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Quintarelli not ready to retire: 'As long as I'm in my 40s...'

Four-time SUPER GT champion Ronnie Quintarelli says he can see himself racing in the series for at least another five or six years before retiring. 

Ronnie Quintarelli, #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R

Quintarelli made his SUPER GT debut way back in 2005 and is preparing to take on his 15th consecutive season as a Nissan driver this year, and his 10th in the flagship NISMO team. 

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At 42, the Italian is among the oldest drivers in the GT500 class, behind only teammate Tsugio Matsuda (also 42) and Toyota grandee Yuji Tachikawa (46). 

But speaking to Motorsport.com, Quintarelli insisted that his motivation remains undimmed even after all his success, and that the recent trend for star players in other sports to continue their careers for longer gives him extra fuel.

“Honestly, I’m not thinking about ‘after’,” said Quintarelli, who will turn 43 this August. “I still have things I want to prove. I’m working hard every day for that, on the training side, to find the motivation, to still improve myself.  

“The first digit of my age is ‘4’. If you go up one more [to 50], I think it’s too much. As long as I can see ‘4’ as the first number, it’s no problem. 

“At my age it’s nice to make people think, ‘he is still aggressive’, ‘he is still pushing hard’. I want to show people this as well. 

“You see it in other sports, like in soccer, and they are always asked the same thing. It’s motivating for me to see this kind of thing in other sports. When you read about them, you realise you are feeling the same things as them, just focusing on today.” 

Quintarelli won't be able to catch teammate Matsuda's win tally while the pair are sharing a car

Quintarelli won't be able to catch teammate Matsuda's win tally while the pair are sharing a car

Quintarelli added that he is drawing extra motivation from a desire to improve his career stats before he finally decides to hang up his helmet. 

Although he stands alone at the head of the all-time ranking for SUPER GT titles, with 17 race wins to his name he trails both teammate Matsuda (23) and Tachikawa (19). 

Likewise, with 18 career pole positions, he is second to Tachikawa’s all-time record of 24. 

“In SUPER GT at the start of every new season you have this ‘Guidebook’ with a lot of information inside, how many victories, pole positions [each driver has scored],” said Quintarelli. “I really enjoy looking at this ranking!  

“Obviously it’s not easy to catch up with Tsugio [in terms of wins] because we are driving together… but I still have one other driver to overtake in terms of victories [Tachikawa]. In terms of pole positions, I am also behind him.

“My target is to still increase those numbers; this is motivating me a lot. My mind is on those numbers, and not what happens after!” 

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