Mirko Bortolotti is confident Grasser Racing Team can contend for GT Daytona class honors in this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, as the reigning Blancpain GT Series champion looks to continue his winning ways in 2018.
The Lamborghini factory driver, who combined for both the Endurance Cup and overall Blancpain GT title last year, returns to Daytona seeking the Italian manufacturer’s elusive first major 24-hour win with the Huracan GT3.
“It’s a big race,” Bortolotti told Sportscar365. “It’s one of those races that everyone wants to win and it’s the same for us.
“We will try to go for it as much as we can and do our work as good as we can in order to be up there and fight for the win at the end.
“At Spa , we were running strong, and we got unlucky. I think it’s part of the game. We are definitely on a good point not just with the car but also with the team.
“It’s hard to say what’s going to come up because there are so many factors, with traffic and strategy and everything. Everyone has to be at his personal best on the day, and if we manage to do so, I think we can have a shot.”
Bortolotti is no stranger to busy programs and January has been no different with the 28-year-old competing at both Daytona and the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai.
This has resulted in him travelling straight to Dubai from the Roar Before the 24 and then heading back to Daytona for his second 24-hour race just two weeks after the Dubai event where he finished third after securing pole position.
“Competing more or less every weekend at the highest level is something that helps you to improve and grow on several factors that you need, and I think that’s important,” he said.
“It’s good to start the year so early and to have a short winter break. That’s positive and it keeps everybody on high revs and gives us the chance to be ready for the immediate future.
While he admits the Dubai race is worlds apart from the Rolex 24, Bortolotti says getting as much track time as possible is vital at this stage in the season and that Dubai is “good preparation” for Daytona.
The Italian along with GRT co-drivers Rolf Ineichen, Rik Breukers and Christian Engelhart, from the team’s second Lamborghini Daytona entry, all took part in the Dubai race.
“It’s positive,” Bortolotti said. “It’s a completely different environment, a completely different tire. You cannot really compare the two races but it’s good to be in the car as much as possible, especially for a 24-hour race.
“It’s not only the race itself but also the management of all the things around it with driver changes, strategy and stints and everything.
“Getting into the 24-hour rhythm before coming to Daytona is definitely good.”
Bortolotti Pleased with Prime Garage Position
If GTD class victory is his target for Daytona, Bortolotti is already in a good position to challenge for the win, having locked up the prime pit box in Roar Qualifying.
It mean the two-car GRT squad will be located in the more desirable pit-in location, with the Austrian squad also getting use of Daytona’s newer garage stalls.
“We’ve got a good garage spot for the race,” Bortolitti said. “Let’s see what kind of benefit we have out of it because obviously the race is in [one] weeks’ time so we’ve got a lot of work in front of us.
“Hopefully we can keep this up and go for a strong result.”
John Dagys contributed to this report