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VANTHOOR: America the Beautiful

Laurens Vanthoor files his first Sportscar365 column of the year in the build-up to Rolex 24 at Daytona…

Photo: Porsche Cars North America

It’s my fourth year racing in America now. Feels like I’m getting old.

Earl and I come back to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as reigning GTLM Champions.

A lot of people ask if that creates more pressure, but it’s actually the contrary.

We’ve proven to the world that we were able to earn that title and it gives you confidence knowing that we are the guys to beat.

This year we have a new car. It’s not as different as the previous 911 RSR was, because that was the first mid-engine RSR Porsche built.

This car is based on the same principle, just with improvements everywhere. We have a lot of new tools we can work with in terms of engineering and driving. It takes time to dial-in everything and be 100 percent familiar with the car.

Photo: Porsche Cars North America

Last year, if we had a balance issue, we sort of had a book of what we needed to do. Now this year, we have to re-write that book.

We’re lucky that the WEC guys have already written some lines for us.

I’ve had this dream of winning the four big 24-hour races: Le Mans, Spa, Nürburgring and Daytona. Daytona is still missing for me.

That’s the goal this year: Daytona. Last year it was the Championship and now I want to win Daytona. The other races I won on my third try and now this is my fourth time at Daytona, so I better hurry up!

It’s no secret I love America, so my wife, daughter and I are staying in Florida between the Roar and the race, near Tampa and Clearwater.

We’re really enjoying it. The weather here is 10 times better than Germany is this time of year.

In Germany right now it’s close to freezing and rainy and kind of depressing, but here the sun is out and it’s been in the 80s.

Photo: Laurens Vanthoor

My friend Jan Heylen has a bike shop, so we hang out there. We go for bike rides with the baby and visit the park and the zoo and the aquarium. We went to Monster Jam.

My wife agrees with a lot of the people on social media who say I bike too much, so we made a deal that I do only two hours a day, but one day a week I can bike longer. I’m trying to stick to that.

I’m working on staying in Florida through March and April as well. I love being here.

We’ve been here a month already and that’s possible because the racing season in Europe is pretty quiet right now.

If I was single, I’d definitely consider moving here. I love the area, the weather, the things I can do here.

My wife is strongly attached to her family, so at the moment, she’s not convinced, but I’m working on it.

Nothing much else going on, just getting old, but we do have a new Bamthor shirt coming for Daytona. Stay tuned…

Photo: Laurens Vanthoor

Laurens Vanthoor (@VanthoorLaurens) is the 2019 IMSA GT Le Mans champion and former FIA GT World Cup champion driving for Porsche GT Team in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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