The DSC Editor caught up with Lamborghini factory GT driver Mirko Bortolotti in the wake of his win alongside Rik Breukers, Rolf Ineichen and Franck Perera in the GTD class of the 2018 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in a Grasser Racing Huracan GT3.
Bortolotti’s pathway to GT factory driver status came via a number of near misses with F1, a successful test with Ferrari in 2008 (above), a spell on the Red Bull Young Driver programme including test driver duties with Toro Rosso in 2009 and an appearance the the 2011 Young Drivers test at Abu Dhabi with Williams, a year in which he took the FIA F2 title (below).
Thereafter though he was one of those supremely talented drivers that oh so easily could have been lost to the sport before being picked up as one of the initial test and development team for the Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
And he’s been a part of the factory effort ever since, taking race wins in Italian GT, ADAC GT Masters and Blancpain Sprint and Endurance races (taking the Championship in the Endurance Series last season.
Without a doubt though the highlight thus far was the Daytona win though, which was Lamborghini’s first in a 24-hour race and a timely result as the Italian concern looks to their future racing strategy, Bortolotti’s already secure position in their plans now looking rock solid.
What will this mean to everyone at Lamborghini?
“It means everything, one of the biggest results available to the car. I was part of it right from the beginning with the development of this car and have enjoyed it hugely.
“It was clear that we had to learn, to go through a long process of learning to get any experience and results, not just on track but especially off track looking on race preparation, strategy, all the things that make the difference between a racing effort, a good effort, and a winning effort, how a successful race team needs to behave to deliver when it matters.
“We made huge steps and that’s what I am most proud of.
We made huge steps and that’s what I am most proud of
“We can, and we should, celebrate the big race wins but we should also remember and celebrate the work done behind the scenes to get us here with the opportunity to compete and to win.”
What does this mean to you and your career?
“It means a lot. My career started looking towards Formula One, I had a chance to test for three F1 teams and have been part of two F1 Young Driver schemes going through a lot of testing. Winning in single seaters and then having to reinvent my career and being lucky enough to find such a great home with Lamborghini as a factory driver for them with such a great car and a great brand.
“There have been many races and many titles that I am really proud of but to win a race like this and bring the success and the headlines to those that have shown so much trust in me and my abilities, that is a great feeling.”
Whilst a step up to GTE does not look imminent for Lamborghini, Bortolotti looks set to stay on board for as long as to takes to either bring new big race results, or take the step up along with them!