Max5 Cup @ Racedagen driven by Max Verstappen


The “familie racedagen driven by Max Verstappen” was the biggest event of the 2016 Max5 cup season. With the recent success of Max in formula 1 and free tickets through a national supermarket attendance turned out to be an amazing 100.000 spectators. Just before the event, a last minute idea to bring the Simracing for Holland paint scheme to the car materialized and stickers were delivered to the track. It took a lot of effort and help from teammate Dennis, but it looked great in the end. The car attracted a lot of people throughout the weekend, taking pictures and asking questions. The paintjob was also recognized by several sim-racers!

Straight out of the box, the car felt great on Friday, resulting in the quickest time in free practice. I therefore changed absolutely nothing and the car felt great on Saturday as well: pole position for the race!

While my initial getaway of the line was good, I lost out on acceleration to Marcel Dekker. In the next laps, an amazing battle took place with lots of close racing at the limit. There was a headwind at the main straight, further amplifying the slipstream effect and allowing for a lot of passing. I led for most of the race, but found myself passed by Dekker just before the end. On the final lap, I had a good exit of the last corner leading up to the start finish straight and managed to fight my way alongside Dekker with two wheels on the grass. It was a drag race to the finish!

Only when coming back to the pits I was told I won, 0.012 in front! It was an amazing feeling, winning the race in front of a big crowd, interviewed by the commentator, national anthem, trophy and champagne on the podium!



However, two hours after the race the final result was published and I received a 10 second penalty for running wide on t1 on about half race distance. I knew Rudy Schilders was beside me when it happened, but we didn’t make contact. Apparently, another competitor decided to make it three-wide coming into t1 with an attempt to overtake two cars on the outside. He then ran out of road and into the gravel. I could obviously not see him making it three wide. I feel this is a very weird decision, as we are now penalizing people for missing an apex with 1,5 meters. I suppose I cannot steer back to the racing line after the corner either, there might be two, three or four cars next to me!

In the second race, I started 10th due to the penalty but could quickly fight my way up to 3rd. An even closer battle for the lead started out, but two laps before the end I encountered a braking problem causing me to spin and that was it for me.

Beside the real racing, Mazda had put an iRacing simulator in their hospitality unit. The fastest 5 drivers of Europe on this particular simulator would go to Barcelona to test the new MX5 ND cup car, as well as have a shot at starting in the Global MX5 cup world finals in Laguna Seca. Drawing upon my simracing experience, I was able to put in the quickest time in Europe! I am extremely excited to go to Barcelona and like to thank Mazda for this opportunity.

Next race in one week, again at Zandvoort. I hope I can get up to the same pace as this weekend!

Trip abroad: Zolder

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The second event of the 2016 season took place at Zolder. This is the track where I drove my first real race back in 2014. The atmosphere at the track is always nice. It is situated in a forest and you smell the nature. That is, until that smell gets replaced by the one of burning rubber. Track time is always limited here, so this time only two races and one qualifying.

Qualifying started out pretty well. Forming a train with IL-Motorsport friends Rudy and Chris, I was able to string together a bunch of fastest laps at the beginning of the session. However, the track got a lot faster over the course of the session. At Zandvoort, this is not really the case and your first laps are usually the fastest, before everything starts overheating. With the track becoming so much faster and being unable to get in a clean lap, I dropped back in the order to 10th.
In the race I was able to gain a couple of positions until I got in a battle where I tried to overtake coming into the second chicane. The track was very dirty as the Belgian marshalls don’t seem to clean between sessions. With my left wheels on the dirt, I lost the car trying to make the apex. Rejoining in 12th, the race was pretty much over.

After the race, I discovered that the left front brake pads were completely shattered, while the right were like new. The result of a faulty brake caliper. With the help of star mechanic Hans, the car was ready in time for race two.

Race two was pretty good, climbing up to 6th position after which everybody was lapping the same lap times and the gaps remained equal.

All in all a disappointing day for me, as I hoped to be fighting for podium spots. The next event, the Max Verstappen days at Zandvoort will be big, so focus on that now.

First Win!


At the end of the 2015 season, it seemed like ages until the end of March 2016. In reality, there was just not enough time! An unfortunate testing incident meant I needed a new bonnet, which combined with the regular maintenance really meant I was on a tight schedule for race 1. Luckily, with the help of Marcel Berg from Berg Autoservice, all got fixed in time.

