Driver Spotlight: Jeroen Bleekemolen
Driver, No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R
With the first year now complete, what are your thoughts about the TUDOR Championship?
“In the end, I really liked it. To combine two series can be tough and I know some people were complaining. But in my opinion they’ve done quite a good job. You have to be honest with BoP, as that’s what everyone is talking about. It’s very hard to get new cars, as they were all basically new cars in GTD, to balance that in the first year. In Europe with GT3, it took them many years to get to the level they are at now. It’s perfect but now you have new cars coming in and you have the same thing. It’s always tough.”
What were some of your best memories from the 2014 TUDOR Championship season?
“The best memory was at Mosport, taking the win that late, but also taking a podium on the last lap at Indy was great as well. A win at Ben’s [Keating, co-driver] home race [at COTA] was also great because he had his whole family there and a lot of guests. Those three moments are quite special.”
Is it good to have the continuity, returning with Ben Keating again in the Viper GT3-R?
“It’s great. We’ve worked hard on the car. From the start it was actually a really good car although it was new. We’ve developed it and are really ready for another year. The whole team is in top shape. I think we have a really good chance to fight for the championship.”
You’re one of the busiest GT drivers around, having done more than 35 races this year. What motivates you to keep up at that rate?
“I really enjoy it. I just love racing and the competition as well. In GTD, we have great competition. In other series, like Blancpain, you’re fighting the whole hour you’re in the car flat out. Every kind of racing has its own special thing. It’s just fun to do it and I hope I can do it like this for many more years.”
Your schedule only leaves you with a three-week ‘off-season’ between your last race of 2014 in Abu Dhabi and your first of the year in Dubai…
“Yeah, but I really like this period of the year. You can spend a bit more time with the family but at the same time you have these nice races where it’s cold at home, you can still have a couple days in the sun and do some racing. For me, I always enjoy December and January.”