Motorsport: Dutch driver to join Van Gisbergen in GC

Dutch driver Jeroen Bleekemolen will join Shane van Gisbergen (pictured) in the Stone Brothers Racing Ford Falcon for October's V8 Supercar international. Photo / Christine Cornege.
Dutch driver Jeroen Bleekemolen will join Shane van Gisbergen (pictured) in the Stone Brothers Racing Ford Falcon for October's V8 Supercar international. Photo / Christine Cornege.

Dutch driver Jeroen Bleekemolen will join Shane van Gisbergen in the Stone Brothers Racing Ford Falcon for October's V8 Supercar international, the Gold Coast 600, in Surfers Paradise.

Bleekemolen, 31, is the son of former Formula 1 driver Michael Bleekemolen and is a two-time Porsche Supercup champion who has also competed with success in the A1GP series and at the Le Mans 24 Hour race.

"Jeroen was actually recommended to us last year but, unfortunately, the timing didn't work out," Shane van Gisbergen said. "But for this year it has all worked, which is really good.

"Jeroen has won pretty much everything. He's racing almost every weekend and in all different types of cars. So I think he will be able to adapt pretty quick with the one test day.

"It will be pretty cool having two drivers of Dutch heritage together. It is always hard watching another international driver in your car but hopefully we can prepare him as best we can with video and the test day.

There is a lot of work to be done to make sure he gets comfortable with the car but I am sure we can do it."

Van Gisbergen lies fifth after seven rounds of the V8 Supercar series with the next race, the Ipswich 300, on August 3-5. There are 15 rounds in the series.

"I'm really happy to be joining SBR and Shane for the GC600," Jeroen Bleekemolen said. "I have followed Australian V8 Supercars for many years and think it's one of the best racing series in the world. To be joining one of the best teams and driver in the series makes it even better.

"It's great for the international drivers to be able to compete in this event. Hopefully we can have a strong result and I come back for more events over the next few years.

"I will have to adapt quickly to the car, as many of my international competitors have done this race many times before. But I'm really up to the challenge and think we should have a chance to do well. Personally I think it would be great if we could get a podium finish and take home a surf board.

"Of course, the Gold Coast is a fantastic place to be once the racing is over, so overall it should be a great experience."

Since a two-driver local/international V8 Supercar race format replaced the IndyCars as the headline act at the annual Gold Coast meeting on the streets of Surfers Paradise, van Gisbergen has teamed with fellow Kiwi John McIntyre for a second and third in 2010 and Italian veteran Emanuele Pirro for a 16th and an eighth in 2011.

- APNZ

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