for the racewear and safety equipment of the new Polo R WRC.

Together with Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen dominated the WRC for four consecutive seasons. Thanks to teammates Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen, 43 out of 52 races were won; a truly incredible rate. Volkswagen, still undefeated, left the WRC at the end of 2016, but the OMP brand remained on the forefront by supplying Toyota, which returned to action in 2017 following an intense testing program. OMP did not have to wait long before celebrating again. In 2019, with Ott Tanak at the wheel, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT claimed the maiden of five consecutive drivers’ titles. The first one was followed by Sébastien Ogier in 2020 and 2021, and Kalle Rovanpera in 2022 and 2023. The Finn also became the youngest driver ever to secure the World Rally Championship crown.

A common element between the Volkswagen and Toyota victories is the HTE ONE seat, one of the most successful projects in the history of OMP, thanks to more than a decade of continuous R&D. The journey began with preliminary studies taken in 2008, while 2003 WRC champion Petter Solberg was the first international-level driver to bet on the product. Using the HTE ONE seat, the Norwegian finished in P3 for the 2011 campaign, with eight podium finishes. In the meantime, he provided precious feedback to the Ronco Scrivia-based engineers.

In 2019, the experience gained with Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT led OMP to launch the evolved HTE ONE Lite spec, further reduced in weight and with design modifications to better suit taller drivers and co-drivers. In the meantime, the HTE ONE seat also proved its quality in other contexts, like the World Rallycross Championship. Solberg won the 2014 and 2015 titles, and then Johan Kristoffersson became the most brilliant star of this discipline.

Concurrently, OMP embarked on their karting racewear production. Karting suits, gloves and boots must not be resistant to fire and heat, but to abrasion, if, for example, the driver is thrown from the chassis. As always, OMP didn’t want to simply copy the best competitors, but to be a benchmark-setter. This is the reason why in 2016 the KS1 suit was created. It was the first ever to include printed graphics that can be customized using the sublimation technique. The features of the KS1 and KS1-R, made of ultralight fabric, were enough to convince an industry-giant like OTK Group to sign a multi-year supply agreement. With OTK, owner of the legendary Tony Kart brand, and other major partners such as Sodikart, Praga and Formula K, OMP further expanded its trophy tally.

Stories of races, drivers, and passion.