For the 2018 season, the Motorsport department of Automobili Lamborghini has reconfirmed the 6 factory drivers and signed a long-term contract extension with Mirko Bortolotti, Andrea Caldarelli and Christian Engelhart. Additionally, Marco Mapelli and Giovanni Venturini have also been reconfirmed and Raffaele Giammaria has been included as a tester and youth program coordinator.
“We have reconfirmed the same line-up as 2017 – comments Giorgio Sanna, Head of Motorsport at Automobili Lamborghini – because we believe that our six Factory Drivers are the best that the international scene of GT competitions can offer. The sporting results speak for themselves: in 2017, the Grasser Racing Team won three titles in the prestigious Blancpain GT series, thanks to Bortolotti, Caldarelli and Engelhart; Giovanni Venturini won the International GT Open championship with Imperiale Racing; Marco Mapelli, besides his excellent racing results, is contributing to the development of Lamborghini road and racing cars; Raffaele Giammaria, thanks to his proven experience, will help us in the development of racing cars for customers and is the ideal guide for our training programs aimed at young drivers.”
The Lamborghini Squadra Corse Factory Drivers represent the pinnacle of driver programs within the Motorsport Department of Sant’Agata Bolognese. Additionally, there are the young talents taking part in the training programs of Lamborghini Squadra Corse (Young Drivers Program and GT3 Junior Program). Based on their sporting results, some of them will be supported also this year to compete in the main GT championships worldwide.
Here are the detailed profiles of the Lamborghini Squadra Corse Factory Drivers and their 2018 activities.
Mirko Bortolotti – (Trento, Italy, age 28) – 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 1 test driver. He joined the Lamborghini family in 2014, when he started racing in the Super Trofeo one-make series and took part in the Young Driver Program of Lamborghini Squadra Corse. Bortolotti has been a Lamborghini Factory Driver since 2015. He is the defending champion of the Blancpain GT Series and winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona 2018; this year he will defend the title in the championship promoted by SRO (co-drivers: Caldarelli and Engelhart in the Endurance Cup, Engelhart in the Sprint Cup) and will participate in the ADAC GT Masters with Andrea Caldarelli as a co-driver. He will race in all championships with the Huracán GT3 of Orange 1 Team GRT.
Andrea Caldarelli – (Pescara, Italy, age 28) –He has been a Lamborghini Factory Driver since 2017 and won the Blancpain GT Series with Bortolotti and Engelhart. He is another great Italian talent, with extensive experience both in single-seaters and GT racing cars. During his career, Andrea has alternated single-seaters (F3, GP3, GP2, SuperFormula, F1 test driver) and GT competitions (2014 and 2016 vice-champion of the Super GT 500 championship in Japan). During the 2018 season, he will again be part of the winning trio in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with Bortolotti and Engelhart; in addition, he will also participate in the Sprint Cup with Perez Companc and in the ADAC GT Masters with Mirko Bortolotti.
Christian Engelhart – (Ingolstadt, Germany, age 31) – Besides being a vehicle and engine technology engineer, Christian Engelhart significantly contributed to the victory of the Huracán GT3 # 63 of the Grasser Racing Team in the Blancpain GT Series. This year, he will defend the titles won in the series and will participate again in the ADAC GT Masters with Rolf Ineichen. Before joining the Lamborghini family, Engelhart distinguished himself in other German GT categories and in various endurance races.
Raffaele Giammaria – (Rome, Italy, age 40). Since he joined the Lamborghini Squadra Corse family in 2017, Giammaria has been playing a dual role: he has been racing as a Factory Driver in GT competitions (e.g. in in the International GT Open with the Huracán GT3 of Imperiale Racing) and a supervisor of the youth programs of Lamborghini Squadra Corse. Besides being an experienced driver, he is also the Director of the ACI Sport Federal School and has built his career first in single-seaters then in covered wheels in the main GT championships: Blancpain GT Series, IMSA, FIA GT, European Le Mans Series and FIA WEC.
Marco Mapelli – (Lecco, Italy, age 30) – This driver set for Lamborghini the most recent records at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, first with the Aventador SV then with the Huracán Performante. Marco Mapelli has a great experience both as a test and GT driver. He has been a Lamborghini Factory Driver since 2017 and in 2018, he will face two challenges in a strategic region like Asia: he will take part both in the Blancpain GT Asia Series with the Huracán GT3 of FFF Racing and in the Super GT championship in Japan (in the GT 300 category) with the Huracán GT3 of JLOC. With this latter car, Mapelli will also participate in the famous 10 Hours of Suzuka with Andrea Caldarelli as a co-driver.
Giovanni Venturini – (Vicenza, Italy, age 27) – 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. Since the following year, he has been taking part with the Huracán GT3 in the Blancpain GT Series and in the Italian GT Championship. In 2017, he won the International GT Open title, which he will also defend this year with the team Imperiale Racing.
The Factory Drivers represent the top of the pyramid around which Lamborghini Squadra Corse builds its strategy aimed at training and supporting new Motorsport talents. The names of the new members of the Young Driver Program (for youngsters under 26 years of age competing in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo one-make series) and of the GT3 Junior Program (for drivers taking part in GT championships with the Huracán GT3) will soon be announced.
Regarding the members of the Lamborghini youngster programs, the talents who have excelled in the 2017 season will be supported by Lamborghini Squadra Corse through customer teams to compete in the most prestigious international GT championships.
“We are proud of our young drivers – says Giorgio Sanna, Head of Motorsport at Automobili Lamborghini – and in the past season, many of them obtained excellent results both in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo one-make series and in GT3 championships. For this reason, considering the over 40 Lamborghini Huracán GT3s competing in the main championships worldwide and thanks to the most successful teams in this category, we, at Lamborghini Squadra Corse, are able to support our most deserving young drivers and make them progress in their careers towards professionalism. In addition, we also give them the opportunity to work as Accademia instructors so that they can experience the Lamborghini world completely.”
Here are the details of the members of the Lamborghini Young Driver Program and GT3 Junior Program and their respective 2018 sports programs:
Dennis Lind (winner of the GT3 Junior Program 2017) and Martin Kodric will participate in the Blancpain GT Asia Series with FFF Racing Team by ACM.
Riccardo Agostini (World and North American champion of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo 2017), Jeroen Mul, Rik Breukers (champion of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Middle East 2017) and Liang Jiatong will take part in the International GT Open with Imperiale Racing.
Michele Beretta (Italian Super GT3 champion) will participate in the ADAC GT Masters with the Rosberg team.
Patrick Kujala (World and European champion of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo 2015) will participate in the British GT Championship with Barwell Motorsport.
Fabrizio Crestani (2016 champion of the International GT Open) will take part in the Silver Cup of the Blancpain GT Series with the Lazarus team.
Alex Frassineti (Italian Super GT3 champion) will participate in the Blancpain GT Series Silve Cup with Ombra Racing team.
Loris Spinelli (European champion of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo 2017), Daniel Zampieri and Lorenzo Veglia will participate in the Italian GT Championship with Antonelli Motorsport.
Madison Snow will continue to compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with the Paul Miller Racing team.
Source. Lamborghini/Photo. John Patterson