WTCR Teamwork: #4 BRC Racing Team
Continuing the new series highlighting the importance of the teams competing in the WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup, BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Team Manager Gabriele Palmitesta reckons that years of experience and being passionate about motorsport play a key role in winning world titles.
Base: Cherasco, Cuneo, northern Italy
CEO: Massimiliano Fissore (ITA)
Team Principal: Gabriele Rizzo (ITA)
Team Manager: Gabriele Palmitesta (ITA)
On-event team: 16 (including 2 engineers, 8 mechanics)
Drivers: Norbert Michelisz (HUN), Gabriele Tarquini (ITA)
Car: Hyundai i30 N TCR
WTCR highlights: Winning back-to-back WTCR Drivers’ titles
“It’s a job with a lot of responsibility that cannot be done by someone
who is cracking under pressure”
Q&A: Gabriele Palmitesta, Team Manager
What’s your job at BRC Racing Team?
“As Team Manager I am the person in contact with the sporting authorities and the WTCR promoter. I am then spreading all the information to the team, the engineers and the drivers. Lastly, I am organising all the trips to the events and the logistics, plus planning all the activities of the team on a day-to-day basis. This is the biggest part, and as soon as we can begin the preparation for the season, I am putting everything together in a plan, keeping everybody informed and planning everything for the tests and the races.”
How much pressure and responsibility comes with what you do?
“There is a lot of responsibility, it’s a job where you have to be responsible. But it’s a job that cannot be done by someone who is cracking under pressure. I have to be the most calm person in the team. When something happens without warning, I have to stay calm and give instruction. For sure the team will feel if their boss is calm or stressed. Even when we have some critical situation, I have to be really cool. I have been doing this job since many years and I know the more calm you are, the better it will be for the rest.”
What experience do you need to do your job?
“The more experience you have, the more easy this job is to do, for me and also the team. When the team manager is really experienced, it’s much easier for everyone in the team. It’s important to know all the jobs the others in the team are doing and you have this with experience. I can give instructions to a mechanic, a tyre man or whatever knowing the details of what this activity means. This is really important. To know all these details is coming from years of experience. No book can explain this.”
Does your job require any specific qualification?
“Motorsport is really specific, the most important qualification is the experience for sure, but young people who want to work in team management do need to know that after school is also needed a real desire to win and to be meticulous with the details.”
How did you get to the job you are doing now?
“I had always been really passionate about motorsport and since my childhood I was trying to get involved. I was still in high school when I was doing a small job with a rally team. I was trying to progress by being involved as much as possible. I was doing coordinating and logistics and then, step by step, I was having a bigger importance in the team I was in. I spent many years in rallying with a few manufacturers and getting to this point where I am a team manager in WTCR.”
Given your passion for motorsport were you ever tempted to give driving a try?
“It’s quite strange because, coming from rallying, it is a job many co-drivers are doing when they have retired. I always had the passion to coordinate things but I have never been passionate about being a driver or co-driver. I feel I can be much better as a team manager rather than a driver. I don’t know for sure because I never tried it, but I never wanted to be something else other than a team manager.”
How easy is it to transfer the skills you’ve learned in rallying to circuit racing?
“In managing the team, I would say it’s more or less the same in rally or racing. The relationship with the mechanics and engineers is the same, it’s not connected to the series you are participating in. But it’s been quite easy to work in both because we are a closed group, a team working together for many years. For the rest, rallying and circuit racing is completely different, but it’s very exciting to try something different after many years of rallying. I loved the WTCR last year.”
What steps do you take to deal with a bad weekend?
“For sure there are ups and downs. The most important thing is to react quickly. So, if Free Practice 1 does not go to plan, for example, then you have to react and work hard to be ready to and better in Free Practice 2. You never give up. We have been quite successful, winning two world titles back to back, so for sure we know if we did some mistake we can react and we can be back. Immediately after a mistake is starting the motivation is to try to put it altogether again. For this you need to keep calm, concentrate and work hard.”
Your team isn’t just made up of Italians but other nationalities as well. How do you bond all these people together?
“Of course, the team is based in Italy but we have other nationalities and we try to speak English. But it is not a problem to bond these people. You do this job if you are really passionate. When you are putting a team together and there is the hunger and desire to win, this is what matters, it’s not a matter of what language you speak. We are united by the passion and desire to win.”
Is there time for team building during race weekends?
“The race weekends are very tight, there is not much available time. We consider that when we arrive at the track the team building is already done. At our base we are training together and having a good time together, but at the same time we are thinking about the possibilities for the race weekend and how we can win. All the team members have a close relationship and we have our briefings so we all know what to do. This is the most important thing.”
Where to watch BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse in the WTCR in 2020
WTCR Race of Austria (Salzburgring, 12-13 September)
WTCR Race of Germany (Nürburgring Nordschleife, 24-26 September)
WTCR Race of Slovakia (Slovakia Ring,10-11 October)
WTCR Race of Hungary (Hungaroring, 17-18 October)
WTCR Race of Spain (MotorLand Aragón, 31 October-1 November)
WTCR Race of Italy (Adria International Raceway, 14-15 November)