A young Mexican businessman called Fernando Gonzalez Luna had the vision to establish an all Mexican Formula One team, owned by Mexicans and employee local drivers. Similar to the 1974 Brazilian Copersucar team, founded by Wilson and F1 Champion Emerson Fittipalidi and the earlier North American Racing Team. The last founded in ’58 by the Italo-American businessman and driver Luigi Chinetti and the main goal to promote the Ferrari brand inside the USA.
At the end of ’89, Gonzalez founded Gonzalez Luna Associates (GLAS) and began to search for local sponsors and investors. This beginning of the project went well, so the second step was to find an adequate engine. Thanks to his good connections and persuading skills, he could convince the Italian Lamborghini Engineering, at that time part of the Chrysler group, as potential provider; not just for the motor, but also to develop and produce the chassis. To do so, GLAS promised to invest 20 Million USD.
Out of nothing, in June 1990 Gonzalez disappeared into the nothing, without any trace and still today is searched by international police. Without him the money flow dried up. But instead of giving up, the employees of GLAS Formula 1 believed in the project and could establish an alternative financing plan and keep Lamborghini on board, the name changed to “Modena Team Spa”, also known as “Lambo” due to their close relation with their main supplier and now mother company. Lamborghini had been highly interested to enter Formula 1 and for this former Ferrari lead engineer Mauro Forghieri (responsible for the successful 312) received the task to develop a competitive V12-engine. Further he was responsible to organize the Modena Team as independent department from Lamborghini, which had to find its own financial sources.
Against all obstacles the team reached its goal and started in the 1991 F1 season with later Ferrari and Alfa Romeo driver Nicola Larini and his Belgian colleague Eric van de Poele. Race success had been limited, as expected for a small and new team; for most of the races the cars not even qualified. The best result stayed their first race, Larini’s 7th position at the US Grand Prix. For a second year it was not possible anymore for the team to win new sponsors, so that the end of the season meant also the end of the Modena Team. The employees left to new teams and companies, as Nicola Larina joined Alfa Romeo to win the 92’ Italian Touring Car Championship and the next year the German one. Mauro Forghieri stayed in the Modena region to join Bugatti Automobili S.p.A. and become their technical director. Their car, the 603hp EB110 of course also featured a V12-engine. The most famous client had been Michael Schumacher, who owned his yellow EB110 from 1994 to 2003.
- Curvas Enlazadas (2012): “Cuando Lamborghini estuve en la Formula Uno”
- Henz, Patrick (2016): “Business Philosophy according to Enzo Ferrari”
- Saward, Joe (1999): “Stranger than fiction: Strange Formula One team owners”