The Starworks Martini team, which includes Dutch driver Renger van der Zande, had to deal with a disappointing setback on the splendid Indianapolis circuit last weekend. Only half an hour into the race, it was game over for Starworks. Renger’s teammate Mirco Schultis had to park the Oreca Chevy back in the pit lane for good. Van der Zande hadn’t even had the opportunity to drive yet.

Indianapolis, 28 July 2014

The Brickyard Grand Prix in Indianapolis, which is held in the last weekend of July, is nothing less than a racing extravaganza. Over the course of four days, fans are treated to a chock-full programme that includes both an instalment of the TUDOR United SportsCar Challenge and a race in the legendary NASCAR Cup. Indeed, the Starworks Martini team, with drivers Renger van der Zande and Mirco Schultis, were keen to make their mark this weekend. But things turned out differently: after 30 minutes of fast-paced driving, Starworks kicked the bucket. An irreparable engine problem in their Oreca Chevrolet meant ‘game over’ for the team. As a result, Renger van der Zande didn’t get a chance to show his stuff on the Motor Speedway. The free practice sessions and the qualifying had been promising enough. In contrast with the other teams, Starworks hadn’t held any practice sessions over the past few weeks. So the team used the trainings and the qualifying to fine-tune their car’s set-up. Mirco Schultis would be handling the first stint of the 2’45” race. After half an hour of driving, things were looking up, with Starworks in P4/5 – only 13 seconds behind on front runners Diaz/Rayhall. What’s more: the team’s main rivals in the Championship, Bennett and Braun, were still 36th in the field at that point. In the team’s strategy, , Renger van der Zande would take over from Schultis in the second half of the race to make good on his reputation as go-getter and land Starworks a victory. Unfortunately, the Dutch driver never even got near the wheel of the Oreca Chevy. It was ‘game over’ for Starworks in lap 22, with the race ultimately won by Cumming/ Hawksworth for Junqueira/ Ende.

Renger: “Yeah, that’s racing too… a mechanised sport in which your equipment occasionally lets you down. As a professional, you should take it as part of the game. It’s a shame, but then there are worse places in the world to spend your weekend… There was a silver lining though: a lesser performance by my Championship rivals Bennett and Braun. Which means I’m still third on the board for the title. Hopefully, my luck will return during the next race at Road America/Elkhart Lake.”

The sixth instalment of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is called the Brickyard Grand Prix. Indianapolis’s famous Brickyard Oval promises to be the setting for yet another spectacular US racing weekend. Together with the NASCAR Cup, the USCC will be organising a thunderous long weekend at the Motor Speedway. And Renger van der Zande will be joining in the fun, driving under the colours of the Starworks/Martini team.

Indianapolis, 24 July 2014

Only last week, Van der Zande could be found in the company of some driver friends on the high-paced karting track in the Dutch town of Oss. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bike, kart or IMSA car, as long as it has wheels, appears to be the Dutch speedster’s motto. Van der Zande is able to successfully combine racing fun with a professional approach in a range of classes – although he seems to have a preference for endurance driving. And over the next few days, the Dutchman will be joining teammate Mirco Schultis at the notorious Indianapolis Brickyard for the sixth race of the American TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

And since during this long weekend, the Motor Speedway will be doubling as the venue for the renowned NASCAR series, drivers and fans can look forward to a particularly enervating four-day event. For Renger van der Zande, it also forms a great opportunity to redeem himself after the dramatic final stage of the 12 Hours of Watkins Glen a month ago. During that race, the Nijmegen native careened off into the tyre barrier – ten minutes before the end of the 12-hour race. The reason? Zero brake pressure in his speeding Oreca Chevy. But the Starworks/Martini team enjoys a good reputation on oval tracks, and both the team and the drivers are optimistic about their chances this weekend. What’s more: a victory on the Motor Speedway will keep the Dutchman in the running for the US title. This Thursday, during the free practice session, we’ll find out if the Starworks Oreca is back to competitive form.

Renger: “I have full confidence in the team. I’m sure they’ve got the gear in perfect order after my bounce into the barrier at Watkins Glen. This will be my first time on the Indianapolis Speedway. But I’ve got a feeling I’ll be putting in some really fast times. And of course, it would be fantastic if I could strengthen my position in the US championship rankings with a podium spot. But for the time being, I’m grateful for the privilege of racing on such an iconic American circuit. And the LMPC cars combine quality high-tech with excellent speed – which is right down my alley.”

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