Saturday, 25 June 2016

Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky


Mikaela in 2015

Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky is a Swedish driver who has raced in international one-make series for Volkswagen and Audi.

She began karting at the age of twelve, and spent five years in various championships. In 2009, she was fourth in the Swedish Rotax Max championship.

Her first full season of senior competition was in 2012. Instead of learning the ropes in a Swedish national championship, she jumped straight into the VW Scirocco-R Cup, based in Germany, having passed its selection procedure. It was not the easiest of years, with two thirteenths at Oschersleben her best finishes. She was 19th in the championship. As well as other up and coming young drivers, she raced against guests such as Damon Hill and WRC champion Sébastien Ogier. At the end of the season, she secured an invite to the FIA Women In Motorsport commission’s Scirocco-R Shootout, a competition for female drivers with a funded season in the 2012 Cup as its prize. Mikaela was second, behind Michelle Gatting.

As well as tin-tops, she tried her hand at GT racing, taking part in some rounds of the Scandinavian Porsche Carrera Cup. Her best finish was eighth, at Solvalla, one of three top-tens she achieved in five races. She was twelfth in the championship.

A second season in the Scirocco-R Cup saw a more assured Mikaela. Towards the middle of the season, she broke into the top five for the first time, finishing fourth at the Norisring. She followed this up with a second at the Nürburgring, her best race of the season. She was eighth in the championship.

In a somewhat backwards move, she spent some time in 2013 in Sweden, racing in the Clio Cup, which ran as the Swedish Junior Touring Car Championship. She was twelfth in that championship, too, after a part-season. Her best finish was sixth, at Kinnekulle.

She had her best season yet in the Scirocco-R Cup in 2014, and was the strongest of the female entrants. She won one race, at the Norisring, the first female driver to do so. Despite five more top-tens, four of those being top fives, some poor finishes at Oschersleben and Hockenheim let her down.  She was ninth in the championship.

That year, she also took part in rallycross, racing an RX Lites Ford Fiesta. She raced in the Swedish and Turkish rounds, and performed best in Sweden; she was fifth in the final. In Turkey, she got as far as the semi-final. At the end of the season, she was fourteenth in the championship. She had a similar experience during her part-season in the Swedish Supercar Lites championship: fifth in on final at Höljesbanan, and eighth overall in the championship.

In 2015, she entered the Audi Sport TT Cup, the successor to the now-defunct Scirocco series. A series of non-finishes, including a crash at Oschersleben, dropped her down the leaderboard to fifteenth. However, her race results were quite good, and included a third place, at the Norisring. When she made the finish, she was almost always in the top ten.

For 2016, she remained with the Audi marque, but took a step up into sportscar racing, in an R8 LMS. At the time of writing, she is racing in the ADAC GT Masters in Germany, for Aust Motorsport, as a team-mate to Marco Bonanomi. It has been a steep learning curve for both of them, and Mikaela has a best finish of tenth, at Oschersleben. She was just out of the top ten on two more occasions, and was 52nd overall.

She is the daughter of rally driver Susanne Kottulinsky, and grand-daughter of Freddy Kottulinsky, another rally driver. Although she grew up in a motorsport family, she had no interest in it whatsoever until she was a teenager, preferring dance and gymnastics.

Mikaela’s profile has risen recently, due to her being romantically linked to Max Verstappen. However, she remains focused on her own racing career, and aims to compete in the DTM in future. Her 2017 plans may have to be adjusted, as she broke her leg at the end of 2016.

(Image from http://www.mikaelaracing.com)

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