Car engineer Pablo Iturralde: Constructing the future

Pablo Iturralde moved to Russia from sunny Ecuador to build his dream car. Not the most obvious choice, you might think, since Russia is not known for its car industry. But our hero is not one to have doubts.

Pablo’s dream of building a car goes back to childhood: “It wasn’t even a passion. It’s like when you can’t even breathe when you see a nice car.”

After school, he began working for a company that assembled Lada Nivas, a Russian off-roader in Ecuador. The first Russian he met was constantly telling him, “What are you messing around here for? Go and study in Russia.”Pablo made inquiries at the embassy, took a test and got the chance to go to Russia.

After studying at the Moscow Polytechnic University (MAMI) in Moscow, he returned to Ecuador for two years, as provided for by his exchange program with the backing of the Russian embassy. There he built a car in a year, which he used in a number of races and very successfully at that ... until the first serious accident.

“I got scared. I realized I should either get a good team that won’t make stupid mistakes, or quit. I didn’t want my daughter to lose her father because of my own stupidity.” Pablo decided that building a car wasn’t enough; he had to put together a top team that would inspire confidence in him.

So he returned to Russia. While in Ecuador, he’d kept an interest in all the projects put on hold during his two years away.

Today he is Dean of the Transport Faculty at Moscow Polytechnic University. His near-term goal is to assemble a team of young engineers with the same obsessive dream of building the perfect vehicle, able to compete in Le Mans (a 24-hour endurance race held annually in France near the town of Le Mans). To take part in the race, he needs a team of 15 people, seven of which he’s already found.

The car has to be assembled in Russia, of course. Some buy up technologies and team members, but that’s not interesting. For Pablo, everything should be built manually. He says that no other student racing team makes so many of its own parts in-house. They produce 80 percent at the university.

“Russia is my motherland! Maybe someone will listen and give me a passport,” jokes Pablo.

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