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RPM : Innovation through Italian Motorsport Industry Excellence

RPM (acronym for Rete Professionisti Motorsport – Motorsport Professionals Network in Italian) is a network of companies and professionals that promote innovation globally through Italian Motorsport Excellence. 

From their recently released website: 

“Innovation is at the heart of business success in the modern globalised knowledge economy. Italian firms are renowned for their innovative capability, particularly the innovatory capability  of the small and medium size firms (SMEs) that make up the backbone of the Italian economy. Within the global motorsport industry, Italy is well known as being one of the global centres for the  industry, with names such as Ferrari and Ducati being just two of the global players within motorsport that are based in Italy. At the same time, Italian SMEs working  within the motorsport industry are also world class in the quality of their  product and their innovatory capacity. RPM  has been formed to promote these Italian SMEs capabilities both within Italy and outwards to the world in the field of motorsport as well as in many others technologically advanced fields.”

At this link the Vision, Mission and Values of this formal network of SMEs operating in the from the Italian Motorsport Industry to the world 

Visit the newly released website to learn about all of the players and their latest news. 

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Motor Valley Fest; what’s next for automotive and mobility. The speed factor…

The first edition of the Motor Valley Fest has begun with a conference held in Modena at the Municipal theatre named after Luciano Pavarotti.

The Conference, focusing on the future of automotive, has featured a round table by the top management of the companies that traditionally represent the backbone of the Italian Motor Valley: Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Ducati, Dallara and other automotive specialists. 

The topic has been introduced by a research elaborated and presented by McKinsey & co. Here the contents relevant to such research Automotive revolution, perspective towards 2030 and Race 2050 – A vision for the European automotive industry .

The round table has focused on debates relevant to electric vehicles overall actual impact on reducing environmental pollution and mostly ways in which synergies can be created among companies, universities and public entities in order to generate the necessary structural dynamic changes within the industry. 

As Mr.Pontremoli, Dallara CEO, has summarised well, the Motor Valley has unique opportunities within these changing contexts: “No longer the dynamics are simply the ones of the bigger fish eating the smaller one; today is the fast fish that beats the slow one, and we are fast by default”.

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RPM successfully launched in Rome alongside the ePrix

The Founding

On 12 March 2019, the network of companies known as RPM (Rete Professionisti Motorsport – Motorsport Professionals Network) was founded by a notary in Modena where the founding members of the network signed the deed of incorporation. The network is comprised of Italian companies and professionals operating globally in the manufacturing and service sectors of the Motorsport Industry. 

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The purpose of RPM is to create synergies between firms in order to enhance industry capability and to promote Italian Motorsport and performance engineering excellence throughout the world by generating innovation within the field of Motorsport and technologically related sectors. La Sapienza – Rome University and Pisa University are already strategically and operationally involved with the network in order to enhance and implement a research based approach to technological developments and organisational improvements within the rapidly changing global marketplace of motorsport and related sectors.

The First General Counsel

On 11 April 2019, the founding members of the network met in Rome on the occasion of the Formula E Rome ePrix for the first general formal counsel of the network. Organisational, operational and strategic pathways of development were set for the short, mid and long term. About twenty founding members, from the extreme north to the extreme south of Italy, representing various capabilities and component manufacturing in the field of Motorsport and related sectors, have begun the process to identify their core competencies and levers of excellence in order to create strong synergies of development within the network. Another aim of the network is to establish concrete national and international co-operation for business development for the industry. The timeless scenery offered by a Roman terrace was the setting for a social dinner following the general formal assembly. This was a great location to channel a sense of the talent and excellence of the industry through tradition, the present and the future in typical Italian style. 

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The First Public Conference

On 12 April 2019, in the timeless historical premises of La Sapienza University’s Engineering faculty, RPM launched its first public conference. The network was presented by tracing back to its roots, its present and future aims and these introductory contents were further articulated by specific specialists in their field. Francesco Sedea (RPM President), Riccardo Paterni (RPM Vice President of Business Development) and Giorgio Casolari (RPM Vice President of Network Development) moderated the debate that followed. 

