After a breakout rookie season in Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Europe, Rik Breukers is hoping a drive with Lamborghini’s factory-supported team will help pave the way to his goal of becoming a works GT driver.
The 18-year-old Dutchman has joined Grasser Racing Team for this weekend’s Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai, in a lineup that features three previous race winners and a Lamborghini factory driver.
It’s one of a dozen A6-Pro class cars that will be vying for overall victory in the twice-around-the-clock Middle Eastern enduro.
“To drive with this amazing team, it’s like a dream come true,” Breukers told Sportscar365. “We will see what we can bring. I have some amazing co-drivers, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Breukers’ drive with the Gottfried Grasser-led team has come on the heels of a runner-up finish in the highly competitive Super Trofeo Europe series, despite having been promoted to the Pro-Am class mid-season.
A mechanical failure in the season finale in Valencia dashed hopes of the title, while a rain-soaked second race in the World Final saw Breukers also finish second in class.
“The championship was really close so it was disappointing to not get it,” he said.
“In the World Final, we started off really, really strong by winning the first race. But then in the second race, the setup wasn’t right in the heavy rain and couldn’t get the win.”
Despite his young age, Breukers is set for his third 24H Dubai, after having nearly pulled off the A6-Am class victory last year in a GDL Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 alongside his father, Ivo, and countryman Renger van der Zande.
“We were leading and then the lights feel off,” Breukers said. “Unfortunately we didn’t finish the race.
“I think last year I learned a lot with the overtaking with the 100 cars. All classes act differently on the track so more and more experience gets you quicker through the traffic.
“The challenge is to not get in trouble and keep a constant pace, have smart and good overtaking and don’t crash, that’s the main importance here.”
This time around, Breukers will be joined by 2014 race winners Christian Engelhart and brothers Rolf and Mark Ineichen, plus Mirko Bortolotti in the No. 963 Lamborghini Huracan GT3, in what will be his best chance yet for overall victory.
Despite being in a five-driver lineup, Breukers isn’t getting any shortage of track time, as he’s the only driver to be pulling triple duty between the 24H Dubai and the two support races this week.
While his plans beyond Dubai are still being confirmed, Breukers said he’s planning to return to Super Trofeo Europe for a second season, with a drive in the new-for-2017 Middle Eastern series also being finalized.
Additional GT3 races could also be on the cards, particularly if his big chance with GRT goes to plan.
“Of course I’m happy to do many more races with [GRT] because I think this is the best Lamborghini team there is,” Breukers said. “I’m really excited to race with them.
“I’m aiming to have a pro racing career, so I’m open for any opportunities to have that. I think GT3 and endurance racing is the best way to go, so I’ll probably set my goals on that.”