|March 29, 2007
Audi Factory Driver Mike Rockenfeller in Profile
Mike Rockenfeller has just moved from Monte Carlo to Altnau on the Swiss side of Lake Constance. However, moving home is not the biggest change currently facing the 23-year old "star if tomorrow”: "Rocky”, as he is known by fans and friends, starts as new Audi factory driver this year in the DTM, Europe’s most popular touring car series – and takes centre stage for the first time ever during his still booming career.
Mike Rockenfeller could have forged a career at his former employer as well, however – just as team mate Lucas Luhr – he decided to switch to Audi. "Everything that Audi has ever tackled in motorsport during the last years was a success,” knows the youngster, who is impressed by the Audi brand and its products. "Ground breaking technology, beautiful workmanship and a sporting, dynamic design,” he says spontaneously. "I was like a child with a new toy at Christmas when I got the keys to my new RS4 company car.”
Just like Lucas Luhr, Mike Rockenfeller does not only have DTM on his mind. "Rocky” also dreams of overall victory in Le Mans. "This was on of the main reasons why I changed to Audi.” But obviously also the DTM: "This is a tremendous goal for very young German racing driver and an excellent alternative to Formula 1. It’s incredible just how evenly matched the cars are. You can measure yourself against the best tin top drivers and enjoy the attention of the fans.”
As a child Mike Rockenfeller wanted to be a farmer or work in his parent’s workshop. Even today he still enjoys sitting at the controls of the family tractor or combine harvester and driving through the fields when he visits them in Neuwied.
The contrast to the glamorous world of motorsport could hardly be bigger, however "Rocky” is still down-to-earth in spite of his success. That he became a factory Porsche driver at 18, went down in the history books at 19 as the youngest driver to win a Porsche Supercup race supporting a Formula 1 race, and at 20 became the youngest driver ever to become Carrera Cup Champion, has not seen him with his head in the clouds.
Before becoming a professional racing driver, "Rocky” completed his apprenticeship as mechanic. Growing-up with engines and machines in and around his parents’ workshop and on his grandparents’ farm moulded his development. "I always wanted to drive anything with wheels,” remembers the youngster. "When I was eight or nine years-old I pestered my father constantly until he allowed me to test a kart. That was the start.”
Today, at 23-years of age, he is the youngest Audi factory driver is targeting the big break through. He possesses both the latent talent and will. At his new home on Lake Constance he keeps himself fit with any sport that helps his stamina – from jogging to mountain biking. He also plays squash, badminton and football.
Football is also the sport that interests Mike Rockenfeller the most away from the track. In addition to cheering on the national team he also supports FC Cologne.