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Engineer Luca Marmorini, from Marmotors Srl (a founding RPM member) briefly illustrated the pathway of technological developments that have linked and are linking Motorsport to the future of mobility. In particular he pointed out the traditional strength of Motorsport companies in harnessing prototyping by embracing with focus and flexibility the toughest challenges of prototype manufacturing technology’s. He also pointed out that Motorsport has traditionally worked on an efficiency perspective in order to generate performance and that this is a key value added to many projects not only in Motorsport (for example key people operating in the SpaceX Elon Musk program have Motorsport background).

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Professor Leone Martellucci, from the Engineering Faculty of La Sapienza University (a close cooperation is likely to develop in technology terms between this university and RPM) added that going even beyond efficiency, the future of mobility is linked to alternative sources of energy and in this too the ‘Motorsport mindset’ has shown to be a winning factor. He spoke about his experiences as a student with the legendary Giotto Bizzarrini and illustrated the accelerating progress of power energy management through the evolution of the Formula Student SAE projects. 

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Dr. Tim Angus, Honorary Research Fellow from Coventry University, pointed out the research that has been done throughout the years on the UK relevant to the growth and dynamics of the Motorsport Industry in that country . This included the UK motorsport industry’s direct knowledge transfer links to other sectors such as automotive, aerospace and defence amongst others. In terms of industrial identity and synergic developments the Italian Motorsport Industry has similarly relevant paths to follow and one of RPM’s network aims is to focus directly on guiding and implementing this process of industry diversification. 

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Engineer Rodi Basso, Motorsport Director – McLaren Applied Technologies, fascinated the audience with a presentation with the title ‘The humanistic face of Motorsport’ pointing out how the context of Motorsport has evolved into a vision embracing technology and marketing in a powerful flow of effective innovation; a vision that in itself has the potential to fuel innovation driven by sustainability, entertainment and a sense of convergence regarding serving the actual needs of the market,. This kind of flexible, focused approach, rooted in Motorsport, is effectively utilised in fields as diverse as automotive, healthcare and natural resources preservation and management.

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Finally Professor Riccardo Giannetti, from the Economics and Management Faculty of Pisa University (who are already cooperating with advising on RPM’s organisational set-up), pointed out the organisational aspects that can be utilised to create synergies among business models already present within the RPM network. He also outlined how to shape new business models by leveraging the varied competencies present within the RPM network. Ways to evaluate RPM performances have also been suggested by Professor Giannetti. 

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The conference ended with a short session that summarised the debates from the day and also from the network general counsel held the previous day . The final session also summed up what’s next for RPM, by a slide in which Rodi Basso pointed out what’s in the immediate future for RPM: 

  • strengths definition; 
  • impact – thinking big (enjoy the disorientation); 
  • joined up strategy and convergence thinking (finding what are the market needs first in order to serve them at best). 

RPM’s organisation is committed to stimulate and drive the teamwork needed to implement and achieve these network goals and the ones to arise in the future. 

Stay tuned for updates.

Our web site:

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Twitter: @RPMItalia




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Geneva Motor Show 2019. Automotive ‘perfect storm’ towards the dawn of a new mobility era.

On March 5th, the opening day of the Geneva Motor Show 2019, has been an intriguing involving experience that has allowed to encompass past, present and future of a kind of mobility that goes beyond traditional automotive reference points embracing relevant changes characterising the present and the future. 

Past, Present and Future on stage

The past has been featured and recalled through styling choices revisiting concepts dating back even to the 1920s and 1930s: the ‘one of one’ Bugatti ‘La Voiture Noire’ as well as brands like Ispano Suiza and others represent clear fascinating examples of this trend. 

