With the event which took place at the Barcelona circuit, Bhai Tech Racing, the racing division of the Mestrino-based Advanced Vehicle Science Centre, which was inaugurated more than one year ago by Pastor Maldonado, won the first International GT Open Championship’s title with the two McLaren MP4-12C. Along with the teams’ title, the squad’s driver Giorgio Pantano also won the drivers title. The Padua-born driver who made his debut in a GT Championship, kept all his rivals behind: “It’s not bad to win the teams and drivers title the first time you take part in a GT Championship. It was a new experience for us and for our engineers”, comments Bhai Tech’s President Mr. Ferdinando Bada “we made some mistakes, but we were good at improving race by race. The overall win we took in Monza was the peak of our racing season, along with the last few laps at Montmelò. We really deserved to win.”
It was a big success also for the “virtual simulation”. You have a state of the art driving simulator and software inside your headquarter. How much does virtual simulation get close to reality?
Around 95%.This percentage comes from a comparison between all the data we gathered from the GP2 Dallara.
The Driving Simulator allows you to make indoor tests, without having to move to the track, so you save money and time and give drivers the opportunity to practice those tracks they will race on and the staff has the opportunity to undertake some development tests. How much money does a team save?
We save up to one quarter if we compare an on-track test and a test using the driving simulator. Another advantage is that you can practice whenever you want, refine details such as braking and undertake set-up tests. All that is done on track can be also done using the driving simulator and the modeling software. Some drivers told us that, after a three-four days training session using our simulator, their on-track performances in a very demanding Championship such as GP2, improved significantly.
Talking about GP2, this year you’ve been engaged in this Championship alongside the Racing Engineering Team
As Bhai Tech, we’ve offered a technical support to the Race Engineering Team. We’ve provided the team with simulation training and on-track assistance by employing our engineers. We’ve been very satisfied with the results, as the team won the GP2 title. That is another big success to be added to the two GT Open titles.
What are your plans for the 2014 racing season?
We have two options at the moment: GT Open and FIA GT. We should have our plan defined in about one month, as we’re waiting for a confirmation from one of our most important sponsors. The FIA GT Championship would be our main choice, as it’s a kind of technical championship, but obviously, we want to pay attention to our sponsors’ needs.
The world economic situation is not that good now. What’s the main problem a racing team or companies like yours have to deal with now?
The whole world is undergoing a serious financial crisis, so there is a lack of resources to support Sport in general, not only Motorsport. Nowadays even nonprofessional sport activities have trouble finding financial support – small football teams who bring happiness to local communities, don’t even manage to find 10-15000 euros to support the season – let alone Motorsport, whose financial needs are much higher.
To be honest, you would expect institutions to pay more attention to a field which involves many employees; more than 150.000 people are employed in the motorsport field. Some legislative bills introduced by the government when Monti was the prime minister, have further reduced the possibility for companies to support Sport financially, and so the amount of financial resources to be devoted to sport has significantly decreased.
The Bhai Tech Advanced Vehicle Science Centre has celebrated its first anniversary this year. What are your goals for the upcoming years?
Our main goal is to cooperate side by side with car companies. It’s clear that you have to prove who you are and what you’re able to do. We’re still very young, but we’re progressing so much. We’re successfully cooperating with the F.1 McLaren. It’s our most important partner from a technological point of view. Probably next year our “F.1 Family” will further expand. I am confident in that.
In the past you took part in the F.3000 and in the GP2 Championships with your own team. You scored wins and won titles. Is there a chance that you compete in a Formula Championship again?
We don’t rule out any possibility. We should have our program defined in about one month, and then we’ll be ready to make our announcements. The Formula “chapter” isn’t closed, for sure.
….What drove you to leave Formula and focus on GT Competition?
Nothing in particular, just the will to meet new challenges. After dealing with Formula cars for such a long time, I decided to focus on covered-wheels, as I find them so exciting. Even if we’re not involved in Formula competitions as a team, we continue to work on single-seaters through our driving simulator, which is a very useful device, as it gives a driver the opportunity to progress. In a demanding championship such as the GP2, the time gap is within few thousands of a second. This is the reason why details can really make a difference. Through driving simulation we can analyze a driver’s behavior, understand his mistakes and help him progress.