Interview: Luca Filini

from CIK-FIA

Luca Filini has gained valuable experience as a kart mechanic, assisting many drivers in major international competitions. When the merger between the two famous companies Birel and ART Grand Prix became a reality at the end of 2014, Luca Filini (33 years old) joined the factory based in Lissonne near Milan.

Taking more and more responsibility over the years, he was chosen to succeed Davide Fore as team manager of the Birel ART Racing Team at the beginning of the 2019 season.

IN THE PADDOCK, A LOT OF PEOPLE WORKING IN THE KARTING WORLD STARTED AS DRIVERS. IS THIS THE CASE FOR YOU?

No, that’s not my experience, I’ve never raced! I became interested in Karting through my uncle, Armando Filini. For a long time he worked at CRG, before managing teams like BRM and Maranello. As soon as I finished school or when I was on holiday, I was helping the Drivers in his team. I started working full time in 2005, during the Maranello era. I then participated in the ART Grand Prix adventure, with Drivers like Charles Leclerc and Ben Hanley.

THAT’S RIGHT, IT LOOKS LIKE THE TITLE IN FIA KARTING IS SYSTEMATICALLY AVOIDING YOU!

That’s racing! Now, it’s up to us to draw the conclusions. When you do not win, you must always analyse the causes of failure, to be even better at the next race. From the equipment to the mechanic through the engine or the Driver, everything must be perfect. In Karting, the gaps are so tight that there is no room to make mistakes. Victory for Birel ART is our only goal.

IS IT DIFFICULT TO PRODUCE A CHASSIS THAT CAN WORK IN ALL CONDITIONS?

A few years ago, we accelerated the development process at the factory to be ready for the latest CIK-FIA chassis homologation. Our goal was clearly to offer our distributors, teams and customers a powerful product at all levels, in all categories, with all types of tyres. It means a lot of work for our production and research and development departments. Today, the feedback we receive from our distributors around the world shows that we have chosen the right direction.

BEING A TEAM MANAGER ALSO MEANS MANAGING VERY YOUNG DRIVERS. IS IT DIFFICULT WHEN THE RESULTS ARE NOT UP TO PAR?

The European and World Championships remain very high level events. We cannot arrive and get on the podium after a few races. Some still lack speed, others experience, which they must understand. We are here to help them progress and support them so that they can give their best. See Luigi Coluccio’s journey. He had to patiently climb the ladder of Mini and Junior, but today he is very impressive in OK.

ALONGSIDE THE RACING SERVICE, BIREL ART IS ALSO HEAVILY INVOLVED IN OTHER AREAS. TELL US ABOUT YOUR OTHER ACTIVITIES?

Our group manages the Easy Kart brand competition. It is a promotional formula that uses economical equipment with very reliable motors manufactured by one of our brands: BMB. Currently, we are looking to develop our leisure branch, with a full range of rental karts, including versions with electric motors.

Birel ART is also fortunate to have a partner like Richard Mille, who set up an academy for young drivers to support them in single-seaters. The Frenchman Enzo Valente was the first winner and is currently racing in F4 in France. The second initiative is in preparation. Richard Mille also wants to increase the number of girls in motorsport. This year, racing at a high level we have two very promising youngsters that we have scouted: Brazilian Julia Ayoub in OK-Junior and Spain’s Maya Weug. It’s a great initiative. 

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