Continuing the series of interviews with our senior management, we caught up with Team Principal Michel Nandan. He talks about growing up in Monte-Carlo, the early days of our team and the pride of winning rallies.
Michel, tell us about your early days with the team…
I actually arrived here before Hyundai Motorsport had even come into existence. It was President Choi who contacted me and we discussed what the objectives of the project would be. For me, it was a very attractive and interesting proposition and it was clear that Hyundai had a strong, ambitious plan. To have the opportunity to start with a clean slate and build up a team from nothing is extremely rare. So I was enthusiastic to come on board.
How would you describe the DNA of Hyundai Motorsport?
For me, Hyundai Motorsport is all about incredible teamwork. We have a very diverse workforce, yet despite our different backgrounds, we all strive towards the same goals. We work together here to not only do the best for our departments, but to push for victory in rallies.
As the Team Principal, what are you responsible for?
The most important duty for a Team Principal is to mould together a cohesive and efficient team that can unite towards our main goal – winning. To do this, it is essential that I ensure every member of staff, from every department, works together towards achieving this aim.
What do you enjoy doing during your free time?
Since I started at Hyundai, there seems to be less and less free time for me! But I am a big fan of motorbikes, both riding them and collecting them. I especially like older ones, such as, from the 70s and 80s. They are amazing machines and are full of character.
From where did your great enthusiasm for motorsport originate?
Growing up in Monte Carlo, I was exposed to the world of motorsport from a very young age. There were always motorsport activities going on, like the Grand Prix and of course, the rallies. In addition, I was always interested in mechanical things and so I knew from quite early on that I wanted to work within the motorsport industry.
Rallying is full of special moments. Are there any particular moments that make you most proud?
Whenever we reach any sort of target is a very proud moment for me. In the first year, it was simply assembling the car in time to get it to the start line at the Rallye Monte Carlo. We employ people, we equip a fully-functioning factory and every year we develop new cars. All of this makes me proud. I’m also proud when I think of the fact that we have brought together a great number of people from different countries, cultures and areas of motorsport to focus here on one goal – winning rallies.