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Bleekemolen ‘Here to Win Races’ With Pappas, Flying Lizard

Jeroen Bleekemolen aiming to be “fighting at the front’ with Flying Lizard Motorsports this season…

Photo: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image

Jeroen Bleekemolen is ‘here to win races’ in Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America as the season kicks off with a pair of rounds this weekend at Sebring International Raceway.

The 42-year-old Dutchman returns to full-time IMSA-sanctioned competition for the first time since 2019 with long-time co-driver Tim Pappas as part of Flying Lizard Motorsports’ four-car effort in the highly competitive single-make series.

“I haven’t been here full-time in the last two years,” Bleekemolen told Sportscar365. “We’ll do this full-time. So it’s great to be in the paddock. It’s the place where I want to race.

“It’s always fun. It’s always a good atmosphere and good racing. So I love it.”

Bleekemolen’s CV includes a pair of Porsche Supercup championshipw, two American Le Mans Series GTC titles, a LMP2 class win at the 2008 24 Hours of Le Mans, and most recently, the 2017 and 2018 GTD Michelin Endurance Cup titles in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

This season, he’s set his sights firmly on returning to victory lane in Super Trofeo machinery, as he and Pappas contest the popular Pro-Am class.

“When you race, you want to win. So definitely we want to try to get some wins in Pro-Am, and hopefully be in it for the championship, said Bleekemolen.

“First of all, we want to have fun, we want to enjoy it. But then at the same time, we’re here to to try to win races.”

Bleekemolen made two previous Super Trofeo starts in 2016, but had yet to drive the current generation Huracan Super Trofeo EVO2 race car until the series’ pre-season test at Sebring earlier this month.

“I did two rounds, one in COTA and one in Paul Ricard in Europe,” he said.

“But that was the old car. [It’s] very different to now. So [testing] was basically the first time in this car. It’s great. It’s different to drive than many other cars, so you’ve got to get your head around it a little bit.”

Bleekemolen said that both the speed of the 600-horsepower Super Trofeo cars and the series’ two-driver format attracted him and longtime co-driver Pappas to the series after a partial season of Pirelli GT4 America with Pappas’ Black Swan Racing team.

“Tim was looking for something to race with me in faster cars than what we’ve been doing. So it’s a step up from historic racing and GT4,” he said.

“It’s a two-driver format which is something Tim was looking for as well.

“So we can do Pro-Am, which is what we’ve been doing for a long time already. I think the format is nice.

“You have no BoP so you can just go flat out. It’s good racing. The cars are fast and it’s well organized. It’s a lot of things that that hit the mark.”

Despite a lack of seat time, Bleekemolen has been quickly on the pace in Sebring, placing his No. 54 Flying Lizard Lamborghini in the top-three in the first two practice sessions and finishing Race 1 on the Pro-Am podium with Pappas.

Speaking with Bleekemolen before the race, he said:  “I’m sure we’ll get a little bit stronger over the season, having some more laps under us and having some race experience.

“But at the moment, we are fast. And I know the team is really on it. They’re really doing a good job on setup. So we should be fighting at the front.”

Jonathan Grace is the host of Sportscar365's Double Stint Podcast and a contributor to the web site's IMSA-sanctioned race coverage.

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