Trackside with Gildo Pallanca Pastor
There is no better way to start a race weekend than with a private talk with the president and owner of the Venturi Formula E Team, Mr Gildo Pallanca Pastor himself.
I believe everyone who lives in the Principality of Monaco knows the Pastor name and the Venturi brand, but not many people might know the passionate person behind those brands.
Gildo Pallanca Pastor is a Monaco-born billionaire and owner of Venturi Automobiles. One can say that he is a business man, but in reality he is much more than that. He is an author, a philanthropist (one of the donors of the Prince Albert II Foundation) and a passionate “petrol head” man who brings alive innovative developments.
Sitting down with Mr Pastor and watching him around other people I saw a very humble and down to earth person. A man who is able to transform his passion and visions to innovative reality and who safeguarded his human side on the way.
I arrived early morning to the race track but the Venturi Team was already busy with the preparations. Mr Pastor himself toured around school children in the Venturi box and summoned a magical smile on their faces.
The future generation has always been an important part in the philosophy of Venturi no matter if it is about a sustainable product development or the education of the next generation. Venturi has even launched recently the first academy for electric motorsport drivers, the VENTURI NEXT GEN as well with the ultimate aim to take budding young drivers to the very top of electric motorsport.
Finishing some photos with the group of kids, it was my turn with Mr Pastor.
Even if Mr Pastor had his own private office area in the Venturi box, we decided to be much more casual and we sat down at the trackside.
Mr Pastor is a very interesting person and his automotive achievements make him a truly authentic person in this Formula E world. For example in 1995, he set a new world ice speed record of 296.34 km/h with his Bugatti EB110 Supersport and in 2015 the FIA EV World land speed record was reached by his company Venturi Automobiles.
He is not just a “petrol head”, to be precise he is not even a fan of petrol. Venturi Automobile creates fully electric automobiles. Mr Pastor’s company launched the world’s first sports car powered solely by electricity. And this was back in 2004 many years before TESLA.
In the year of 2000 you acquired Venturi. What was your vision back then?
You know I acquired a small but highly innovative company. Since day one Venturi creates innovative solutions. I always believed that in some way it is larger than its products. Proven that we are developing things that are innovative and amazing.
Both Venturi and you are speed record holders, innovators in electric vehicles and also Venturi was one of the first team that joined the Formula E series. From where does this relationship come from?
It is not a secret the Prince (Prince Albert II) has contributed to the emergence of this new electric race series. We mutually respect each other. We talked about the possibilities in Formula E and the rest is history.
In December, 2013 Venturi announced the creation of the Venturi Grand Prix Team. Back then the team was co-founded with actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Since 2013 the Team has shown tremendous foresight in their decisions to create an environmentally friendly racing team. Venturi maintained its role model leadership in sustainable car developments.
We all know that you have a great passion for automobiles and innovations. How has this changed through your Formula E experience?
It is a tough question. Probably racing is the number one thing for me now. It was the first thing when I returned and I am very passionate about it.
We are very happy to see you back on the race track.
Thank you. I’m on every race this year managing the team and it’s my very first time being in Berlin, Germany.
How big is your travelling race team?
The Venturi Formula E Team travels with 30 people.
This week Venturi announced that Felipe Massa will be their new pilot and the former Formula One driver signed a three years contract with the Monaco team.
Currently it is a major news all around the world that Venturi signed Felipe Massa for next year’s Formula E. Can you tell us something about this?
No. (smiles) The thing is that it is not a news that we signed Felipe, the big news is that a Formula One Champion decided to choose Venturi for his new achievements.
I believe Felipe will be a perfect match for Venturi. It is a marriage made in heaven when a world-class innovator company meets with a world-class driver.
Yes, I am very much looking forward to the next year. To be honest Felipe has impressed me.
For many years you vanished from the spotlight, fighting with unfortunate health issue. How are you feeling today?
I feel great. I really needed a few years to gain back my strength. Many people do not know this but even today I do trainings for more than 7 hours a day. But I have always been motivated to come back.
Obviously with your return there will be many new developments with Venturi and it will bring a very positive and motivational vibe to the Venturi Formula E team. Venturi is a record holder in speed, do you have any new, similar ambitions?
It’s a second start for Venturi. There are a lot of new things going on and after the last Formula E race in New York people can already spot the wind of change.
To be honest we can not wait enough to see this new secret project by Venturi. The season closing ABB Formula E electric racing will be held in New York on the 14th July 2018.
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