The present reconciles technological evolutions relevant to hybrid and full electric powertrains inspired by sustainability needs and stepping into progressively bolder ways to reap the benefits of digital technologies increasing comfort of the driving experience and safety of mobility; all of the major global brands have brand new or evolved models on display along this line of thought. 

The future is present through many concept cars that span from the ambitious subcompact FIAT Centoventi, conceptually filled of creative ideas targeting millennials lifestyle (and even stimulating an entrepreneurial mindset for the driver/user), to several hyper-cars of which possibly the most awaited one is the featured world premiere Pininfarina Battista boosting a raw electric power equivalent to almost 1900 bhp. 

Retro style, extreme performance, sustainability, digital technologies opportunities to the benefit of manufactures and users alike, new business models empowering fresh conception of cars as dynamic social media devices (FIAT Centoventi); all in all many perspectives that contribute to fuel an ever stronger and widespread fascination with mobility solutions within the setting of a motor show that in itself is rooted in history and tradition. New brands from Russia and Cina are also introducing themselves leveraging their identity on such emerging trends and contributing to the changes.

The ‘perfect storm’ factors

Overall we can discern that the world of automotive and mobility is clearly at the threshold of relevant changes generated by a sort of ‘perfect storm’ originating from several concurrent factors: a marked evolution of traditional automotive technologies; digital technologies that are progressively affirming their overall pervasiveness and integration in manufacturing, distributing and continuous improvement of the user experience; levels of raw performance reaching new unparalleled heights thanks to electric power matched by the ever sophisticated utilisation of composite materials enabling active vehicle dynamics. 

The ‘what’s next’ of automotive is therefore characterised by changes that represent at the same time concrete opportunities of development and treats for growth; it all depends from the swiftness, agility and effective innovation focus that companies involved in the business will utilise to interpret this new dawn of mobility. 

( additional original pictures available at this link )

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“Driven by people; fuelled by passion”

“Driven by people, fuelled by passion. Advanced technology to engineer a fast changing future”; this is not simply a statement that characterises the identity of a company: it represents the essence of a unique mix of researched and applied technical know-know in Motorsport and high performance engineering guided by synergic visionary teamwork. This is YCOM , an Italian based engineering and prototyping organisation with extended global roots and reaches.


The company recently celebrated 10 years of activity within a unique setting (a classic cars and bikes museum and auction space: Ruote da Sogno) at the presence of an audience of fans (customers, suppliers, friends) and famed professionals coming from several parts of the world (some of them legendary people that have set the development paths of the field for decades through their visionary talent and still influence it in meaningful ways as for example: Gian Paolo Dallara and Mauro Forghieri.

When innovation is driven by efficiency 

YCOM’s story is ingrained within the dynamic traditions of innovations rooted in Motorsport and high performance engineering that have characterised the last 10 years of innovation generated at first in Motorsport and then progressively reaching automotive mass markets in several segments.

Nicola Scimeca and Mario Saccone , YCOM co-founders, have shared with the audience the highlights of 10 years remarkably intense and rich of relevant projects. Projects that have demonstrated the high level of respect and consideration that the company has been able to conquer, retain and multiply through projects commissioned by (and developed in partnership with) key Motorsport and automotive brands.

YCOM is a classic case-study to represent the relevance and reach of technological Italian Small and Medium Enterprises that are leveraging their growth on the development and application of their unique know-how to clients project. 

The difference that they make is generated by a visionary application of know-how focusing on innovative solutions to constantly improve performance; solutions that hinge on talent that has been nurtured progressively within the company. YCOM projects are characterised by a marked level of overall efficiency on execution relevant to the innovative projects they tackle. 

On these basis YCOM is set to strengthen and increase its presence and reach in in meaningful and lasting ways. 

Videos about #YCOM10years 

Event short video:

Event complete video:

Introduction video:

Video Italian Stig:

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The Italian Motorsport Ecosystem Networks

On June 28th 2018, several companies from the Italian Motorsport Industry have gathered to proceed in structuring a meaningful network aiming to enhance the value generated by the Italian Motorsport Industry ecosystem towards global opportunities.  

