For everyone involved in motorsport, the 2020 season was far from ideal. But while the world got to grips with the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, one driver was enjoying his best season to date amid Lamborghini Squadra Corse’s GT3 Junior programme. A graduate of the Lamborghini Youngster Programme and a former single seater driver in his native UK, Sandy Mitchell has emerged as one of the brightest GT3 talents for the future. The youngest polesitter in British GT history and the youngest overall champion, the Scottish driver was rewarded with full Lamborghini Factory Driver status for the 2021 season.
He joins some illustrious company with the Factory Driver roster, with Andrea Caldarelli, Marco Mapelli, Giacomo Altoè, Albert Costa and Franck Perera all retained by the Sant’Agata Bolognese firm, alongside the returning Mirko Bortolotti.
“I met Mirko a few times before and one of those times was at a test and he offered a lot of advice, just like the rest of the factory drivers. They are a great bunch, it’s not a massive line-up but it’s tailored which makes it quite unique.
“To be associated with these guys and to see my name next to theirs in the press release when it went out was something special. They are drivers I look up to, so to be with them is incredible.”
Mitchell spent the last two years working his way through Lamborghini’s junior development programmes and quickly made a name for himself on one of the most demanding endurance races in the world, the Spa 24 Hours.
Finishing second in the Silver Cup class on his first outing in 2018 before winning in 2019 alongside Jordan Witt and James Pull, Mitchell added a third consecutive podium and second win in a row last year in Pro-Am, partnering Ricky Collard, Rob Collard and Leo Machitski.
Combined with a narrow runner-up finish in the 2019 Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Finals at Jerez and his British GT title last season, Mitchell’s surge up the career ladder has been meteoric.
“Last year was obviously very difficult for everyone, with COVID and everything, but it was definitely my best year in racing,” Mitchell explains.
“Winning British GT with Rob was amazing, and it is definitely my goal to repeat that this year with my new team-mate Adam Balon at Barwell Motorsport. I think we have a good chance to do something special.
“What’s great about Lamborghini is that there is a clear progression from the bottom up, through the young driver programme, the GT3 Junior and then hopefully to becoming a Factory Driver. But even as a Factory Driver, it doesn’t stop there, that’s just the beginning really. I’ve now got to work even harder to make sure I am able to continue pushing and hopefully step into a full pro line-up soon.”
Like fellow Factory Driver Altoè, Mitchell is one of the younger members of the programme and another one to step up through the one-make Lamborghini Super Trofeo series, reserved for Lamborghini Huracán ST Evos.
As well as putting in an impressive performance at the World Finals, Mitchell was a frontrunner in the North America championship, finishing third in the standings with three victories alongside team-mate Andrea Amici.
For Mitchell, the role Super Trofeo has played in his development and journey towards becoming a Factory Driver has been major.
“It was a fantastic stepping-stone for me,” Mitchell says. “I was in the fortunate position whereby I had already done some GT3 racing the previous year before going into Super Trofeo in 2019.
“It’s a great way to learn about GT racing and the style of driving you need to adopt. It’s always really close, no matter where you are racing and for me, getting to drive in America was a cool opportunity.”
For Mitchell this year, the goal is to get even better as a driver and continue to build on his exciting talent behind the wheel, starting with the retention of his British GT title on home soil.
Towards the end of the 2020 season, Mitchell joined the GT3 Junior Drivers roster for a physical training assessment at the brand-new Lamborghini Drivers Lab in Sant’Agata Bolognese. Under the watchful eye of Lamborghini Squadra Corse physiotherapist Jose Poletti and TecnoBody technical staff, Mitchell showed to be not only fast on track but equally impressive in the gym and demonstrated the physical capabilities required by a Lamborghini Factory Driver.
“It’s a fantastic place to train and the programme really puts us through our paces, and we were all knackered by the end of it! The gym is brand new and it allows us to really get in shape and it was a good chance to show the Lamborghini Squadra Corse senior members what we were capable of. It was a great test, really difficult and the feedback we got from the guys was really good as it highlighted the areas where we can improve.”