Audi Sport customer racing is taking on a challenging international program with a strengthened driver squad. Two new signings will complement the Audi Sport GT driver lineup in strategic commitments and customer programs next year.
Audi’s GT driver lineup previously encompassed ten drivers. Now, the Italian Mirko Bortolotti and the Swiss Patric Niederhauser are complementing the squad. 29-year-old Bortolotti from Trento in Northern Italy is a former Formula One test driver and has won championship titles in the Italian Formula 3, the Eurocup Mégane Trophy, the Blancpain GT Series and the Blancpain GT Endurance Series. Niederhauser hails from Münsingen in the Swiss canton of Bern, is 28 years old, continued his career in single-seater racing and in LMP2 race cars after having won a championship title in the Italian Formula Abarth, has been driving GT race cars since 2015 and celebrated his biggest success this year: as the teammate of Audi Sport driver Kelvin van der Linde he won the ADAC GT Masters in an Audi R8 LMS from HCB-Rutronik Racing. “A warm welcome to both drivers. They’re a perfect complement to our team,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “Mirko has been a professional race driver for many years and for Patric this promotion is a nice reward for the title success in Germany. There’s no doubt in our minds that Mirko and Patric are a great fit for us in terms of personality and racing.”
Audi Sport continues to have its previous ten GT experts on board: Mattia Drudi (I) in his first season with Audi in 2019 showed excellent performances in the Silver Cup of the Blancpain GT Series. Rahel Frey (CH) has won six GT3 races in her career so far and served as a mentor in the Audi Sport Seyffarth R8 LMS Cup, among other things. Christopher Haase (D) and Christopher Mies (D) have won the Blancpain GT Series, the FIA GT3 European Championship, the Nürburgring 24 Hours and many other competitions in an Audi R8 LMS. Frank Stippler (D), Pierre Kaffer (D), Dries Vanthoor (B) and Frédéric Vervisch (B) can include this year’s victory with Audi in the Nürburgring 24 Hours on the list of their biggest successes. Markus Winkelhock has celebrated five overall 24-hour race victories and is the 2017 Intercontinental GT Challenge Champion. Kelvin van der Linde (ZA) is a two-time winner of the ADAC GT Masters and another former Nürburgring winner.
In the 2020 season, Audi Sport customer racing will contest strategic events in the Intercontinental GT Challenge including the Spa 24 Hours, the Nürburgring 24 Hours and in the FIA GT World Cup in Macau. In addition, the Audi Sport drivers will compete in national and international programs of the numerous customer teams.