The industry know-how needs to be fully valued within global projects regarding several fields: motorsport constantly evolving needs, automotive rapidly changing and evolving scenarios, as well as aerospace, defence, biomedical and other fields that can benefit from research & development generated by Motorsport companies and their capabilities to accelerate innovation processes.

The companies involved were SMEs (Small and Medium Size Enterprises), larger multinational corporations and global entities that are channelling and leveraging investments involving the ecosystem. 

The meeting was held at the facilities of one of the companies, YCom in Collecchio Parma (future meetings are also going to be held at facilities of member companies in order to stimulate practical ways to synergise activities) and represented a sought-after follow-up to a conference that was held in Rome last April in which opportunities and methods of business development for the Italian Motorsport ecosystem were outlined and debated (see article Il Motorsport Italiano Fa Sistema for an overview of that meeting). 

The network is now rapidly proceeding to structure itself while aiming directly to fulfil the action items agenda agreed upon. Activities are being implemented to stimulate deeper knowledge among the companies part of the network in order to facilitate synergies targeting international growth opportunities. 

Self-knowledge to fully leverage on the own assets, focus on developing far reaching synergies and determination for practical concrete action, represent three key traits shared within the network. Stay tuned for updates …  

(other pictures relevant to the meeting available at this link)

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Le Mans 24 Hours Innovation Edge

In business terms innovation has become a buzzword; it seems that everything needs to be innovative in order to succeed generating sustainability and growth: products, services, overall business models. In reality sustainability and growth are not simply linked to a commonly shared concept of innovation (innovation means to be creative, to think and act in original ways), rather innovation that generates results is more complex in its foundations (innovations has its roots in applying original thinking that actually achieve desired results: ineffective original thinking is simply creative, not innovative). Any company that truly thrives on innovation understands and applies this consideration as a matter of fact.

Recently I  have had the opportunity to spend some intense hours in the unique setting of the Le Mans 24 hours as a fascinated enthusiastic spectator from the grandstands as well as from the pits and paddock. It is the pits and paddock perspective that has made me associate Le Mans’ overall context to a continuous search for the actual innovation described above.

It is a given that technological innovation, developed within regulations boundaries, determines a key competitive advantage mostly within a race characterised by the integrated focus on extreme performance and extensive endurance. It is not a given to realise that such sophisticated technology totally depends on the human factor’s synergised actions in order to achieve concrete and consistent results (and the human factor comprises everyone: management, engineers, drivers, mechanics, support staff).

In these terms the 24 Hours of Le Mans exemplifies at best the innovation edge represented by Motorsport because of its unique characteristics and complexities. In fact, innovation is not simply a matter of research and development, it is also a matter of finding original practical solutions to make them work and manage emerging challenges. Action within Le Mans pits effectively represents these concepts and certainly some of the extemporaneous solutions that arise from the unique mix of technology and human factor find further refinement and elaboration after the race and become sources of further research and innovation. All in all this can concretely generate an innovation mindset widespread within the racing team and the overall Motorsport organisation.

Three key factors

From this perspective, Le Mans 24 hours’ innovation edge inspires some observations that can be quite useful for any organisation that concretely and consistently wants to grow leveraging on pragmatic innovation. Three key factor surface in a distinct way: a) the need for total synergic organisational interdependence ; b) the need for structure in order to be fast and dynamic towards the achievement of the set goal ; c) the realisation that any detail, no matter how trivial, counts and it can make the difference towards the affirmation of innovative practices.

Synergic interdependence means that effective innovation depends upon the professional integrated effort of any single role (drivers, management, engineers, crew members; everyone has a direct essential influence on manifesting actual innovation). Organisational charts with defined roles and responsibilities are on evident display in Le Mans’ pits where effective action and effective solutions require no hesitation and cannot afford effort overlaps. It all hinges on a consistent overall focus on any detail: an original solution will remain at the creative level until all details involved into it line-up towards an actual effective result turning creativity into actual innovation.

