After scoring the podium at last year’s outing with T3 MotorsportBortolotti joined DTM for the full 2022 season with Team Grasser Racing, which has pulled out of all other championships to focus entirely on the German series.
Driving a group of four cars also included Rolf’s InspirationAnd the Alessio Deleda And the Clemens SchmidBortolotti scored five podiums and one position over the course of the season, replicating the kind of speed he’s shown in other GT3 championships over the years.
The Italian was also in the thick of the championship battle until the final weekend of the season, eventually ending up fourth in the standings. Sheldon van der Linde (BMW), Lucas Auer (Mercedes) and Rene Rast (Audi).
While Bortolotti admitted that he lost crucial points due to a variety of reasons, including some non-forced errors, he said he was very satisfied with how he performed for Grasser in 2022 with the support of business from Lamborghini.
“I’m really proud of the work we’ve done,” the 32-year-old told Motorsport.com. “We don’t have to forget that we are a small brand that fights with the big companies, especially the German ones. This is something that gets forgotten sometimes. I think it’s definitely something we should take as a plus.”
“We’ve all had some ups and downs, everyone in the field. And it was very clear to me that it would be that way with the quality of the pitch and the number of potential contenders in the tournament.
“Overall, a really positive season. For sure there is always something you can improve on, I think, especially the last two rounds.
“At Red Bull Ring, if we did really well, we would definitely fight for victory. V.S. on Saturday [at Hockenheim] Same with the strategy that didn’t go our way. So a little bad luck.
“It’s part of the game and there’s not much we can say. The team did a great job, so did Lamborghini and I’m really happy with myself too and that’s it.
“At the end of the day, we are P4. We could have fought for more, especially on Sunday. I was on my way to a podium tour but there was a red flag.”
Podium: Mirco Bortolotti, Grasser Racing Team
Photography: Alexander Trenitz
Bortolotti has been very consistent in the first four rounds of the season, taking a nine-point lead over eventual champion Van der Linde after the Nourising event in July.
However, the championship challenge was derailed by a series of poor results when the season resumed after the summer break, including a collision with Red Bull. Felipe Fraga While chasing for victory at the Nürburgring.
A red flag when he was on a fast lap in Hockenheim qualifying was the final nail in the coffin, ending his hopes of making Lamborghini the first non-German manufacturer to win the DTM title since 1993.
But Bortolotti sees it as unfair to compare his recent results to what he achieved earlier in the year, and insists there was no dip in the team’s performance in the second half of the year despite what the scorecard might suggest.
When asked if he was disappointed with the championship result given how strong he was in the first half of the campaign, the factory Lamborghini driver said: “No, we continued to perform in exactly the same way, even better than in the first half – but we just didn’t collect it in the second half, that is. The difference is it’s not about performance.
“The Nürburgring was a bad weekend, we don’t have to talk about it. The spa was a very bad weekend for other reasons.
“The way we went into the second half, we must not forget how we ended up there. So there were performances in the first half of the season that were great and that is also why we are in the position. [to fight for the title].
“So it’s easy to see only the downside, but at the end of the day I always say you can only judge the whole season and not just half a season.”
Bortolotti, an all-around champion in the Blancpain GT series and a two-time winner of the Rolex 24 class at Daytona, said he enjoyed his first season in DTM but it will be up to Lamborghini to decide if he will return to the championship for another attack on the title in 2023.
His development duties for the Lamborghini LMDh 2024 project will have no impact on its racing program next year, as the Italian is expected to once again compete in a full season of racing across a variety of championships and Enduros.
“Certainly, we all know the importance of the championship,” he said. “It was great to be here, great to be here with Lamborghini and represent our brand in this championship.
“There are things that I have enjoyed and there are other things that I have enjoyed a little bit but overall I would definitely say that it is really positive to be here and enjoy it.
“This is not my decision [to continue in DTM or not]. I drive what Lamborghini wants to drive. I think there are a lot of really cool leagues out there, and I really love them all.
“Ultimately, it is up to them as to what is more strategic for the brand they will put me in.”