As every year, I will write my 24 highlights of the year (2016) in a blog. The fact I took 24 highlights is no coincidence as the 24 Hour races are very important for me and the connection with #24 also gets stronger every year.
24 : movie recordings "La Fidèle"
Our Porsches and drivers Jo, Danique and Davy worked together with some other race teams during the recordings of this new movie by Michael Roskam. The movie will be in the cinemas in 2017. I wonder how the racetrack scenes will look like...
23 : Pace car laps with the Mustang and the Whelen lights
During these laps we show our new customers the racing line of Circuit Zolder. I want to thank Paul Garner of Whelen for this set of lights!
22 : NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Brands Hatch (GB)
With his win in the Saturday race Anthony Kumpen got a bigger lead in the championship.
21 : Skylimit Super Sundays
Our Skylimit Super Sundays keep on growing. More and more drivers and spectators find their way to the racetrack.
20 : Holiday in Poland
As every year a few non-motorsport related items get into my list. In Summer I went to the Baltic coast of Poland with Iga. A really nice area.
19: 24 H 2CV Spa-Francorchamps
For the first time our Skylimit colors were represented during this race. Kata Bozó drove together with her team mates to the win in the Citroën C1 class.
18 : Skylimit Trackdays @ Spa-Francorchamps
It's an honor to offer our customers this fantastic racetrack every year.
17 : Nürburgring 24 Hours
This year I witnessed one of the most bizarre 24 hour races at the ring. The temperatures were not bad at the end of May but a few hours into the the race the track became icy in the forest. The cars on slicks were simply stuck. A red flag interupted the Mercedes AMG GT3 walkover for a little while.
16 : Nürburgring Drift Cup Final
During the Final we welcomed 92 drivers to our event! This is a record number for the competition we started in 2013.
15 : Stelvio pass & Lake Como
Because I decided to go to the NWES race in Italy by car, I had the opportunity to discover the Stelvio pass. On the way back Danique and I could enjoy the beautiful Lake Como.
14 : NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Valencia
The first NWES race took place as usual at Valencia, Spain. With a win in race 1 we were the first leaders in the championship.
13 : Skylimit Trackdays at the Nürburgring Nordschleife
During our trackdays at the famous Nordschleife there is a mix of cars on track. There are VLN teams to test but also really exclusive cars.
12 : Holiday in Budapest, Hungary
Kata Bozó was my guide when I visited Budapest in May. In my opinion this is one of the most beautiful and cosy places in Europe. The historical buildings are on every corner of the street. Even a parkinglot can have some surprices as when I parked next to the Ferrari collection of Josh Cartu.
Because the weather was so nice we decided to visit the Balaton lake. It is the biggest lake in middle Europe. Hungary has so much more to offer than I ever thought.
11 : NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Venray (NL)
At the Venray oval we took another win, this time the Sunday race. Anthony Kumpen was very strong. For a spotter it is an amazing experience when he guides his driver to the win.10 : Nürburgring Drift Cup Round 2 : The Big Entry
When I dicided to use this layout for round 2, many drivers were upset. It would not be enough challenging but it turned out different. Many drivers struggeled really hard. But after a while when they got their grip on the track I only saw smiling faces. All drivers learned a lot during that event.
9 : First Nürburgring Nordschleife lap with the Mustang
The first thing a car needs is a lap at the Nordschleife before you can call it yours ;) Every lap at this track is an experience.
8 : LE MANS 24 H Test day
Normally I would never reserve a spot for a testday in this blog, but this one is rather special. Because the Viper was not selected by ACO Ben Keating and Bill Riley looked for solutions. So they signed up with Murphy Prototypes for this race. The Americans also brought top drivers like Jeroen Bleekemolen and Marc Goossens while they asked me as spotter. The pitcrew and engineers came from Murphy. I did not excactly get a warm welcome. For the team it was more like : "why do those Americans bring a spotter, this makes no sense". I only gor my radio right before the first session. The race control radio was not available for me. But at the beginning of the afternoon they started to get used to me and suddenly I also got the race control radio. At the end of the day the team was convinced that a spotter was a good thing for the team.
7 : NASCAR WHELEN EURO SERIES Adria (ITA)
The NWES weekend in Adria was kind of perfect. Anthony Kumpen won again the Saturday race and also Gabriele Gardel took a first place. It was the first win of the Swiss driver with me as spotter. To have 2 victories on 1 day is simply amazing. The Sunday was also good with another win of Stienes Longin. Gabriele and Stienes worked well together. It is always nice to work with #11 spotter Hans.
6 : 24 Hours of Zolder
The Wednesday Trackwalk is always very popular. I learn all the tips and tricks you need to be fast but also not to be too hard on the car. In the Skylimit Yokohama Race Team we had 2 drivers that were only 16 years old, Ines Lammens and Nicolas Hermans. They were teamed by another beginner Kata Bozó and the very experienced Jo Lammens and Markus Palttala.
For the third time in a row we succeded in having a full grid! Something to be proud of.
5 : NASCAR XFINITY SERIES at DAYTONA
My Euronascar driver Anthony Kumpen get's ready for his first race on a super speedway! It was breathtaking to see him drive 3 wide in the middle of the pack.
Thanks to my job and results as spotter in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series it is great to meet great NASCAR personalities like Joe Balash.
4 : LE MANS 24 HOURS
During the 24 Hours of Le Mans I was spotter again. During all sessions of Jeroen Bleekemolen and Marc Goossens I was on the radio. To spot for an LMP2 is different than the Viper one year ago.
The track is devided in 35 zones. By watching the different cameras and listening to race control I can give good information to my drivers.
3 : Rolex 24 at DAYTONA
For this edition of the Rolex 24 the Viper carried the Gasmonkey colors and that was good to recognise the car from the distance. The potential was there but the result was not like we hoped.
It is an honor to be part of the Riley Motorsports team. Here we see Bob and Bill Riley talking to my all time hero AJ Foyt.
2 : 25 H VW Fun Cup
It was the first participation of the Skylimit Racing Team at this race. We drove the EVO1 of Team Germany. Drivers were Veerle Bammens, Ines Lammens, Kata Bozó, Davy Suffeleers, Jimmy De Breucker and Jo Lammens.
Here Veerle takes place in the car. Since August she is also my new secretary at the office.
To assist my drivers I was doing the radio and the pitboard during the whole 25 hours race. It was a bit back to the roots but a great experience. BTW I needed 2 pitstops myself to go to the toilet. Thanks Davy for taking over during my pitstops ;)
1 : NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Finals Zolder(B)
Anthony Kumpen came to Zolder as the championship leader. Gabriele Gardel was second in Elite 2. It was our job to keep these spots but also to help team mate Stienes Longin to get the Elite 2 title. As spotter on my home track the pressure was very high but we knew what we had to do.
Day one went fantastic with 2 wins for our #24! The next day would be all about bringing it home. We also had a huge lead in the team championship now.
After a perfect Saturday we started to plan our Sunday.
We did what we have to do and secured our second NASCAR Whelen Euro Series title in 3 years. Anthony got his trophy from Jeff Gordon. They both were then rewarded by getting a picture with me .
I would like to thank everyone who helped in making 2016 such a great year! The teams with who I worked, my Skylimit crew, drivers, participants, spectators, safety staff of the racetracks, everyone involved THANK YOU! Let's make 2017 even better.