He grabbed the championship in the well-established Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, better known as DTM, during the 2013 season. Mike Rockenfeller could be considered as one of the fastest and most talented racing drivers in the world. Besides his victories and championship in DTM with Audi lately, he has also been succesfully competing in other championships with the German car brand in the past. RacingInside.com spoke to the talented German racing driver about his career.
Helllo Mike, many visitors will know your name and your results throughout your current career. But, could you please give a brief introduction about yourself?
Always difficult to describe yourself, isn’t it? Right now I guess I’m one of the most happiest racing drivers of the world.
Some race drivers are getting involved in racing through friends or family. How did you get involved in racing? Did your parents support you from the early beginning?
My parents always supported me. I’m very thankful for that, because without them I would never be a DTM champion today. I’m especially happy that my dad joins me at many races, for example at Zandvoort.
You have started, like many other drivers, in karting and had quite some success in it. Do you think karting is an essential step in the career of a race driver?
Yes, it is for sure. There are several skills you can already learn in karting. And after that, there are many racing series for young drivers to make the next step. That is crucial for our next DTM and Formula 1 generations.
After your career in karting, you made the step to the single seaters. You have raced in Formula König, but made the switch to the GT’s (Porsche Carrera Cup) quite soon. Why have you made this switch?
I was a young guy when I got the offer from Porsche to become a member of the junior team. That was a big chance for me and a perfect decision in my racing career. I had the chance to learn more and more and then join Audi in 2007.
Every race driver has some good and bad moments throughout his career. Grabbing the championship in DTM in 2013 is probably your best moment and the major crash at Le Mans in 2011 will probably be the worst. What other moments of your career do you cherish?
Naming Le Mans 2011 and DTM 2013 in Zandvoort you name the two most important moments. Of course there were a lot of other happy and less happy times – but none of them with that intensity.
If you take a look ahead, what do you hope that your future career will bring to you? Is there a special goal you want to achieve?
I won the Le Mans 24 hour race and the DTM title with Audi. For a racing driver this is more than you can ever dream of. Now that I got that in my curriculum vitae, I’m ready for the next challenges. Let’s wait and see where Audi let me go racing next season.
The life of a race driver is tough physically and mentally. Do you have a special training programme to stay fit and to gain strength?
DTM is physically very demanding. So you have to do your exercises every day. I like cycling or running at the lake – so everything that is outside and not in a gym.
If you could change lives for a day with another race driver, who would it be?
You really think that I want to be anyone else than DTM champion right now?!
From the outside, being a race driver looks like a real dream. But there are also negative points, of course. If you could take people a look at the ‘inside’ of racing, what do you think is the most negative point of being a race driver?
Aren’t there negative points in every job of the world? As a racing driver with Audi your are very privileged, because the organisation is perfect. If you want to name a thing then it is the amount of days you are travelling. But some champagne on the podium of a DTM race easily makes up for this I can assure you.
What would you like to say to everyone that is dreaming of a career in racing?
Believe in your dream and take the first step to make it become real. Look for a karting team, try to get a look behind the scenes of some motorsport teams and expect your way not to be an easy one.
Photos by Audi Motorsport©