Fly me to the Moon
By Milena Radoman
Pour écrire ce nouveau chapitre de sa vie professionnelle, Gildo Pastor a consulté Thomas Pesquet.
Défis pour FLEX : supporter des températures entre -90°C et -230°C, résister aux radiations ou opérer deux semaines dans l’obscurité du pôle Sud de la Lune.
Venturi CEO Gildo Pastor is determined to raise “the Monegasque flag ever higher”. His electric rover FLEX will go into space in 2026 with the help of Elon Musk’s company SpaceX.
Gildo Pastor was barely two years old when Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon on 20 July. However, the little boy, who had been introduced to the subject by his grandfather, soon developed a real fascination for space conquest. As can be seen from the current décor in his flat, peppered with references to the Moon.
The intrepid career of this Monegasque entrepreneur, who belongs to one of the most powerful families on the Rock, shows his taste for adventure. A racing driver aged 18, notably in the Porsche Supercup and Paris-Dakar, he soon decided to tackle the world ice speed record. He beat it in 1995, with a top speed of 296km/h! Gildo Pastor flies solo, breaking away from the family real-estate tradition. After working as a business angel for ten years, he bought Venturi in 2000, intending to develop a 100% electric engine for the brand. He enlisted the help of Ayrton Senna’s former engineer, Gérard Ducarouge, before launching expeditions such as “Shanghai to Paris” to evaluate his vehicles and setting world speed records on 2 and 4 wheels… “If you look at Venturi’s history, exploration has always been in our DNA,” laughs Gildo Pastor, who has also ventured into Formula E.
“We have built up expertise one project at a time, which now puts us in a position to move into the
FLEX, the rover that will go to the Moon in 2026 Gildo Pastor is now on the verge of realising his ultimate dream: sending one of his creations into space.
He talked about it with Venturi’s designer, Sacha Lakic, and then Dr Antonio Delfino, who oversaw research at Michelin at the time.
In 2019, the latter, now at the helm of Venturi Lab in Switzerland, gave him a tour of SpaceX and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“At the same time, Nasa was drawing up the Artemis programme; a call for tenders was going out, and we had to seize the opportunity.”
Then everything accelerated.
The FLEX (Flexible Logistics and Exploration) rover prototype took shape in three years. A recent agreement signed with Elon Musk’s Space X means it will become “the largest and most powerful rover ever sent to the Moon”, transported in 2026 in a Starship launcher. Venturi also hopes to be chosen by Nasa for the Artemis mission. “The aim is to build structures on the Moon, inside which it will be possible to build launch vehicles for Mars.”
After setting a string of world records – including 549km/h in an electric vehicle – this adventurer could soon add a speed record on the Moon to his list of achievements. “Without a doubt, we will break the record, but that’s anecdotal. What’s important for us is that Flex is versatile. It must – and will – offer a variety of possibilities, such as conducting scientific experiments, enabling astronauts to travel, or performing handling operations.”
Although the conquest of Mars
remains in the back of his mind, Gildo Pastor’s main aim is to “help Monaco raise its profile in the world”. This father of two is also planning succession for this programme in the long term: “My children will be in charge one day…”