IMSA Spotlight: Renger van der Zande
Driver: No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09
You’re closing in on the Prototype Challenge championship heading into this weekend’s season-ender at Road Atlanta. What kind of approach will you be taking?
“Our strategy this year was to win as many races as possible and that the championship will come with that. We can still do the same at Petit Le Mans but this time it’s in our advantage that we are racing for ten hours as we will use the first part of the race to get settled and safe for the championship, and after that, it’s flat out eyes on the victory lane.
“In IMSA, the racing is very aggressive. There is always a fight going on, even multi-class overtakes come across sometimes like that. I think that suits me very well and to have the right balance between charging and being safe, but moving forward is what I will be applying this weekend again.”
What have been some of your highlights this season?
“Being able to fight for the win at every race was fantastic. We have not tested one kilometer this year and getting the setup sorted in the short times we have in practice was a real thrill.
“Of course there’s been some ‘hands in the hair’ moments when we were out of window, but especially getting the win on the race day on those weekends feels the best. Winning in Austin was one of them!”
How do you characterize your team owner, Peter Baron?
“I have been racing with Peter for the past three years… What a guy! He gets things done and gets his team motivated for the best of the sport. I would tip the fans to tune in on our radio during the race and while looking at the race you will listen to a comedian at the same time. It’s hilarious, in the good way!”
Do you have any 2017 plans lined up? Does the new-look Prototype class interest you?
“The P class definitely has my interest. I think the PC class is highly competitive although not followed very well. The teams who are in PC are seeing very well what the top guys in the class are doing. So I will probably have to rely on a PC team stepping up and wanting to have me in their car. I am up for that.
“Also GTD looks to be an option and that class is very competitive. Let’s see what comes together for me in 2017. Most of all, I really like the IMSA WeatherTech Championship with the racing we have, and in my opinion the championship with the best tracks in the world.”
How has it been in becoming a father?
“The feeling of seeing my daughter, Lola James, for the first time was the feeling of ten race victories and two championships at once. And looking at her feels like being in the lead with a 10-second gap. Ok, back to racing now!”