To understand what actual innovation is, and the actual complexities it involves, an inside look to the 24 Hours of Le Mans can represent a source of pragmatic inspiration to any company in any field.

(by Riccardo Paterni, article already published on June 25th 2018 in

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Visiting AutoChina 2018 in Beijing

Riccardo Paterni has attended the opening day (April 25th) of the AutoChina 2018 auto show in Beijing. The sector is more dynamic than ever in China: set to have one of the global leadership position not only in operational but also technological ways necessary to ensure product efficiency, performance, reliability and overall appreciation within an Electric Vehicles framework that is booming. Innovation is a key focus from multiple perspectives that will be featured in the book.

(AutoChina 2018 blog)

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During the last few months electric motorsport has made several headlines: announcements of new series (among others several, and the number keeps rising: support series to the MotoGP, GT series, Global RallyCross Challenge); technical and commercial upgrades of present ones (see Formula E); new record seeking challenges in classic racing venues (see for example the VW prototype and the Pikes Peak hillclimb).

Formula E in Rome (Credits CNN International)

We have come to associate electric motorsport to something innovative and futuristic; in actuality it is thanks to electric power that performance has begun to be associated with the emerging newly born filed of automotive at the end of the 1800s.

On December 18th 1898 the French Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat was the first protagonist of an officially recorded land speed record with an electric car made by stagecoach-maker Jeantaud; top speed reached 63,15kmh. Over the next few months a head to head duel among the Count and a the Belgian Camille Jenatzy (nicknamed ‘Diable Rouge’ – Red Devil – for his beard) was unfolded. On April 29th 1899 the ‘Red Devil’ set the new official land speed record by riding an electric powered CITA 25 ‘Jamais Contente’ – Never Satisfied – for the first time over 100kmh, exactly 105,88kmh. Yet battery charges represented the limiting factor and this became the last successful attempt to improve the record with an electric engine. During the next few years new technologies replaced electric power as a source of speed: steam (beginning in 1902, last record marked in 1906) and then internal combustion (beginning in 1902 onwards) engines took over the record making competition, the automotive market and altogether the progressively increasing number of motorsport events.

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, new battery technologies have stimulated further research into electric power related to mobility and this has generated progressive investments into the field. Once again this has come to involve record seeking motorsport events to showcase the resurgent relevance of electric power (last year the NIO EP9 has conquered the overall best lap record at the legendary challenging Nurburgring track and has held the top spot for a couple of months).

Electric vehicles are becoming so relevant (due also to important stands taken by several governments) that nearly all of the key global automotive manufacturers are making substantial investments driven by the need to boost electric energy efficiency in mobility while leveraging upon the levels of performance that electric power can generate.

In a way we are going back to the relentless times of the ‘Red Devil’ and its ‘Never Satisfied’ electric powered land speed record car: we are living through an intense momentum of motorsport evolution and revolution from a technology, entertainment and also overall commercial point of view in which the ties of motorsport and mobility appear to be more relevant than ever.

To note that several Italian small to mid sized companies have unique know-how and experiences that are contributing in important ways to the development of relevant electric motorsport projects.

We will talk also about this during a conference that is going to be held in Rome on April 13th 2018 regarding the overall growth and development of companies involved in any motorsport format. At this link the introduction and flyer of the event illustrating its purposes and contents

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As second part to the article (the previous is at this link) there are three aspects to point out: 1) the global dynamics context opportunities related to SMEs rooted in Motorsport, 2) along this way of thinking several direct links that the Motorsport Industry has with principles and practices of current and future manufacturing (Industry 4.0) and 3) tools that SMEs can utilise in order to maximise at best the expression and profitable utilisation of know-how developed and in development.


