Jeroen Bleekemolen has set his sights on the Porsche Cup title, with the veteran Dutch driver set to contest five different championships between no fewer than four different customer Porsche teams this year in sports car racing competition worldwide.
Bleekemolen is taking part in this weekend’s season-opening rounds of GT World Challenge America powered by AWS and Pirelli GT4 America with GMG Racing and Black Swan Racing, respectively.
Both deals, which are expected to be partial-season efforts at best, come in addition to his already confirmed full-season FIA World Endurance Championship program with Team Project 1, IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup and Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli drives with Black Swan as well as his recently announced WeatherTech Sprint Cup deal with Wright Motorsports.
The two-time Porsche Supercup champion explained to Sportscar365 that the prospects of competing for the Cup, awarded to the most successful Porsche privateer driver annually, quickly became a reality when several Porsche programs were confirmed.
“Since I was doing WEC and the Endurance Cup in IMSA, I already reckoned I’d have a chance of winning the Porsche Cup,” Bleekemolen told Sportscar365. “Then I started looking at other opportunities.
“I’ve known James [Sofronas, GMG team owner/driver] for a long time. At some point we connected again and he said, ‘Maybe we could do the first race and see how it goes.’ That’s basically how it went.
“At the same time, Wright offered me the opportunity to do the [IMSA] Sprint Cup, so suddenly I had a lot of Porsche races.
“To make things even better, Tim [Pappas] came around and said he’d like to do some GT4 races. We’ll do a couple of races for sure in SprintX. We don’t know how many yet.
“It wasn’t an intentional plan or set up to do it. But everything just happened to be that I was going to be racing a lot of Porsches. Then it was, Why not?
“I’ve never even tried to go for it. Usually, when I did racing with Porsche it was in the one-make series and then you don’t get points.
“Suddenly it came up and I was, ‘In this case, I better get on it and see if I can do more.'”
While never having been a factory driver, Bleekemolen’s roots with the German manufacturer runs deep, including having claimed LMP2 class victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the wheel of a Porsche RS Spyder.
“The last few years I’ve been racing a lot with AMGs but I think five, six years ago anyone could say I was a Porsche driver,” he said.
“I’ve been racing so many Porsches all over the world. Even in 2008-2009 I was doing Cup and also LMP2 with the RS Spyder. It all added up.
“I still have a really good feel and connection with the brand.”
Bleekemolen Optimistic on GTWC Chances This Weekend
After a strong start to the weekend in Thursday’s testing, Bleekemolen is upbeat on his and Sofronas’ chances in this weekend’s pair of GTWC America races in the No. 14 GMG Porsche 911 GT3 R.
The pairing are competing in the Pro-Am class, which along with the Silver Cup, will be fighting for overall race honors following the elimination of all-pro lineups for 2020.
Bleekemolen explained his experience of the 3.4-mile circuit in WEC competition two weeks ago slightly helped the learning curve.
“The first session we were P1 right away, by quite a bit,” he said. “For sure, it’s the experience with the track but on the other hand, I had to get used to the track again with this car.
“The RSR is quite different on the Michelins to this car on a Pirelli.
“It was quite different to drive but still, having the rhythm in the Esses and all that kind of stuff, it helps as a driver.”