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VANTHOOR: Fatherhood, Daytona and a Pleasant Surprise

Porsche’s Laurens Vanthoor files his latest Sportscar365 column following busy start to year…

This is the first column I’ve written as a father, so I’d like to talk about that a little.

It’s pretty amazing. It’s more amazing than I expected it to be. It’s difficult to put into words. I don’t want to sound overly emotional, but you look at the world with a lot more emotion after you have a child.

It’s very strange; for me, all my life has been about motorsports and being the best, or trying to be the best at it and beating everyone. Now I have a baby and it gives me the most pride and happiness I’ve ever experienced, even though it’s something anyone else can have as well.

I was a bit scared about the nights, because I like to sleep, but in the end it doesn’t bother me. When the baby cries, I want to make her feel better. We’re pretty lucky that she’s already a good sleeper. She’ll sleep for five or six hours a night.

I have huge respect for my wife as a mother and for all the mothers on the planet.

I was there for the birth; it took 18 hours and I was TKO just from watching. The respect for my wife was high, but now it’s even higher. I was always happy to be home, but now it’s even more special. Life changes… we’re late all the time and we go out a lot less. It’s a nice change though.

I’ve officially moved to Germany now, so I’ve been doing a lot of boring government paperwork. And I’ve been on the bike a little bit less because of the baby.

Photo: Oliver Hilger

Everybody told me I won’t be on my bike for the first month, but I’ve managed to keep it on a good level. It was hard at first.

On my first ride after the baby I was on the bike for only about 20 minutes before I thought ‘I want to go home.’ I’m trying to spend more time at home, not just to spend time with the baby, but to support my wife.

Despite that, I have a job with Porsche to do so I had to break away from home and get back to racing.

So we got a podium at Daytona and I shouldn’t complain, but there was a lot more that could have been. The car we had, balance-wise and handling, it couldn’t be much better.

That doesn’t happen every day that you get the car dialed in to almost 100 percent.

We were really strong in the dry. When the rain came we didn’t have the performance somehow. We know now why, but that doesn’t help.

It seems like a missed opportunity, but still considering everything that happened with the weather, taking home third-place isn’t the worst thing, especially if you look at the Championship. Still, Daytona is a race you always want to win. Everyone knows that of the 24-hour races that one is missing for me, so I really want to come back and win.

Photo: Porsche

We had a Porsche fitness camp recently, which is always cool. It’s called fitness camp, but it’s also team building.

Everyone gets together without pressure, having fun and laughing. They’re smart to make us go into teams against each other. We were always competing against each other and making it hard for each other. We did a lot of running unfortunately… I hate running. I keep asking for biking!

My bromance buddy Earl, at Daytona he was super occupied with Bathurst. Earl knows how a race team should run and he was telling me stories about things he was buying and organizing. I told him he was crazy.

I was following Bathurst and texting him all week and trying to annoy him at the start of the race.

I watched a long time, but slept too long and missed the finish. My wife opened Twitter in the morning and said ‘EBM won,’ and said ‘no way are you looking at the right thing?’

So I checked myself and they did it, they actually won. I looked up the last 20 minutes and it was mega. I was super happy for everyone there, especially Earl, because I saw the work he put into it and he’s very passionate about his team. It’s a big step for them.

I called him, but it was 3 a.m. his time and I expected him to be out drinking, celebrating at a club somewhere, but he was actually cleaning out the garage with his brother. I’m a little worried I’m going to lose my teammate as he becomes a team boss, but I think he’ll stick around a little longer.

Photo: EBM

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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