McLaren Headquarters

Motorsport has historically been a sport and an industry driven at the national and only occasionally international level. Over the last few decades, along with many other sports and industries, motorsport , both as a sport and as an industry has felt the effects of globalisation.

Formula 1 has led the way, with races being held on an increasingly global playing field over the last few decades. The industry has followed suit, where once it was beholden to Italy’s Emilia Romagna, focus changed to UK’s Motorsport Valley, and in the new millennia, an increasing globalisation of the motorsport supply chain across Europe into Asia and the Americas.

Alongside globalisation has come industry diversification. Where once firms focused purely on the motorsport market, the realisation that the skills and competences inherent in motorsport have intrinsic value elsewhere, has led to motorsport firms entering new sectors as diverse as medical, aviation and defence.


As a more articulated example on how the Motorsport Industry can relate to other fields in a dynamic and profound way we look at one of the latest key developments in manufacturing.

This is represented by an overall productive system coined as ‘Industry 4.0 ”that can be defined as “the next phase in the digitization of the manufacturing sector, driven by four disruptions: the astonishing rise in data volumes, computational power, and connectivity, especially new low-power wide-area networks; the emergence of analytics and business-intelligence capabilities; new forms of human-machine interaction such as touch interfaces and augmented-reality systems; and improvements in transferring digital instructions to the physical world, such as advanced robotics and 3-D printing” (*).

Those aspects that characterise Industry 4.0 have been part and are active part of the Motorsport ways to work from a technological and human perspective; more in details:

Big data – high level motorsport one of the most intense environments for data capture. Military grade sensors capture every variable of a cars performance and feed it back across continents to team HQ’s where advanced analytics are undertaken in real time

Advanced analytics – undertaken in real time in a continuous feedback loop to improve the performance of the vehicle while in a real time race situation.

Human machine interfaces – the development of autonomous vehicles requiring a certain level of human oversight in specific circumstances is an area where motorsport firms TRL 4-7 (Technology Readiness Levels – see following paragraphs for additional information) capability can enable prototyping, and their long experience of one of the most extreme human/machine interacts offers opportunities for this technology to develop in an extreme environment – on the track.

Digital to physical transfer – F1 teams have been using 3D printers for a decade on site at races and off site at factories. High level motorsport is renowned for its rapid prototyping, this shortening production time, and the increased use of digital to physical plays into the existing skills set of high level motorsport.


Given this contextual, strategic and operational framework there are a series of technical managerial aspects a Motorsport Industry SME company needs to fine tue in order to utilise at best the opportunities that it can tackle:

  1. Define the identity of the company, in other words: a) define the vision (the why it exists), the long term scope, the purpose of the enterprise (and we have seen as almost by default many companies in this industry can broaden the scope even within a strong focus on specific outputs); b) define the mission (the what it does), relevant to the vision and last but not least c) define the values (the how), the behavioural principles feeding mission and vision.
  2. Gain awareness and relate the very own operations (from a strategic point of view) to the TRL (Technology Readiness Level); a measure developed by NASA suitable to identify the stages of development of an innovative product (for a practical case-studies illustration please look at the presentation that we made at a conference at London’s Regent’s University on the topic: MOTORSPORT INDUSTRY: DRIVING INNOVATION AND INDUSTRY DIVERSIFICATION
  3. Utilised some analysis tools (as for example SWOT, PESTLE, Porter’s 5 Forces analysis and Business Canvas) we specifically modified to the Motorsport Industry characteristics in order to shape up relevant Business Models concerning what is current and new scenarios relevant to the foreseen business development.

Overall this will empower the company to gain a new perspective on the own capabilities given on know-how already present and know-how that could be readily developed given the very own characteristics of these SMEs from a technological and cultural point of view (again see the presentation and case studies above mentioned).

article written with Tim Angus

Technical references and tools

(*) “Manufacturing Next Act” by Baur and Wee McKinsey and Company June 2015



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