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VANTHOOR: Larry the Landlord

Porsche’s Laurens Vanthoor files his latest Sportscar365 column…

Photo: Porsche

It’s been the continuation of an awkward year for everybody. I think a lot of us haven gotten used to COVID but we all wish it was over. Even so, I’m happy we are racing.

When it comes to IMSA things haven’t really been going our way.

The last race was unbelievable. I think the last three races we’ve come to the pits leading the race, but we always ran into trouble afterwards.

Sometimes you have these years where nothing is going your way, but to be fair we did have some good luck helping us last year.

Maybe we’re repaying that now? For sure the No. 3 Corvette has been getting their fair share of luck this year. But it’s not just luck, it’s a lot of work as well. 

It’s not too late to catch back up, but it’s going to be all out moving forward because we don’t have much time.

We can’t play it safe, we have to take risks. That’s kind of exciting though; we usually are pretty conservative, making sure we get points, but now we can’t hold back anything.

Photo: Porsche

I’m getting lots of questions about what the future holds now that Porsche will withdraw from IMSA after this season.

Every time I think about it, I’m so sad. I joined the team in 2017 and it was a good team, but through the years, I worked a lot on myself in the way of racing and working compared to what I was used to.

We also evolved as a team and came up with a lot of new tools together with Earl, myself and the guys. It showed last year with the championship and we’re always building and becoming a better team.

It’s the highest level I’ve ever operated at. To see that go away is very frustrating. 

I understand the reasons Porsche made the decision they did, it’s a valid reason for sure, but it still hurts.

I get asked a lot what is happening next year. To be honest, I don’t know.

I’m sure my future with Porsche will continue, the question is: in what? For the moment, I’m not hearing much because they’re probably figuring it out. It’s still an unknown. I’m not too worried about it. 

It’s no secret that my dream is to race LMDh and win Le Mans and Daytona overall. The decision on that has not yet been made by Porsche as far as I am aware. And it’s not starting next year, so there’s a period in between. 

Photo: Porsche

Personally, I’m open to doing other things. Maybe I have to sacrifice a year of doing not my ultimate GTLM dream program that I have now, but that turns into the opportunity to do LMDh with Porsche later? That’s secretly what I am hoping for. If that’s going to happen… who knows?

Some may ask ‘Is there anywhere else you would go besides Porsche?’ and the answer is no. 

The thing is that I’d prefer not too, I want to end my career with Porsche. I’m happy where I am now and besides that If Porsche doesn’t have a proper program in something, then nobody does. And let’s face it, who doesn’t want to have a 911 as a daily car… 

Sometimes you have to shift away from what you can’t control and appreciate what you have. I have been doing that.

I got to spend six weeks together with my family in Florida. It’s been really nice that this year we’ve been able to spend a lot more time together.

Now they have returned home and I will be without them for three weeks, because with the travel restrictions I didn’t want to take any chances. 

I’ve been very busy with our project here in Dunedin, Fla. It started in March, before COVID, we got the idea to buy a property.

Photo: Instagram

Initially we wanted to put container homes on it, but it wasn’t allowed by the city so now we’re building four ‘tiny homes.’

They will be permanent structures, real houses, but they are still ‘tiny homes.’ It’s a marketing thing. It’s going to be a short-term rental, Airbnb-type complex with a pool and everything. Also, when we come to America, we’ll have a place to stay.

I’ve never built anything in my life. Now I’m going to do it in America where everything is different. Sometimes I’d be speaking with a plumber and I’d have to say ‘let me call you back,’ and then Google five words. I’ve learned a lot. 

People underestimate the world of motorsports and what it can teach you about business. What do we do? We get thrown into a situation, a problem, that we have to solve.

With this, it’s kind of the same. My wife freaks out every time I call the city and they say ‘no you can’t do that,’ or ‘it’s going to cost an extra this and that,’ but you find solutions and it works out.

I’m used to it from motorsports. Plus, it’s starting to be a time to think about post-motorsport life at some point… better to start it early than too late. 

We’re getting to a point where, I hope, we can start building in two weeks and hopefully it’s ready by the end of the year. I’m very curious how it will turn out. 

And for everyone who loves hearing about my cycling; obviously I’m still cycling, but I won’t talk about it this time.

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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