Podium Finish Secures Three Titles for GRT Grasser Racing at Blancpain GT Final

03.10.2017

It was one of the greatest days in the history of the the GRT Grasser Racing Team: With a third-place finish in the final race at Barcelona with its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 number 63 the team in total claimed three Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and overall titles. Mirko Bortolotti (ITA), Christian Engelhart (DEU) and Andrea Caldarelli (ITA) won the drivers’ Endurance title, while Bortolotti and Engelhart became the overall Blancpain GT Series drivers’ champions, which also considers results in the Sprint Cup. Grasser also took the overall teams’ title, and only missed out on the Endurance Cup teams’ prize with one point, leaving a little consolation prize to their rivals from Bentley Team M-Sport.

Mirko Bortolotti had laid the foundation to an ever so successful Sunday with putting the car into the front row of the grid, even if during the first stint Christian Engelhart lost a few places already in the first lap, struggling with grip problems, “which is something we have to look at for the future. But now it does not really bother me to much any more,” he said after all turned out so well in the end: “Now, I just want to focus on the fact that we achieved everything that we wanted to and I am really thankful for this. What a year it has been. With 4 wins and 7 podiums we secured the three titles. We took it all this weekend. It feels unreal to achieve this for Lamborghini - I feel very honoured. I want to thank GRT Grasser Racing Team and Lamborghini Squadra Corse for the excellent team work throughout the season, thank you also Gottfried Grasser and Giorgio Sanna for trusting in me. And thank you to Mirko Bortolotti, I am proud to be your team mate, you are one of the best drivers I know. Thank you also Andrea Caldarelli, what a move today in the race, you are a true professional! And especially thank you to all our GRT guys who really earn this success. You guys are like family - thanks for all the sleepless nights preparing and repairing our cars!”

The two other Grasser cars, number 19 with Ezequiel Perez Companc (ARG), Frédérick Vervisch (BEL) and Renger Van der Zande (NDL) as well as the number 82 with Giorgio Roda (ITA), Tom Dillman (FRA) and Paolo Ruberti (ITA), who had qualified in P12 and P25 respectively, were already caught out by even bigger trouble at the start of the race. The Ferrari of Victor Shaitar crashed into the 19, which had to be repaired in the pits and finally finished in P34, while the 82 also dropped far behind in a similar pile-up and after fighting some more trouble later on ended in P41.

But of course all eyes were mainly on the 63 that day: Due to a very good pitstop Andrea Caldarelli had already made up some ground entering the track ant then the Italian was able to make up some more positions with some nice overtaking: “A bit before I entered the car, I thought about the points of the championship and I knew that I had a small chance to overtake and to attack at that moment. When the team told me, I was P3 and that the two first positions were quite far, I just tried to keep my position. I really enjoyed my stint: At the beginning, the fight with the others was really nice and after that I was just trying to keep third position. We didn’t feel big degradation from the tyres and they were quite consistent through the whole stint.” As anybody else in the team, the Lamborghini works driver was over the moon at the end of the race: “We did a great season, we didn’t do many mistakes and this is the result. I feel really happy and proud of what we have done. Especially as I only joined the team in March and I never raced in GT3 before...”

Mirko Bortolotti entered the car for the last stint and it was his main task to bring the car home safely in third place: “Was it a walk in the park? Well, from the outside it may have looked like it, but from the inside it´s always a bit different. In one way or another you are always thoughtful at the beginning of a race and today was the same, even if when I went in the car, the Bentley retired and we already won the overall title but I there was still the Endurance title. I wanted us to race the best as we could and I think that it happened.”

After the chequered flag and a total of 6309 kilometres of racing completed across the Blancpain GT Series season for car number 63, team principal Gottfried Grasser could celebrate: “What a success! It is unbelievable having won now the overall Drivers and Team Title in the Blancpain GT Series and even added the Endurance Drivers´ Title with this great race. Special thanks to my whole restless team, our top drivers, my girlfriend, who always supports me and especially to Giorgio Sanna, our Lamborghini Motorsport boss, who always believed in us from the very beginning. We are already looking forward to 2018!”

GRT Grasser Program - next race

24H COTA – USA / 7. Creventic Series
10.11. - 12.11.