TAG Heuer is still in the driving seat when it comes to their racing sponsorship outreach TAG Heuer is still in the driving seat when it comes to their racing sponsorship outreach

TAG Heuer is still in the driving seat when it comes to their racing sponsorship outreach

Borna Bošnjak

TAG Heuer is certain to rank highly among lists of the most recognisable watch brands. Their commercial success in recent years, especially among our fellow Aussies, is rivalled only by a select few. The story is the same when one considers their rich and storied past, from their founding in 1860, until today. Patenting their first chronograph in 1882, they carved their niche in the crazy world that was Formula 1 in the ’70s and ’80s. This influence is largely thanks to Jack Heuer, son of Charles-Edouard Heuer, who joined the company in 1958, as he made use of the likes of Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi and Mario Andretti as ambassadors of the Autavia. A big change arrived midway through the 1980s, and even though the brand successfully survived the quartz crisis, Heuer was acquired by Techniques d’Avant Garde in 1985. This would be the start of TAG Heuer. But the brand continued to be inextricably linked to motorsport – it was famously worn by Ayrton Senna, amongst many others – and the TAG Heuer racing spirit is still alive and well today.

Formula 1

tag heuer racing

The most notable current partnership that TAG Heuer has is with the Oracle Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team. The relationship began in 2016, while Red Bull still relied on Renault powertrains, though, as a sign of the cooperation, the engines were re-branded as TAG Heuer. While the rocky partnership with Renault finally came to an end in 2018, with the outfit opting for Honda power from 2019 onwards, the TAG Heuer friendship grew stronger.

TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team

Yielding many a limited-edition model in honour of the Austrian team, TAG Heuer didn’t neglect their historical relation to the sport, either. Namely, the brand has been a sponsor of the Monaco Grand Prix and Monaco Grand Prix Historique as official timekeeper – and how could they not be, considering the iconic Monaco model. The Historique race is especially remarkable, as it has featured some of the most fearsome racing machinery since its 1997 inception, including beauties like the Fangio-driven Maserati 250F, innovative Lotus 25 driven by Jim Clark and frightening monsters from the turbo era of the 1980s.

Formula E

tag heuer racing

High-octane fun isn’t the only thing on TAG Heuer’s racing repertoire, either. Since 2014, Formula E has only risen in popularity with the advent of developing battery technology and more exciting car designs coming in recent years. TAG Heuer has partnered the Porsche Formula E team since the 2019/2020 season, the first return to a racing series for Porsche since their Le Mans departure. The tight and twisty street circuits that these whining machines race on can make for genuinely intriguing watching, and have only gotten faster and faster. The next season kicks off on Valentine’s Day in Mexico City, where the team secured a masterful one-two finish in the past. I do miss the chaotic mid-race car swaps, though.

Porsche Racing

As we’ve seen from the numerous collaborative releases in the last few years, Porsche and TAG Heuer are serious about their relationship. The Stuttgart manufacturer’s racing outfit is one of the most decorated across multiple disciplines. Even though Porsche has now pivoted from their origins as a racing team first, and road car manufacturer second, their success in the Carrera Panamericana, Targa Florio and numerous Le Mans victories have given certain race cars legendary status – they even won the Rally Monte Carlo! Some of their notable vehicles include the 917, 935 Moby Dick, 911 GT1 and of course, the 956 – which still holds the qualifying lap record at the Nordschleife, set by Stefan Bellof nearly four decades ago.

tag heuer racing

Currently, TAG Heuer’s and Porsche’s partnership is best seen in the Porsche Carrera Cup and World Endurance Championship. Having finished 2nd in the standings three years in a row, the WEC Porsche GT team is sure to look towards a title challenge in the season ahead. The Porsche Carrera Cup, on the other hand, has been a staple F1 support series as the most prestigious one-make championship for GT race cars.

Historic races

tag heuer racing

One cannot mention TAG Heuer’s history and not mention the Carrera. Arguably the brand’s most important model got its name from the Carrera Panamericana – a gruelling race across Mexico held for only five short years, claiming 27 lives in the process. The Mille Miglia and Targa Florio contemporary saw incredible advances in car technology which also caused its eventual demise in 1955, for fear of excess casualties in the wake of the Le Mans disaster. Despite its cancellation, it was cemented in history as iconic, prompting Jack Heuer to name the first driver-designed chronograph after it. That was, of course, the 1963 birth of the Heuer Carrera. The Carrera Panamericana was revived in the late ’80s, this time supported by local authorities and with improved safety regulations, though the speeds now reached nearly 300 km/h, resulting in the implementation of speed limiters since 2012, restricting the cars to “only” 230 km/h. TAG Heuer has been an official partner since 1991, sponsoring 2016’s winning pair Hilaire and Laura Damiron, and their properly cool Studebaker.

tag heuer racing

Finally, it’s one third of the Triple Crown of Motorsport – the Indy 500. Alongside the Monaco Grand Prix and 24 Hours of Le Mans, this iconic race track has been graced by nearly every motorsport great. While the Triple Crown has only been claimed by double-F1 World Champion Graham Hill, the race has seen many changes and strange traditions, including the brick-kissing and milk-swigging ritual of the eventual winners. TAG Heuer is currently the official timekeeper of the race, releasing some special models along the way, like the Formula 1 above, paying homage to the Yard of Bricks.