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Pirelli Paddock Pass: Steijn Schothorst

This week’s Pirelli Paddock Pass featuring Steijn Schothorst…

Photo: Audi

Dutch racer Steijn Schothorst comes from a staunch racing family that also includes his elder brother Pieter, his younger brother Freek and his cousin Bas.

Last year, the 25-year-old returned to Audi customer squad Attempto Racing for his second season in both the endurance and sprint divisions of GT World Challenge Europe.

Schothorst finished fifth in the 2019 Silver Cup points with his brother Pieter and Italian racer Mattia Drudi, with the trio ending up as the best Audi crew in class.

In the sprint competition, Schothorst and his Australian co-driver Nick Foster finished 14th in the drivers’ standings with their year highlighted by a podium on the Brands Hatch season-opening weekend.

How did the 2019 season go for you?

“It was interesting. I always enjoy [GT World Challenge] Europe because it’s a nice, competitive championship with a lot of different manufacturers and tracks. All the tracks I like are there.

“In Endurance Cup we were fast, especially with myself, my brother and Mattia Drudi. I think we were the third or fourth-best qualifying car in the whole field, but we scored zero overall points.

“I think that says something about the championship because it’s so competitive. You really need to be right at the sharp end to fight for the wins. You have to be on the pace all the time without any mistakes.

“It’s been a steep learning curve with such a competitive field, but I really enjoyed it.”

What were some of the main improvements you saw in yourself during your second season of SRO GT3 racing?

“I think qualifying, especially in endurance, was one of the highlights because we were always competitive. It was something that I felt I needed to work on myself, and last year it went well.

“I qualified third at Spa [for the Total 24 Hours] so that was something that I was very proud of. But against the fact that we didn’t score any points, it’s always a bit difficult, but it was still nice.

“Sprint was a bit more difficult all-round. I think for some reason we were just lacking some performance there, whatever we tried.

“We could never really put our fingers on what it really was. But at the end of a year like that, you always come out stronger.”

Is it an advantage or a disadvantage to race in two similar series with different sets of co-drivers?

“In some ways it’s good because you can learn something from every driver. Everybody is strong at something and there is always something to learn from.

“The negative is that if you have the same driver, you know each other very well and you are better at pit stops and setting up the car balance.

“So, it can also help to have the same driver all season round.”

It’s all change for you this year with a move to GRT Grasser Racing. It will also be your first time driving Lamborghinis. How are you settling in?

“It’s a different environment which is always nice once in a while. So far, I like the Grasser Racing Team very much and I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes on-track.

“The Daytona Roar was the first official time we were together at the track. So far, it’s been good. The team are very professional and organized, and I like that.

“I think it’s important that the effort and time is put in by everyone. So far, I’ve really enjoyed it. I will do something with them in Europe, but we haven’t announced it yet.”

When did you first have contact with the team about joining?

“I have seen Gottfried [Grasser] a few times in the paddock the last couple of years, but we had never spoken about a potential drive until late last year, around the end of November.

“The guy who I’m going to drive in Europe with had already signed with Grasser and he contacted me. That’s how it all started.

“We originally agreed on something for Europe but then Gottfried asked me if I was available for IMSA as well.

“I’ve seen all the European tracks, but I think it’s always nice to drive somewhere else too. I’m enjoying it, having pancakes for breakfast every morning, so I like it a lot!”

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