The Coloni Motorsport team was today celebrating three decades in motor racing, a period that has seen it race in F1 and claim the chequered flag in virtually every other European championship over the years, through to this year's GP2 and Auto GP series.
Enzo Coloni was at the wheel of the team's first Italian F3 Championship race car when it was launched on January 18 1982, and he went on to claim the drivers title that year before handing over the driving duties to the likes of Ivan Capelli, Alessandro Santin and Nicola Larini with similar success - and that was just the start.
"On a day like this you inevitably end up thinking of what you achieved in 30 years, and frankly I'm really satisfied," said the family patriarch, Enzo Coloni himself. "I'm satisfied for all that we did in our long history. We were a racing team, a constructor, a championship organizer, and we were successful in each one of those fields."
"I can see a continuity for the company in my family, thanks to my son Paolo and my daughter Fidalma that are managing the team brilliantly," Enzo continued. "I involved them in the team management early because I wanted them to learn, and I'm proud to see that they did it in the best possible way."
"How many emotions today!" said Paolo Coloni, the current team manager. "Passing this thirty years surrounded and supported by my family, my father, my sister and my uncle was amazing, and made this whole life experience unique."
The Coloni team fielded entries in F1 itself for five seasons from 1987 and was behind the F1 débuts of Larini, Roberto Moreno and Gabriele Tarquini - who finished in eighth place in the 1988 Canadian Grand Prix. As well as its own time in F1 as a constructor, Coloni as a team has also been a launching pad for F1 stars of the future such as Bertrand Gachot, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Giorgio Pantano and Gianmaria Bruni.
After they withdrew from F1, the Coloni team went on to participate in F3000, Superleague Formula, Euroseries 3000 and Formula BMW, before joining the GP2 championship in its first year in 2005 which has since seen them join forces with drivers including Gianmaria Bruni, Adam Carroll, Luiz Razia and Luca Filippi.
"We were the only team in our country to always have a special eye for Italian drivers, who were always our priority," pointed out Enzo Coloni. "We helped them to shine and grow, and that makes me proud as much as our wins."
The 2011 GP2 season started with Italy's Davide Rigon at the wheel of the #19 car, but he was injured in Turkey and had to be replaced for the remainder of the season by compatriots Kevin Ceccon and then Luca Filippi, who went on to claim three wins for the team. This year the team will be fielding an all-Italian GP2 line-up consisting of Fabio Onidi and Stefano Coletti (born in Monaco to Italian parents.)