JamesEdition spoke with the former racing driver Enea Casoni, who is now making cars with the atmosphere of Le Mans 1972 and performance of contemporary supercars.
Enea Casoni is the third generation race car driver who created his own car brand, E.C. OnlyOne. His cars are manually assembled inside the ‘golden triangle’ of Italian automotive sport – Modena, Forli and the Futa Pass. Close by is the palazzo that has been in the Casoni family since the 16th century, where rare car aficionados gather every year.
“Our goal is to recuperate the art of driving in the era of speed democracy,” says Enea at the start of our conversation.
— Enea, what do you mean when you say ‘speed democracy’?
— Today drivers have everything they need to just get behind the wheel and get the best result. You don’t really need any skills. A manual six-gearbox, racing steel breaks, a naturally aspirated engine; the ABS and the Traction Control with two knobs of twelve positions each, that allows to choose, as in race, the combination that better suits the driver. All these features do it all for you.
They even install PlayStation gadgets in cars to let everybody cruise decently, where as I remove all the unnecessary details.
— You said that an E.C. OnlyOne P8 prototype doesn’t have any sophisticated electronics, or splitters and wings we are used to seeing on track cars.
— But even without splitters and wings we achieve a significant ground effect.
— How does it change the driver’s sensation of being behind the wheel?
— The performance of my car is strictly related to the mechanical sensitivity of the driver and eventually expresses precisely the driver real level of speed. Even the shape of the driver’s seat is different to that of a passenger’s seat.
For this reason, I highly suggest to all buyers to spend a day with us in the Italian road circuit Futa and Mugello Stradale to better understand the entire potential of the prototype.
I’d say that for a driver this car is like going back to the 1960s or 1970s, when races were associated with the art of driving.
— Where does this commitment to history come from?
— My grandfather was a racing driver since 1930, took part in the 1000 Miglia. My father, Mario Casoni, had a racing career in the Porsche, Ferrari and Abarth works team. He drove amongst many other cars such as the glorious Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512. My first 24 Hours of Le Mans was in 1972 when my father started third overall in the grid and I do remember very well the atmosphere of those days.
And I have been a racing driver as well.
All the technicians in my garage are at least the second generation in Motor Sport.
— I’m sorry but this looks like a type of racing snobbery.
— I’d say it’s the only way of recreating the flavor of the 1970s Mondiale Marche. To recreate the intensity, the thrill, the commitment, the noise.
— I know that one of the top YouTube influencers @Shmee 150 (aka Tim Burton) saw E.C. OnlyOne P8 at a rally and was quite impressed by it…
— Yes, it happened a few months ago during the Gumball 3000. Tim was impressed the most by that honest, recognizable sound. He kept repeating, “What a car!” It’s nice when people share your values. Especially since I created P8 for myself.
— What was the most important thing for you when you were creating the P8 prototype?
— I must have driven hundreds of supercars and sports cars, but I never managed to find a car that suited me perfectly. I had to make it myself. P8 is a classic sports car with the atmosphere of the 60’ and the 70’ of international Motor Sport but with performances and technological levels as well as a contemporary supercar.
— Are there other cars in the series?
— As you already know, we are not about serial production. Each car is assembled by hand individually for its future owner and driver. Today we are creating custom made cars based on the race-tested P8 model, as well as two concept cars, the EC 8 and EC 12. Each car will goes through a full homologation and road legal registration, and has a plate number.
— Where are these cars manufactured?
— In Italy. The company has its roots in the temple of Italian Motor Sport: the area between Modena, Forlì and the Futa Pass, well known for its technological excellence in Automotive of supercars and hypercars.
— Why did you name your brand E.C. OnlyOne?
— The “E.C.” capital letters stand for the monogram of Enea Casoni, while the words “OnlyOne” means that each vehicle is a unique vehicle in the world. Every car born from a unique and individual project-based and focused on the needs of his owner and driver.
In a E.C. OnlyOne car every part or detail is unique and tailor-made: starting from the gearbox, to the shock absorbers/dampers, to the suspensions, to the brakes, to the wheels, to the electronics; to continue with the tailor-made interiors as seats, pedals, steering wheel and gearbox; to finish with the design of the body: all are elements that can be agreed with the customer. This is the reason why cars are only-one and… just unique!
— What do you see as the main difference between your cars and big name supercars?
— I believe, that today the main supercar companies have lost in part their identity with their transformation in enormous corporations that cover all over the world. With this growth and with the disappearance of their founders they had to make many compromises…
I would say, our cars are full of life, they are not boring they raise the thrilling values of the beginning of the Motor Sport. But all this is combined with the higher safety levels in terms of drivability, that it makes these cars usable every day on common streets.
— Is it possible to have a master class with Enea Casoni?
— Once a year I invite the E.C.OnlyOne CLUB members to spend a day in our family palazzo in Ferrara. All E.C.OnlyOne owners are automatically given club membership. We spend the whole day together, we have dinner together. And of course we drive on the Futa Pass; it’s very close by. Any guest can be my passenger. We drive the route that represents the heart and the original history of 1000Miglia and special road, where, even today, Ferrari, Mercedes and Lamborghini present and test their cars.