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Factory Focus: Matteo Cairoli

4 四月 2024

Amid the sweltering heat and oppressive humidity of Florida, the latest recruit to the Lamborghini Squadra Corse factory driver stable is just about keeping his cool between sessions for the 12 Hours of Sebring.

Matteo Cairoli is still learning about life within the Lamborghini walls. Still getting to grips with his new surroundings after more than a decade with a rival brand.

His arrival at Sant’Agata Bolognese, officially announced in December, has marked a whirlwind last 12 months for the Como native who has rightfully earned himself the reputation as one of the most promising GT drivers in the world.

For 2024, Cairoli’s programme will be more packed than ever before. Alongside a full season in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup with Iron Lynx – partnering fellow factory drivers Mirko Bortolotti and Andrea Caldarelli – he’s also part of the SC63 LMDh project taking on the Michelin Endurance Cup season in IMSA Stateside.

Before he and #63 team-mates Caldarelli and Romain Grosjean claimed a superb seventh-place finish in the 12 Hours of Sebring at the start of March, we got to know Cairoli a little bit better.

Describe your journey with Lamborghini Squadra Corse so far?
It started basically just a few months before the beginning of the 2024 season, when I signed in December. I had been with Porsche for over 10 years before, but things really started properly two years ago in Bahrain, when one of the Piccini brothers – who was actually my first driving coach in my racing journey, he put me in a race car for the first time – pushed for me to be part of the programme. So, it is thanks to him really that I am here, and I am very happy to be part of the Lamborghini team.

What excites you the most about the SC63 and the LMDh project?
Well, it was always a goal in my career to race a prototype and it has finally happened with Lamborghini, so I feel very privileged to drive with an Italian brand as an Italian. My driving style is quite suited to this kind of car as well, because I like to move the steering very little and not fight the car too much and the car is very different to the GT cars that I have driven in the past. The car is also way quicker, and this makes it a lot more fun to drive!

What is the bond like with your team-mates?
It’s great! Obviously, Romain is an ex-F1 driver and it’s a good team-mate next to me with a lot of experience. And Andrea, he’s been the best at helping me out and getting to know the car as he has been with Lamborghini for a number of years and has done most of the development work on the SC63. He has always been available to talk since my first test with the car, which was in Jerez last year. Any time I had a question, he was always happy to help me and get me up to speed. It’s a good line-up, we get along very well and I am also very thankful to the engineers too, who have helped me a lot during the testing before the first race.

What is the worst rental car you ever had?
The worst? Probably it was in Sebring two or three years ago. I won’t name the brand of car, but it was a very, very small car. And to drive such a small car in America doesn’t give you a lot of confidence!

What are your hobbies away from the racetrack?
I have a kind of plan B in business away from racing, which is car washes. I have that business, but apart from that, I always do what is possible to help me with racing, so staying fit and training as well as simulator work.

You have three songs: one that you know by heart, one you use for motivation and one that is your guilty pleasure. What songs are they?
This is a nice question! The first one, I would probably say Blinding Lights by The Weekend.

For motivation, to be honest, since a few years I don’t listen to music before a race, but back in the days it would be more on the rock side, but I cannot say which song because it was kind of what was popular at the time.

And then my guilty pleasure, probably an Italian song which is Zucchero and the song is called Un Kilo. I like it very much!

We certainly hope that Matteo and his SC63 Lamborghini Iron Lynx team-mates have plenty to celebrate when the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship returns for the next Endurance Cup round at Watkins Glen in the summer.

In the meantime, it’s back to the familiar surroundings of GT3 as he embarks on the start of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup at Paul Ricard next weekend.

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