Interview with the 2008 GT Open Champion

Montermini – Maceratesi - Two Happy Folks

Andrea Montermini and Michele Maceratesi, the International GT Open co-champions, are two happy guys and are not about to forget the emotional finale of this year’s GT Open!

Now 44, Montermini is particularly delighted with a title that crowns a long career that has seen him involved in F3, F3000 (European vice-champion in 1992), Indycar, F.1 (22 GPs contested between 1994-96), CART, IMSA and ALMS, among other major series. Most of all, the personable Italian driver feels boosted to continue for many more years...

Much younger (24) and introverted, Michele Maceratesi has been equally fast and decisive than his team mate. The career of the Ancona-born driver has been closely linked to Ferrari GT2 cars, and has brought him from the Ferrari Challenges (he won the Italian and World ones in 2005) to the Italian GT Championship (2nd in 2006) to the International GT Open since last year.

How do you feel three weeks after winning the Championship?

Andrea: “I really feel elated with this win. The Barcelona week-end was very difficult, but we made it. We fought a lot and we believed in it, and that has been the key to success”.

Michele: “Still very happy! We had to suffer and to give everything we had to conquer this title, but we made it”.

How would you describe this season?

Andrea: “It was a long, stressful and very closely-fought season. I think we had a very competitive package: the Ferrari F430, a team such as Playteam, a team-mate like

Michele, and eventually it worked out. Things did not look good after Monza for us, but we were able to over-turn the situation during the crazy week-end in Barcelona. The Autorlando Porsche with Lietz and Roda were very tough – and very loyal, I must add—competitors and beating such a strong competition makes our success more meaningful, of course”.

Michele: “Things started really well for us, then we had some fall-backs, due to some small incidents, and at a certain point, I thought everything was lost. But in Barcelona we really were able to master the course of the events. A though season, for sure!”

What do you think of the evolution of the International GT Open?

Andrea: “I really love this championship, which is becoming a major reference in the GT scene. The level is getting higher year after year, and so is professionalism, and the rivalry between Ferrari and Porsche is making it even more interesting. I am sure the GT Open will attract more and more top competitors”.

Michele: “It could not be more positive: the International GT Open is really becoming the most interesting, competitive and spectacular GT2 Championship around, although I personally still have to come to terms with the time handicap system!”

What does the title mean for you personally?

Andrea: “It is a wonderful achievement after such a long career, and I am particularly happy to clinch an international championship driving a Ferrari. That always means something special to an Italian driver! It makes me feel serene and just gives me more enthusiasm to continue racing!”.

Michele: “For a young driver like me, it gives excellent credentials. I still don’t know where my career will go in the future, but I intend to stay in the world of GTs and sportscars and an international title such as this always will help”.

What are your plans for 2009?

Andrea: “It is still early to say, plans for the future are always a puzzle that has to come together slowly. But for sure, my objective is to continue with Playteam in the GT Open”.

Michele: “I do not have precise plans yet, but I think my immediate future will continue to be linked with Playteam and I wouldn’t mind staying in the GT Open next year”.

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