Luca Vescovi, manager of the Dallara Advanced Composite Research Center, do you remember when the idea of creating the Z-Bike was born?
«The first discussions happened almost 3 years ago. I remember that our CEO, Andrea Pontremoli, called to let me know we had a new project in the works. He was smiling, because he knew Alex Zanardi is a source of many ideas but is also very meticulous and demanding».
So Alex put you
«It was wonderful to work with Alex Zanardi. I knew him as a great racing driver. Working with him on this project allowed me to discover a person with incredible technical sensibility, essentially an engineer with the gift of pure driving talent too. This approach allowed us to meticulously consider every small detail to create the original idea of the project».
How much of the development
«It was exactly like developing a Formula 1 car. The approach we used, starting from the design itself, was the exact same approach we use when developing racing cars. We talked about the loads, the manoeuvres the athletes would have performed and tried to imagine the possible issues. Alex even mounted an accelerometer on his bike to measure the acceleration levels when in a turn».
Handbikes were a vehicle you were not familiar with. What impressed you the most during the development stage?
«When you enter a new sector, you look at what your new competitors are offering, the characteristics of the vehicles already on the market and you try to improve on them. With Alex, we wanted to really differ to what was already available. The crucial point was to find a setup that would allow athletes to perform to their maximum. This was also the biggest difference compared to the automotive sector. In racing cars, the driver has to adapt to the vehicle. With our hand bike we wanted to put the athlete at the center of the project. The bike has to adapt to the user and every development pushed towards this ideal.».
Your job is one that many dream of, but as with every job it can become a bit of a routine. Was the Z-Bike a way to escape the routine?
«Every new project is embraced with great enthusiasm from us. Especially if it comes from a champion like Alex Zanardi who captivated us with his passion, who pushed us to improve even more every day».
What legacy does this project leave for your next projects?
«It leaves us with a brand new composite material which was specially developed for this project and also leaves us with the satisfaction of having lived a one of a kind work experience. Every partner we worked with opened their doors for us and helped us without hesitation. A case of innovation opening which was truly unique and special».