The year is 2011, and you’re looking at your favorite motorcycle racing news website to find something strange: Paris Hilton is sponsoring a 125cc Grand Prix motorcycle team, which was the equivalent of what we call Moto3 today. That’s right. This is your reminder that notorious socialite Paris Hilton etched her place in motorsport history with the SuperMartxé VIP by Paris Hilton team.
Hilton’s team was actually quite impressive. Her riders included Sergio Gadea and Maverick Viñales, who went on to win the Moto3 championship in 2013, finish third in Moto2 in 2014, and move up to MotoGP proper the following year.
That year, Hilton basically mounted a takeover of what had been previously known as the Blusens Avintia team, which had previously gone by many different names and is currently known as Esponsorama Racing.
Here’s a little more on the partnership, from Motoress:
Are you wondering how the unlikely pairing of Hilton and BQR came to be? Well, Joan Xufre a BQR company spokesman said that Hilton was approached by Riccard Garriga, a team partner, and Nano Barea, the founder of SuperMartxé to gauge her interest in lending her image to the proposed team. “The prospect of being involved really excited her to the point that she became one of the team owners, in addition to lending her image,” Xufre stated. She posted a tweet on her official Twitter page on shortly after saying: “This is going to be fun!” and an earlier Tweet read: “I love motorcycles.”
According to Xufre, Hilton was obligated to turn up at five races during the 18-race season as part of the deal, and she seemed to do so with gusto. That year, Hilton really embraced her role as a figurehead in MotoGP. When Marco Simoncelli was killed, Hilton turned up at Valencia wearing a jacket that featured Simoncelli’s number in honor of him. Further, she presented his family with an oil painting by artist Angel Uranga that showed Simoncelli in a deep lean heading into a corner. She was also available to celebrate several of Viñales’ wins.
The team did pretty great that year, in large part thanks to Viñales, who finished third in the Championship thanks to his four wins and five further podiums and who also took home Rookie of the Year honors. Meanwhile, his teammate Gadea finished ninth.
Unfortunately, Hilton reportedly failed to meet her contractual obligations (which likely meant she didn’t turn out for all of her mandated race appearances), and the team tried to sue her. As you can imagine, the Hilton sponsorship disappeared, and the team went back to being called the Blusens Avintia team for 2012.