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VAN DER ZANDE: Catching Up After a Busy Summer Stretch

Renger van der Zande files his latest Sportscar365 column following a busy stretch of racing…

Photo: MPS Agency

The past weeks have been exceptionally busy. Traveling between Europe and North America for some of the biggest races in the world of motorsports, sitting in a race car for 17 out of the last 25 days. How to keep up?

You have to sleep whenever you can but things are easier when you do what you are passionate about.

It began with the two biggest of them all: the 24-hour races at Le Mans and the Nürburgring, both held within a week of each other.

Unfortunately, Le Mans in the LMP1 car didn’t pan out as we had hoped, but at the Nürburgring we fought day-and-night with sight on the podium, ultimately retiring within two hours of the finish.

Nürburgring was immediately followed by a full day in the Dallara Simulator and straight back to the U.S. for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races at Watkins Glen and Mosport.

In between, I had a quick round trip to Spa for a test with the Honda works team in preparation of the upcoming 24 Hours of Spa. That was next level travel miles!

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

‘Back home’ in IMSA with Wayne Taylor Racing, we continued our chase for the championship in the Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R.

After victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and finishing second in Sebring, things were looking up for us. We had two bad races from our own side but coming to Watkins Glen and Mosport the Balance of Performance started to hurt us.

It turned out that the Cadillacs seem to have no chance to win in recent races.

BoP is not something I want to complain or even talk about. It’s something that’s hard to explain to people who aren’t very familiar with our sport.

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

You have to explain to sponsors and team partners that you’re actually performing at the best of your possibilities and doing your ultimate best but still finish fourth or lower.

That’s what happened in the last two races.

With only three more races left in the championship we will give it again everything and we will need an overall victory to stay in the title hunt.

Switching between all these different cars have also been very interesting in my own development.

The different driving styles, different setups, different car behaviors… they all teach you something new in a very short amount of time.

Now it’s time for some weeks off to spend quality time with the family, and then it’s back to business on the race track in two weeks.

Photo: SRO

First on the schedule is the 24 Hours of Spa. I will race with Honda Team Motul in the Honda NSX GT3 Evo, the same team that we scored pole position with at Laguna Seca in our first race in the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli.

Any manufacturer looking to make a mark in the world of GT3 will be at Spa, bringing their best drivers, best teams, best engineers, best everything.

In many ways, Spa is the ultimate proving ground and the racing is always an absolute spectacle for the fans.

After that it’s another trip across the Atlantic for a weekend at Road America with my priority program at Wayne Taylor Racing.

One other event that I am also very thrilled about will be the Suzuka 10 Hours. Which team I’ll race with is still a surprise, but I can tell you it’ll be a fun surprise!

It’s been a great summer of racing so far and after the holidays we go straight back into the car for a couple more of the best endurance races around the world!

Renger van der Zande (@Rengervdz) is a Dutch sports car racing star, driving for Wayne Taylor Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and DragonSpeed in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

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