In the following episode of our customer series, we'll take a look at Portugal. In it, the young but successful team The Racing Factory cooperating with top drivers reveals its approach to rally sport, young talents and the ŠKODA FABIA Rally2.
The Racing Factory is a relatively new team. Can you tell us how it all began?
Yes, we are indeed still a very young team. The company was born in the middle of 2018 and we started our operations in 2019 once we had thoroughly renovated and modified our workshop. Today, we have 3 years of operation under our belt, in both the Portuguese and European championships.
Everything started with my own ambition to create a motorsport company that reflects my commitment and passion for the sport. Having been "behind the scenes" of motorsport for a lot of years, in various roles, I decided to create my own team to reflect my vision and experience in the world of automotive and motorsport; a team working ambitiously, professionally and passionately every single day. This is what I call The Racing Factory style.
Even in such a short period of time, you have achieved some significant victories. What do you think is the key to your success?
We were lucky enough to have been given the opportunity and also the trust of some of the best Portuguese drivers to work with, right from the beginning. Thanks to this, we have also been able to achieve important victories in such a short period of time. And this is what shows our determination to be successful and our desire to grow with each and every success. Therefore, the key to success is, above all, our professionalism and determination.
Which of these victories is the most valuable for your team?
It's hard to pinpoint just one. We have had some very positive moments, not just winning individual victories or championship titles. But of course, we can highlight, for example, our 2020 Portuguese National Rally Championship title, which we achieved with Armindo Araújo in a difficult season when we faced problems and limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are now a lot of professional teams in the rally world providing the same services as you do. What do you think makes your team unique?
This is one of the key points. We should never think that our team is unique. We need to be humble every day to understand that we work in a really competitive and challenging sport and also business. Every day we need to wake up and look at what is happening around us and direct our strategy and our development accordingly. But, there is something that must always be there for The Racing Factory team to work - success and passion.
Do you work on developing young drivers or do you prefer more experienced ones?
We do both. We work with both types of drivers and don't want to prefer just one group. We prefer drivers who behave professionally (despite not being professional drivers) and are really committed to winning.
But, since the beginning, we have also committed ourselves to try to work with some young talented drivers as well; helping them to grow, not only from the driving perspective, but also from the commercial and promotional perspective; to help them in their career development. That's obviously part of our DNA and it's something we want to continue to work on.
Why did you choose the ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo? Did the long-term success of the brand have any influence on you?
That's easy. The relationship with ŠKODA started 12 years ago when some Portuguese drivers (such as Ricardo Moura, Bruno Magalhães and Ricardo Teodósio) started buying this car. After this experience, we have become loyal to the brand and have always considered the ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 to be the best car of the Rally2 group ever. We were therefore not influenced by the success of the car, but, above all, by the level of development, reliability, overall quality of ŠKODA cars and the customer support. These are the things we know very well from the past, and they are the reasons we decided to buy the ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo. Since the beginning, we have been convinced that this car was the best option for us.
You yourself have completed a number of rallies with the car. How do you rate it in terms of handling?
Yes, in addition to my role as the General Manager of The Racing Factory, I always try to do a little racing programme and take part in some of my favourite rallies. I usually do selected ERC events, but my style is obviously more of a 'gentleman driver'. However, I can still say that from any perspective, the ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo is the best car I have ever driven. In all circumstances, this car is suitable for all types of drivers and its reliability on all types of surfaces is the main thing to highlight, from my point of view.
And what do your customers like about this car?
Our customers like to win and the only way to do that is to drive the ŠKODA FABIA Rally2. So the answer is clear and simple. They like everything about the FABIA Rally2. No shortcuts to success, but the best car for the best drivers.
How do you personally see the future of rallying?
Being directly and professionally involved in the automotive market and business, I am also watching with some anticipation the adaptations and changes in our sporting field to take advantage of the new types of solutions and energies that will be used in rally cars.
In my opinion, we cannot stop in time or look back. Thus, I think, the Rally2 group should move forward in the near future and follow the same path as the top Rally1 group did, that is, towards hybrid solutions and new fuels. We don't know yet which types of power systems and energies will be better suited to rally cars in the future, especially those designed for private teams working on a limited budget.