Though he’s yet to break 30 years old, this Trento native has enjoyed a rich motorsport history so far. In 2008, he won the Italian Formula 3 Championship, earning him a test that year with the Ferrari Formula 1 team. Considered for a Toro Rosso F1 seat for 2010, Mirko went on to dominate the Formula 2 championship in 2011 before switching his allegiance to both GT racing and Raging Bull, Lamborghini. As a former Daytona and Sebring class winner, as well as the 2017 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup champion, he remains one of GT racing’s most respected drivers.
“My name is Mirko Bortolotti”
“I am 29 years old.”
“My first ever car race was 2005 in Italy at a place called Varano de Melegari” – the circuit has since been renamed the Autodromo Riccardo Paletti in honour of the Milanese F1 driver who died at the 1982 Canadian Grand Prix – “It’s close to the Dallara factory, and I was 15 years old.”
“Whenever you’re on the top step of the podium! If I had to pick one, I would say… actually I would pick two. I would say winning the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.”*
*Both of which Mirko managed this year in the GTD classes with the GRT Grasser Racing Team.
“My favourite circuit is Brands Hatch, GP, because it’s a really technical, really fast track that allows no mistakes, and there’s no run-off that forgives you. If you make a mistake, you’re in trouble. I really like the flow of the circuit.”
“I don’t know if it’s strange, but probably it’s just me: I don’t blink in the car. I’m known for that in a different series. In fact they call me ‘the guy that doesn’t blink.’ Short and to the point!”
“Well it’s a design I’ve had from the beginning of my career. I always try to modify it slightly. I have different versions of it. For example, in America, I’m running a completely red version, because it brought me good luck in the past, so I decided to only use that in America. In Europe, I have a chrome version of that helmet, which makes it really shiny. And on the top part, it’s blue, and there’s a lot of red involved because it’s my favourite colour. Of course, the Italian flag is never missing!”
“I would say the ability to manage difficult situations and deliver when it matters.”
“Oh that’s a tough one! I would say Daniel Craig would be a good one for that, because he’s cold as ice! Also, I like the way he acts in his movies.”
“A lot, definitely! There’s always a race you want to win, there’s always a new target. For me personally, I focus on the next race, always. I race more or less every weekend, 20-25 race weekends a year, as a factory driver for Lamborghini, so I’m really happy with that. To be honest, with the number of races I do, I’m also happy to have a weekend off sometimes! But I feel very lucky that I get to do this as a job.”
“I like good food. Obviously as an Italian, I’m quite spoiled from that point of view! I like fast cars – I’m a big fan of fast cars – and I enjoy driving them on the road, if I have the possibility. I like dogs. I own a Rottweiler. Oh, and I’m a big fan of AC Milan. I have been since I was a kid.”
“It’s a cool series. I really like the atmosphere in the paddock, and obviously I know the series from the [Hankook] 24H DUBAI, which is the main race that I have the chance to do every year. It’s a really cool and tough race because there are so many cars on the track, so many categories, and the traffic plays a big role. Plus, it’s a race that becomes more and more competitive every year. I’ve been on pole twice in the last two years, so the next goal will be to win this race, finally. Hopefully we can do that next year.”
Mirko Bortolotti was speaking with Jolijn Jongenelen and James Gent. Images courtesy of Petr Frýba and Grasser Racing Team.