Alfonso de Orleans (Racing Engineering GP2)
Alfonso de Orleans is not just your average, championship-winning GP2 race team owner. Educated in the US and England, fluent in English, Spanish and Russian and a nephew of the King of Spain, Alfonso resides in the family castle, complete with PGA golf courses and vineyards (suitably engineered to the 21st century via solar panels and internal water systems) near Jerez de la Frontera, a region in south-western Spain known not only for its sherry production but also for its F1-spec circuit. From here he also runs the efficient, tightly-knit GP2 team he calls Racing Engineering, living the racer’s life, 24/7. As he said when we met recently for SpeedTV.com, “My family connections allow me to open some doors but I still get the same ‘No’ answers as everyone else!”. Racing Engineering has also provided a stepping-stone for some very talented racers over the past few years, including double World Champion, Sebastian Vettel, and the current Lotus F1 Team Principal, Eric Boullier. “Ah,” he says, staring intently. “But there is one driver out there who impressed me just as much as Vettel. It’s very sad that he’s not in F1.” Who is this driver? Press play….