When the racing season comes to an end here in the U.S, we tend to get bummed out but before you know it the Roar Before the Rolex 24 is here. This year brings new teams, new faces and new cars to the Grand-Am Series. One team we will be watching is newly formed Magnus Racing out of Salt Lake City, Utah. We had the chance to sit down and catch up with Jeroen Bleekemolen (Dutch) in Daytona, yesterday.
First, congratulations on your 2009 Porsche Mobil1 Supercup Championship win. That was quite a battle with Rene Rast.
How was your winter, any rest for you and what did you do to keep in shape and focused for 2010?
My winter was still quite busy. In November I still had 2 races, one in Abu Dhabi and one in Kyalami. After that there were some talks for this season and the 3rd of January I already drove my 1st race of the year in the Netherlands in our winter GT series in a Porsche. The rest of the month is also busy with the 24 hours of Dubai and Daytona. I had 37 race weekends last year, so it was nice to have a few weeks of relaxing with Christmas. I went skiing in that period. Good training and a lot of fun on top of that.
When did the Magnus deal come about? Did Porsche Motorsport approach you about the Magnus opportunity?
I got into contact with Magnus Racing through Porsche. After winning the Supercup title twice they were out there to help me, because I really wanted to do Daytona and I’m really happy to join Magnus Racing.
With Magnus Racing being a new startup, how do you approach this and what do you bring to the table?
The team is new, but you don’t notice that in any way. I guess that’s because all the members are very experienced. Obviously I know a Porsche Cup car well and have a lot of 24 hour experience, so together we should be really strong.
We hear the guys at Magnus are a lot of fun. We saw it last year with Craig’s “Touch of Gray” livery. We also know Craig has a good bit up his sleeve? Have John or Craig pranked you?
Craig and John are great guys. The make a lot of fun, but can also be very serious when they have to. I’m also like that, so I’m happy to race with them. We just got to know each other, but I’m sure we’re going to have a great time together.
The Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car looks to be running good. In the second session we saw you running 11th about 3secs off pace. How is the car and what has been done to the old #67 TRG to get it ready for the season?
I only did a couple of laps so far, but the car seems to work ok. I’m sure there’s a lot more to come from us and we’ll be fighting at the front during the 24 hours.
With a 24 Hour of Le Mans win driving the LMP2 Van Merksteijn Motorsport’s Porsche RS Spyder, how would a 24 Hours of Daytona win feel?
To win Daytona after my Le Mans win would be fantastic. I race to win, so let’s hope we make it a nice one. I’m looking forward to it a lot.
You have both a background in endurance racing and shorter stuff like the DTM, Porsche Carrera Cup and others. Do you enjoy one format over the other and will we see you at Dubai, Le Mans or any other 24 Hour races in 2010?
I will do the 24 hours of Dubai and probably also Le Mans. If I have time I will also try to do the 24 hours of Nurburgring and Spa, but that depends on my other schedule. I love 24 hour racing, so hopefully it works out.
Thank you for your time Jeroen. Good luck with testing and we will see you at the 24!
Thank you for the support. Best regards, Jeroen