Connect with us

WeatherTech Championship

Racing Team Nederland Interested in Daytona Return

“Fair chance” of Racing Team Nederland entering Daytona next year, according to Frits van Eerd…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

Racing Team Nederland is considering a return to the Rolex 24 at Daytona next January, according to team owner and driver Frits van Eerd.

The FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 outfit made its Daytona debut in the 2021 edition with a TDS Racing-prepared Oreca 07 Gibson driven by van Eerd, Giedo van der Garde, Job van Uitert and Charles Milesi.

Van Eerd told Sportscar365 ahead of this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans test day that Daytona, which marks the opening round of the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, continues to hold his interest.

“I haven’t made the decision,” said van Eerd. “But for sure I want to go back to Daytona, hopefully in January again. We were not successful [this year] because of me and we were doing very well.

“There’s a great chance that we go to Daytona in January, but it all depends on what’s going to happen in the next few months.

“There’s corona, and all the struggling with all the restrictions. Hopefully we get rid of it; it looks like it. And hopefully the team and the car and everything else is happy.

“We go race by race. As far as we can see now, there’s a fair chance that we do Daytona.”

Racing Team Nederland considered switching to IMSA full-time until the WEC introduced a new Pro-Am classification for LMP2 lineups involving Bronze-rated drivers.

North American racing has appealed to van Eerd because the WeatherTech Championship requires all LMP2 crews to include one Bronze competitor, while the WEC doesn’t.

TDS has previously expressed a strong interest in working with Racing Team Nederland on a full-season IMSA program. The two parties announced a two-year extension of their partnership starting in 2021.

Asked if he would consider extending a potential IMSA program to include the LMP2 races beyond Daytona, van Eerd said: “We should have done IMSA this season but because of the change of the game, I decided to stay in WEC.

“This is really something I need to think about. If we can’t make it to the world championship [title] then I might do another WEC year.

“If we do become champions, then there’s a fair chance we do the IMSA.”

Van Eerd added that the results-based aspect of his decision regarding a 2022 program means a final call on where Racing Team Nederland will race next year might not come until November, when the current WEC campaign wraps up in Bahrain.

“I know, but it’s always like that,” he said. “We decided to do Daytona on the plane back from Bahrain [last year]. We decided that we needed to do some more testing, so why don’t we go and do Daytona?

“There’s always a plan you can work around, even when time periods are short. There is always something you can figure out to make the decisions.”

Van Eerd has definitively ruled out a Racing Team Nederland appearance in the 2022 Asian Le Mans Series, which takes place shortly after Daytona at Dubai and Yas Marina from Feb. 11-20.

Several European teams have expressed interest in the competition. 

The CEO of the Jumbo supermarket chain explained that his business commitments require him to select only one LMP2 championship to compete in full-time.

“I have to run a business as well,” said van Eerd. “For me, time is everything. It’s my biggest enemy.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

Click to comment

More in WeatherTech Championship