“Having raced on both the old fashioned as well as modern race tracks, which one is closer to your heart?”
Automobilist had the honour to get an exclusive interview with one of only five drivers to have won 24h Le Mans and 24h Daytona in the same year. Mike "Rocky" Rockenfeller, an experienced DTM, endurance, and FIA GT driver.
The name Rocky is synonymous with the fictional boxer portrayed by Sylvester Stallone, but motor racing has its own Rocky in the shape of Mike Rockenfeller. We recently spoke to the 38 year old German racer who is the living proof that you don’t have to race single-seaters to enjoy a great career on track.
Mike has overall and class wins in the 24H Le Mans to his name, as well as being crowned DTM champion after a long time in the premier touring car series with Audi and he is currently tackling a sports car programme in the United States.
Mike Rockenfeller before announcing his split from Audi and stepping down from DTM at Hockenheim, Germany in 2021. Image courtesy Hoch zwei
EXCERPT FROM THE INTERVIEW
Automobilist: Looking at your CV the only omission is single seaters except for your early days, why is that?
Mike Rockenfeller: My dream was to make it in Formula One, like any other kid in motorsport. Unfortunately or fortunately, it was very clear from early on that I didn’t have the money. After winning a karting championship, we had the money for one year, but after that, the question was always; how are you going to finance it? And that is the pity of our sport in general.
Then Porsche comes along. At first I was like, “yeah, I’m racing against some old guys." Luckily, I went and I understood Porsche and their plan to develop a young driver, and then it was clear to me, “That is my chance!”
The dream of F1 when you’re young doesn’t come from the glory, it comes from the cars, and the speed, and the drivers, and that you want to be part of them.
Later, being in DTM gave me the same satisfaction as F1, and then Le Mans and understanding endurance racing. I’m very happy. I don’t think I missed something. Because I know many drivers that stuck with karting and didn’t get to my level because they didn’t have the luck to be in the right place at the right time.
WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW