2015 is in the books. I had the feeling it would be hard to have a better year than 2014. But when I look back on this year I must admit that businesswise but also personal it was a year with many ups and only very few downs. Here a list of my 2015 highlights. It is no coincidence there are 24 highlights. (by the way I could not fit these moments in 20 points like last year). De 24 hours races are very important in my life but I was also spotter for Euro Nascar number 24. And in the end I feel like I am only 24 when I am on a racetrack or with friends ;)
24 : The K&N East NASCAR series at New Smyrna Speedway.
This was the first American NASCAR race for Anthony Kumpen after clinching the NASCAR Whelen Euroseries title with me as spotter.
During this weekend I met Dalton Sargeant, a young promising driver. Let's see how far he gets in his carreer.
23 :Bradenton Motorsports Park
In January I visited Import Face-Off at the Bradenton drag strip in Florida. There were many beautiful cars like this beautiful Datsun 240Z.
This Datsun 510 was another beautiful car at this event
22 : K&N Nascar test at Caraway Speedway.
1 week before his first race Anthony Kumpen could perform a test at this little track in North Carolina. The track is locates in an area where you don't expect a track.
Because of the rain at night the track was too wet for the slicks. So we decided to dry the track by driving our cars on it. Here I follow NASCARs Joe Balash with my rental car. It was in fact my oval debut.
21 : Trip to Zakopane, Poland
Every year I try to make some trips that are not motorsport related. This summer I went to Poland again and visited Zakopane and the Tatra mountains with my Polish friends Iga and Janek.
A surprisingly beautiful area where you can find some rest.
There were many silent areas. I could really enjoy the silence. A place to visit again for sure.
20 : Yokohama Race Academy 2015
Together with Olivier Hermans of Yokohama Belgium we set up this talent hunt. We wanted to help some trackday drivers to make their race debut.
There were 6 selection days with between 10 and 15 competitors.
In the end we had 14 drivers in the final. 2 of them could drive in the Race Promotion Night. The level was high!
In the end the winners were Timothy De Boel, Joël Uylenbroeck and Arno Portugaels. They could drive the race with Olivier Hermans (Yokohama) and Jo Lammens (Skylimit Events)
19 : Race Promotion Night Zolder
The startgrid was full again. Besides our Yokohama Race Academy winners we als had our Porsche 997 GT4 on the grid.
Bart Van Haeren put the Porsche on the front row of the grid. Together with Peter Van Delm and Danique Aelaerts they won their class. A nice way to forget a bad 24 Hours of Zolder
This race is every year a great finale of the Belgian motorsport season.
18 : Palm Beach International Raceway
I visited a classic racecar meeting. Some really graet cars were there like this BMW 3.0. CSL
This Datsun 240 Z was in great shape.
17 : Belcar Trophy
It was also the year of the Belcar revival. We organised 2 races of 125 minutes ahead of the 24 Hours of Zolder. I was happy with the number of competitors.
With over 35 cars on the grid it was mission accomplished. In the front there were great battles between the Norma of Sam Dejonghe and the Wolf of Ivan Bellarosa. The latter won both races. Our own BMW got 2 podium finishes in the BMW Clubsport Trophy class with Davy Suffeleers, Robin Put and Danique Aelaerts at the wheel.
16 : DAYTONA 500
This year I visited my 17th Daytona 500. I was joined by Olivier Hermans. The Daytona 500 closes the Speedweeks. We saw many spectacular races again.
Thanks to Jerome Galpin and Joe Balash we could be in the briefing room of the Xfinity series. A great experience to sit 2 rows behind Dale Earnhardt Jr.
15 : 12 H Brno Epilog Brno & Czech Drift Series
For my job as Liaison officer of the 24 Hours of Zolder I visited this race. When the organiser of the Czech Drift Series heard I would be there he asked me to judge during his final round.
The 12 Hour race became a battle between the GT3 cars. It was very cold but the race was exiting with a finish in the dark.
The drift competition counted for the Czech championship but also the Polish Drift Open Championship. More than 80 drivers were at the track.
From the banking you have a great view in Brno.
14 : Nürburgring 24 Hours & WTCC
Of course I was present again at the Nürburgring 24 Hour race. With the WTCC in the same weekend the Saturday was really a top day.
This race weekend I spend with Lisa Linke an Nate Hassler.
Pechito Lopez was very stong again and was on his way for another world Championship.
Thanks to Dale Lomas, Skylimit Events was also in the race.
13 : Skylimit Track days @ Spa-Francorchamps
This year we were lucky again to organize some more track days at the most beautiful F1 track.
In April we had this originale Capri at the track. It was the winning car of the Spa 24 Hours in 1971
Jo Lammens is driving the Race Taxi rides at Spa. Het lets his Porsche passengers taste of legendary corners like Eau Rouge and Blanchimont.
The Raidillon is exiting every lap again.
12 : Nürburgring Nordschleife Skylimit Track Days
We were 3 times at the Nordschleife for a Skylimit Track Day. Every time we have some spectacular cars on track.
Clients can drive their own car or rent one at the Ring Garage, Rent4Ring or RSR.
The SCG003c was one of the most special cars we had on track. They prepared their 24 Hours race on our track day
Sometimes I drive to the Ring for some laps with friends.
11 : Citytrip Paris
This Summer I made a trip to Paris with Iga. It was very warm that day.
We visited the most beautiful places of the city like the Notre Dame.
You don't park every day right behind a DeLorean.
The visit only lasted 1 day but next year we will go back for sure.
10 : Citytrip Budapest
A third not motorsport related mention is this trip to Budapest I did at the end of December. What a great city!
This was the breathtaking view from my Hilton hotel room.
I visited the nicest places of the city with Kata. It is always an advantage to have a local person to guide you.
For sure I will go back to this city. Budapest is really one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
9 : Nürburgring Drift Cup
This year we had 3 rounds of the Nürburgring Drift Cup. With an average of more than 70 cars we can say our championship is one of the strongest around.
Joe Hountondji pushed reigning champion Remmo Niezen to the limit but the title went again to the strong Dutch drifter. Second in the championship was Elias Hountondji.
Here we see Remmo Niezen battle against the strong Supra of Norwegian Alsaker.
It was great to meet Bil Baldwin again at the Nürburgring.
8 : Chumpcar @ Road Atlanta
When I told Bill Riley I would like to visit him at the Chumpcar race at Road Atlanta he asked me if I would join them. It was a pleasure.
To help masters in strategy Bill Riley, Tyler Hook and Jim Kasprzak was not only a real challenge but most of all a lot of fun
Our Probe was fast but some technical problems.
7 : NASCAR Whelen Euro Series @ Circuit Zolder
The Final of the European NASCAR Championship was held at Circuit Zolder. It started on Thursday with a parade to Hasselt where many fans came to watch the cars.
As spotter of Anthony Kumpen #24 we had less possibilities to grab the championship like in 2014.
We scored a third place and finished the 4th place in the championship.
Ander Villarino grabbed the title in front of a huge crowd. The spotters were standing on top of the pitlane.
6 : Skylimit Super Sundays
The Skylimit Super Sundays are becoming more and more popular. There are many fast sessions for race and street cars, a ladies on track session a pace-car session and a parade. In the paddock we have the Ford Club Belgium of Dimitri Rejek and the JDM/MX5 paddock by Veerle Bammens. Here we see her with her MX5 on track.
The participants and spectators can park inside the track. Every visitor gets a free magazine.
The participants of the Ladies on Track session get some flowers as usual.
Also at Circuit Zolder Jo Lammens drivers the taxi rides with his Yokohama Porsches.
5 : Spa 24 Hours as TV commentator
When Peter Baert asked me to be the guest commentator for the Spa 24 Hours, I was exited.
In total we were 14 hours live on Telenet Play Sports.
It was great to see Markus Palttala win this race! The biggest win in his carreer.
4 : Rolex 24 at Daytona
For the second year I was spotter for the Riley Motorsports Vipers. An honor to work with a great team like this.
It was also great to work again with my friend Marc Goossens. Last time we were really working together was during my last race I ever drove in 2004 and Marc was my team mate.
As spotter you try to see the race the same way as the driver who you are connected to.
To work with Marc Goossens, Jeroen and Sebastiaan Bleekemolen and Ben Keating was a real pleasure. Too bad the #33 got technical problems after 16 hours while leading the race. But luckily the #93 with Kuno Wittmer, Dominik Farnbacher, Cameron Lawrence, Al Carter and Ben Keating won the race so we could go to the podium.
The most beautiful moment is the sunrise seen from the spotters tower.
At the podium after a though race.
3 : NASCAR Whelen Euro Series @ Raceway Venray
We knew we would be strong with our #24 Late Model driven by Anthony Kumpen at Raceway Venray.
But during the Saturday race a disaster happened. A lapped car went spinning and pushed our car in the wall. Bye bye win but also bye bye car because it was so badly damaged. Overnight the team prepared a spare car.
On Sunday I guided Kumpen to the win. Our first oval win tasted great.
It feels great to be part of the PK Carsport team.
After the race Anthony Kumpen handed me the trophy. Thanks for the respect!
2 : 24 Hours of Zolder
As Liaison officer of theis race I can be very proud. We had 61 cars on the grid of a race that was dead 2 years ago.
I could convince recents Spa 24 Hours winner Markus Palttala to coach our rookies in this race. The Yokohama BMW would be raced by Davy Suffeleers, Robin Put, Dale Lomas and Simon Podhalicz.
On Wednesday evening before the race I organised a trackwalk. It is always interesting to give advice to the competitors.
Qualifying debriefing with Dale Lomas, Markus Palttala, Ines Lammens, Bart Van Haeren, Robin Put, Davy Suffeleers and popcorn :D
Here we see the autograph session with the drivers of the 2 Yokohama BMWs
The eventual winners : Dylan Derdaele, Kenneth Heyer, Marc Goossens and Peter Hoevenaars. They drove the Porsche of Belgium racing victory.
While the rookies with the BMW finished third in the BMW Clubsport class, our Skylimit Yokohama Porsche had engine troubles. Early exit for Jo Lammens, Danique Aelaerts, Peter Van Delm and Jerry De Weerdt.
The most beautiful moment at every 24 Hour race : sunrise! I look forward to the 2016 edition.
After the race it was time to bring Bil Baldwin back to the airport.
1 : Le Mans 24 Hours
At the 24 Hours of Le Mans I was spotter for Riley Motorsports. I visited this race over 15 times as spectator, but this time I was in the middle of it.
Our Viper #53 was driven by Jeroen Bleekemolen, Ben Keating and Marc Miller. We were in the LMGTE AM class.
Our Dodge Viper was an outsider in the class.
It's impressive how the car is prepared before the race on Friday. We were ready!
My only help to spot were the TV screen and the live timing and scoring screen. Not easy because you need to be fully concentrated. The feedback by the drivers was good, so I could be happy about my job.
We were on our way to a podium finish but gear box problems decided we had to abandon about 2 hours before the end. Hopefully we will be selected for the 2016 race to have another go. Meanwhile I like to thank the team and drivers for the trust.
To finish I would like to thank some people : First of all my Skylimit crew without who I am nothing. Also our sponsors Yokohama Belgium NV and Heinz Performance by Anthony Kumpen. My Skylimit partner Jo Lammens and secretary Gerlinde Daniels for their hard work. Also the teams I could work with : Riley Motorsports, PK Carsport, First Motorsport, SRD, QSR. Our photographers, camera crew, the car clubs at super sundays, the people of Circuit Zolder, Spa-Francorchamps and the Nürburgring. Our parners and of course our customers and spectators. From our headquarter at Circuit Zolder I will work hard on our future with Jo Lammens and Gerlinde Daniels. 2016 will be great!
Finally I would like to thank some personal friends. I will not write a little list of names because they know who I mean. Thanks for everything !