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Bortolotti: GRT Ready for Debut After “Smooth” Season Prep

Lamborghini factory ace Bortolotti confident of Grasser’s chances in debut DTM campaign…

Photo: DTM

Mirko Bortolotti believes Grasser Racing Team is ready for its maiden season in DTM, stating that the team has had a ‘smooth’ transition to the GT3-based sprint series.

Bortolotti is part of the Austrian squad’s four-car Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo entry with Alessio Deledda, Clemens Schmid and Rolf Ineichen as teammates.

Grasser made the notable move to end all of its involvements in other series and purely concentrate on its factory-supported effort in the DTM for the championship’s second year under GT3 regulations.

According to the Lamborghini factory driver, the team has been working towards its new program since the winter months.

“It’s been going well, we’ve had a smooth prep season so far,” Bortolotti told Sportscar365. “Obviously, the decision for the team came in the winter to make the change to DTM.

“So they are focusing fully on that, which is definitely positive.

“It’s a really competitive, high-level championship and I think it’s really crucial to put all the effort in it and be focused on the tire spec and the different regulations.

“We started with the rollout one month ago with two days in Portimao and then we went to the official test in Hockenheim. 

“Obviously we all know the car really well, it’s a car we’ve been using for quite some years. So from that side, nothing new.”

The Italian went on to state that the team has been putting a considerable amount of effort into understanding the DTM’s Michelin tires, which are different from the ones the team is used to from racing in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.

IMSA’s GTD classes use the Michelin Pilot Sport S9M slick tire compound whereas the DTM uses the French supplier’s softer S8M product.

“I think the tires were the most the biggest point to get used to,” said Bortolotti.

“Even though the team was using Michelin tires in IMSA, it’s definitely a different tire spec and a different compound.

“We’re still learning of course, but so far I’m quite happy with the work that has been done in preparation for the first event and for the DTM season in general.” 

Although Grasser Racing Team has not previously competed in DTM and is more commonly associated with success in endurance racing, Bortolotti believes it has been bolstered by experience in other sprint-based championships with Lamborghini.

“I think that the team is used to race both sprint and endurance races because we’ve done ADAC GT Masters for several years which is quite a similar format to DTM,” the Italian said.  

“Both one-hour races, the only difference that you have a driver change in between.

“Of course you don’t have the performance pitstop, which is a crucial part of the DTM as well.

“Generally, the team has proven in the past that we can be competitive in endurance and in sprint, which is important.

“If you think back, until 2019 we were doing the GT World Challenge sprint races as well, quite successfully. So I don’t see I don’t see a big drama from that side. 

“It’s a team that has been growing year after year, getting more and more solid.

“They have proven in the past that obviously, we are capable of fighting at the top and that’s of course what I expect from the team as well this year in DTM.”

Bortolotti Not Viewing Himself as Team Leader

Out of Grasser’s four drivers, Bortolotti is the only one to have raced in DTM previously with a guest appearance at T3 Motorsport during the Assen round last year.

When asked about the dynamic between him and his three teammates, he stated that he is determined to aid them but is also quick to reject the moniker of ‘team leader’.

“I’m here for my teammates, of course,” Bortolotti said.

“They know it, they know really well that they can always ask me, whatever needs they have, I always try to support them in maximum transparency.

“That’s also part of my job being a factory driver, I try to support my teammates where I can. I’ve been answering quite a few questions for my teammates over the last few days.

“Obviously we are constantly in touch and we have quite a good relationship with all of them.

“At the end of the day, I don’t like to define myself as a leader.

“For me, leadership and [being] a leader in general, is something that you do with example and with the hard work that you do every day.

“It is something that you don’t declare on a piece of paper.”

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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