Factory Drivers are the top of Lamborghini Squadra Corse driver programs, the highest level of Motorsport professionalism. Their office is the cockpit of the Huracán GT3 and their tasks are varied: they represent Lamborghini as brand ambassadors on and off the track, they work as test drivers during the development of the racecars and, above all, they take part in the major GT championships around the world for the customer teams of Lamborghini Squadra Corse..
For the 2017 racing season, the Motorsport department of Automobili Lamborghini has decided to enhance its driver line-up by introducing new names and increasing to five the number of professional drivers. Four of these are Italian and this underlines the importance that Lamborghini gives to the “made in Italy”, which is part of its DNA.
Besides Mirko Bortolotti and Giovanni Venturini, who have been Lamborghini Squadra Corse Factory Drivers since 2015, Andrea Caldarelli, Marco Mapelli and Christian Engelhart have now become part of the team. During the 2017 season, the five drivers, under contract with the Motorsport department of Automobili Lamborghini, will compete in the major GT championships around the world for the customers teams racing with Huracán GT3s.
“We’re glad to welcome to our team – commented Giorgio Sanna, Head of Motorsport of Automobili Lamborghini – two new renowned drivers, like Christian and Andrea, who obtained excellent results racing with our customer teams behind the wheel of the Huracán GT3 in 2016. Talking about Marco Mapelli, his recent record on the Nürburgring Nordschleife with the new Huracán Performante consolidates his great reputation both as a test and racing driver.
We have high expectations of them – continues Sanna – as well as of Mirko and Giovanni, who have been part of the family since the creation of Lamborghini Squadra Corse. I would also like to mention Jeroen Mul, Andrea Amici and Fabrizio Crestani, thanks to their performance and attitude they will receive greater support and attention from Lamborghini Squadra Corse, despite remaining drivers of the GT3 Junior Program.”
Here are the detailed profiles of the 2017 Factory Drivers of Lamborghini Squadra Corse.
Mirko Bortolotti – (Trento, Italy, age 27) – He is one of the biggest Italian talents in Motorsport: he was born and raised on karts, then he became a Formula 2 and Formula 3 champion and was a Formula One test driver. Mirko Bortolotti joined the Lamborghini family in 2014, when he started racing in the Super Trofeo one-make series and took part in the Young Drivers Program of Lamborghini Squadra Corse. The following year, 2015, Bortolotti participated as Lamborghini factory driver in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance and Sprint Cup, in the Italian GT Championship and in the ADAC GT Masters, besides racing in two editions of the 24 Hours of Daytona of the IMSA WeatherTech Championship.
Andrea Caldarelli – (Pescara, Italy, age 27) – He is another pride among young Italian drivers, with his extensive experience both in single-seaters and GT racecars. During his career, Andrea Caldarelli has alternated single-seaters (F3, GP3, GP2, SuperFormula, Toyota Racing F1 test driver) and GT competitions. Since 2012, Caldarelli has been participating in the prestigious Super GT 500 Japanese championship (2014 and 2016 vice-champion) and this year he will take part in several European GT championships as a Lamborghini Factory Driver.
Christian Engelhart – (Ingolstadt, Germany, age 30) – Vehicle and engine technology engineer, Christian Engelhart showed his talent in the 2016 Blancpain GT Series and ADAC GT Masters championship, where he shared the cockpit of the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 with Mirko Bortolotti. Before joining the Lamborghini family, Engelhart has distinguished himself in karting, single-seaters series, several German GT categories and in various endurance races.
Marco Mapelli – (Lecco, Italy, age 29) – Besides karting, single-seaters racing and a solid career in GT competitions, Marco Mapelli has also an extensive experience as a tester, both for tire development and production cars. Author of the most recent records obtained on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, first with the Lamborghini Aventador SV and then with the brand-new Huracán Performante, Mapelli has also participated in several editions of the most famous endurance races: 24 Hours of Daytona, Nürburgring, Spa-Francorchamps and the 12 Hours of Bathurst.
Giovanni Venturini – (Vicenza, Italy, age 26) – He has been a Lamborghini Factory Driver since the debut of the Huracán GT3 in 2015. Venturini began his career in single-seaters: Formula Renault 2.0, Formula 3, AutoGP, World Series, GP3 and GP2. Then, in 2014 he moved to GT racing and participated in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo one-make series. The following year, he took part in the Blancpain GT Series and the Italian GT Championship with a Huracán GT3.
Factory Drivers represent the top of the pyramid around which Lamborghini Squadra Corse builds its strategy to train and support new motorsport talents. The names of the new members of the Young Driver Program (for youngers under the age of 26 competing in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo one-make series) and of the GT3 Junior Program (for drivers taking part in GT championships with Huracán GT3s) will soon be announced.
Source. Lamborghini/Photo. John Patterson