The 2016 season features a new race day schedule, with one qualifying followed by three races. The lack of a free practice session meant that I had to be on top from right out of the box, putting in a fast time. I could not get a completely clean lap in, but still I found myself in 4th place just 15 hunderds off pole position.

In the first lap, the top three was fighting for position and I was able to go around the outside of turn 1 to gain two positions. Next lap, using the slipstream to its full potential, I was able to pass the reigning champion for the lead! From that point it was about holding on and controlling the gap. I was driving so concentrated that I actually missed the finish flag. Only after the first corner I realized I won the race!

My first win in real racing at the first race of the 2016 season, It could not have started any better.

Winning the first race meant starting from pole position. I was able to retain the lead for the first 9 laps, but in the last lap things got messy. The second placed driver, Wubben, who was following closely tried a move at the inside, going into Renault corner. While I was leaving him about two car widths of space, he locked up and missed the entry, sliding wide and hitting me. This allowed number three Verswijveren to come alongside me on the run up to the Audi S chicane. Braking ultra late-Verswijveren takes a lot of speed into the chicane and lets his car run wide after the first apex. I am still there with the nose of the car when because of his entry speed he touches the brakes for the left-hander. With nowhere to go I hit him on his rear wheel, turning him around. I cross the line in second place.

While I feel this is a racing incident, where I could, probably should have backed off, and he could have left me some space, race control thought differently and gave me a 20 second penalty, dropping me back to 9th.

For race three, I was then able to fight back to third.

Ironically, the incident where I pushed Verswijveren around actually made him the overall winner of the day, as my 9th place ruined my chances on the overall win.

Only days after the hard work of my sponsor Berg Autoservice made my car look fresh for the new season the car will need some cleaning and painting again, but luckily the Heusinkveld Engineering sticker survived.


Next up is Zolder at the 17th of May

International Success

Picture: Mathieu van den Oever

Oschersleben, the beautiful town just over the border of the former East-German border. Except for the endless farming fields, the local economy seems to be running on one thing alone: racing. Last weekend the venue hosted DTM, leaving the track in tip-top condition.

Few drivers on the 28 car grid knew that to expect. For all but two or three, the Oschersleben track was completely new. Knowing the track vaguely from the GTR2 game- I might have held an advantage here!

Right from the get-go in free practice, the car felt great. I was very surprised and happy to see my name on top of the timetable after the session. Even more surprising, I was able to repeat this for my first career pole position in qualifying!

Nerves were racing as the red lights went out for the start of. Obviously, I messed up the start completely and drop back to 5th place. Things got even worse as I had to take evasive action later in the lap when one of my fellow competitors decided to explore the surroundings of the track outside the white lines:

From 6th, I was able to get back into the rhythm and catch up to the two leaders, Youri and Marcel. Little time was left, but in the last lap I was able to make a move to secure 2nd at the finish. Considering the failed first lap not so bad.

For the second race, I noticed I forgot my racing gloves just before entering the track. With the 3 minutes board going up, Dennis sprinted to the car and got my gloves, but the 3 minutes ended up being no less than one. Incredibly frustrated, I had to start at the back of the field instead of 2nd! Moreover, the race was only 10 laps, leaving very little time to move to the front. Then, to add to the misery I could not see the starting lights. I drove to the best of my abilities, putting in really fast laps to gain 23 positions and finish 5th, very close behind the 4th place car at the line.

For the third race, the goal was clear again to join the leading group and see if I could place an attack. Halfway trough, I managed to overtake Youri to take 2nd. Now, I had to see if I could pass Marcel of the lead. I was a bit faster in the corners, but it was difficult to compensate for the additional horsepower in Marcel’s car. Racing was very close and Marcel defended hard but fair. I saw an opportunity to make a move in the final corner of the last lap, got alongside and finished only 0.042 seconds behind. Would the finish line have been a bit further up the straight, I might have been able to make it! 42 thousands of a second on the line looks a bit like this:

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This was a great weekend for me. Despite the good results I am a bit disappointed. Made a stupid mistake forgetting the gloves while I probably had the fastest pace of the entire field all weekend. I should have won at least one race. Hopefully the opportunity will come again!