8/6/2020

Enthusiasm enriched by experience

Pascal Zurlinden

Director Factory Motorsports

As a child, French-born Pascal Zurlinden always loved cars – Porsches above all. As he grew, his aptitude for science was matched by an obsession with motorsport. It was only natural that he would apply his analytical mind to his driving passion. So, we find he is not only a qualified automotive engineer, he also holds a Master of Sciences in Motorsport Engineering and Management. And it shows! After more than 20 years’ experience in European motorsport, his broad base of expertise made him a key member of the Porsche team when he finally joined the “family” in 2014.

His first task at Porsche R&D Centre in Weissach was as a test and strategy engineer in the LMP1 project. It was a massive success – achieving a notable hat-trick of three consecutive wins. In 2017 he took over responsibility for the “Balance of Performance” in the GT field, before assuming the role as Director of GT Factory Motorsports in 2018. Now responsible for both the GT race series and the Formula E projects. Zurlinden is proud to be part of the Porsche family; as he says, “We represent a fantastic brand, which will continue to make motorsport history in the future.”

TEAM QUESTIONS

Please describe your job at TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E

My job within the team is to oversee the whole Formula E Project as well as all other works motorsport projects.

What were you doing before the Formula E season?

I have a long history in Motorsport. At Porsche, I started with the LMP1, and then moved further to the RSR and GT3 R project. It has always been and still is a very interesting and great time at Porsche Motorsport.

How many years have you been with Porsche?

Since 2014

Where does your passion for motorsport come from?

Motorsport means a lot: technology, speed, team, pressure, planning, communication, flexibility. Bringing all these skills together is like being a chef, you take the best ingredients and compose a Michelin-star menu. If it is a success, then happiness and relief will mean a great deal to the team and obviously the fans. Motorsport to me is the perfect symphony of excellent, groundbreaking technology and obviously great teamwork.

Have you always dreamed about working in motorsport?

It happened by accident during my studies.

Please describe how you felt when the Porsche 99X Electric got on the racetrack.

Thrilled and proud. This gave everyone in the team the first race feeling even though it was not an actual race.

What is the biggest difference between FE and other race series for you personally?

Formula E is a very different format from the racing we know. We have very little info about the racetracks as we race in cities and there are no permanent racetracks. In addition, the pressure of a one-day event with little time between sessions is a great difference. Therefore, preparation is everything to enable us to take on this challenge.

What keeps you motivated to push even more with the team?

There is always only one target when we go to the racetrack: winning. This is our motivation.

Do you feel pressured by the high expectations from fans that come with the debut season?

Everyone always expects Porsche to win. Due to the heritage of the brand, the expectations are always high. It somehow motivates you to always walk the extra mile.

Please describe what it’s like to work with the FE team.

It is a pleasure; I am proud to be part of this great team.

What was your biggest success with Porsche so far?

Personally, the biggest success so far in Formula E was the pole position in Mexico. This was the confirmation that we are on the right path to be at the top of the competition after the first podium at the first race.

How do you feel about the competition in Formula E?

With so many brands, I believe it is one of the strongest grids in motorsport.

What are your personal expectations for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team?

Get the first win as soon as possible and then become World Champion.

What are your personal goals for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team?

World Champion

What do you think is the coolest about Formula E?

The format (one day event), the location (middle of the fans at a city centre), the competition (10 manufacturers).

What does “Stay Hungry” mean to you?

This is what we are. Even after years in the business, we always wake up in the morning with only one goal: Winning.

How do you cope with this current situation? Is there anything you would like to tell the community?

Stay safe and focused on the future. The next steps are coming.

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