Andrea Montermini has just clinched his second overall GT Open title, which adds to the one conquered in 2008. Together with Joel Camathias, he is the only driver who is a double Champion in the series, but his 17 race wins make of the personable Italian the most successful one. Time seems not to pass for the 49-year-old Italian, who has under his belt a wonderful career, spanning from Formula 12 to Indycar, and rich of many successes in Sportscars and GT.
Time for us to ask him a few questions about the past season and his incredible spirit.
Andrea, how you feel about this title ?
“It’s a great satisfaction, honestly! It’s clear that this year we didn’t aim at second place, but still, it was a tough battle. You may say that there were title contenders in SuperGT but we had a very strong competitor in the Corvette and the level in GTS was so high that the best ones were fighting for overall. So I am very, very happy!”
What has been the secret of your success?
“The team, for sure. Villorba Corse is like a family jewel, a small outfit but very professional. Raimondo Amodio is in racing because of passion, he doesn’t do this for a living, but he has managed to put in place a very professional team, with a very serious approach of things. I am with them since 2010 and it has been great to see the team growing every year. Last season, we were competitive but we struggled a bit with the car balance and we did some mistakes along the way. This year, I can say we did a perfect job throughout the way. But the start of the season wasn’t easy at all, as our main sponsor fell a few days before the first race.”
You had three different team mates (Luca Filippi, Davide Rigon and Niccolò Schirò). That is pretty unusual…
“Yes, it just happened like this. We started with Luca and nobody, not even himself, was aware of this contractual issue with his role as TV commentator. Davide replaced him when needed. Both are, of course, very good and talented drivers, and Niccolò, who is much younger was with us at the last race, he was unlucky but did a very good job.”
You have been for many years in the GT Open. How do you regard the championship?
“I love it, as you know. I like the format, the tracks, the atmosphere, and it has grown so much since the beginning. The level is really impressive. I think it is the best non-endurance GT championship, and as a TV product to watch, it is just great.”
You will be 50 next year and you have been racing at international level for 26 seasons now. What keeps you so young and competitive?
“I just love racing and the older I get, the bigger is the passion, the challenge and the enjoyment! What keeps me going is that I keep improving myself, I keep learning something every time I get behind a wheel. That’s the secret. Even when you race with much younger guys, even when I do coaching sessions, I always learn something. As long as I will be competitive, I will go on. Of course, I know one day I will have to stop, but that only makes me enjoy even more every racing moment of the present…”