Motor racing and sailing - two of a kind?

Michael Illbruck and his Pinta team are noted for excellence in sailing, but successfully dabble in motor sports since 2008.


The name Pinta stands for successful sailing. Whether it is Willi Illbruck, two-time champion of the Admiral’s Cup and repeated sailing world champion, or his son Michael, who won the Volvo Ocean Race in 2001/2002 - both are at home in the open sea.


As successful as they are in the water, both also like to compete ashore. More precisely, they like the thrill of motor sports. As father Willi demonstrated decades ago in a Porsche 356 at the Nurburgring, son Michael simulates since 2008 at the same venue.

After Illbruck raced in the Porsche Sports Cup in 2008 he fell in love with car racing as he experienced similarities between the feeling of racing and sailing.

“When I was behind the wheel of a race car for the first time it felt very similar to steering a racing yacht,” said Illbruck. Compared to a street car, the Porsche was much stronger and more direct.  You can literally sense the speed - just like in a race boat.”

Illbruck’s enthusiasm was reason enough for him to put his racing experience to another level. In 2009 and 2010 Illbruck successfully competed in the VLN Long Haul Championship at the Nurburgring, and races in his third season this year.

Apart from the feeling of speed and strength, it’s the idea of team sports that Illbruck likes about motor sports: “You’re alone in the cockpit, but in order to be successful the whole team has to work together perfectly,” said Illbruck.

The VLN Championship is the perfect format for Illbruck to live out his enthusiasm on a competitive level.

“It’s perfect because it allows to experience a whole lot of motor sports in little time and on the most exciting and dangerous course in the world,” said Illbruck. You always have to show respect for this course and sometimes backspace in order to be successful - just like when you’re sailing.”