“Winning the title makes the season perfect”
Stuttgart. The new champion is an old acquaintance: At the final of the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup on the new Formula 1 track in Abu Dhabi, Jeroen Bleekemolen secured his second title in succession with the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. “We led the points for the whole season,” said the Konrad Motorsport pilot from the Netherlands. “I think we definitely deserve this title.”
In the paddock of the popular brand trophy series, there is no doubt about this. Jeroen Bleekemolen has been the most consistent driver of the year. He not only won the two season-opening rounds in Bahrain and extended his points’ lead with victories in Istanbul and Spa-Francorchamps, but also managed to climb the podium twelve times from 13 races this season.
Jeroen Bleekemolen inherited his passion for motorsport – and his talent. His father Michael runs a kart track and even competed in Formula 1 in the late seventies. Since gaining his first racing experiences at the wheel of a kart in 1995, Jeroen had to overcome many hurdles on his way to becoming a successful race driver - a fact of which he is proud. “Nothing was handed to me on a plate,” he says, “I fought for everything myself.” Swapping to Formula Ford in 1998, he immediately secured championship honours. Further highlights of his career were the Formula Audi Palmer, Formula 3, FIA GT Championship and the DTM. Moreover, he contested the A1 GP formula series for the Netherlands. His first outing as a guest driver in the 2005 Indianapolis round of the Porsche Supercup yielded an excellent third place. At his first complete Supercup season last year he claimed the title.
Whilst Jeroen Bleekemolen has no hesitation in using his elbows on the race track, off the circuit he is more reserved. His humility makes him one of the most popular ambassadors of his craft - something that is also appreciated by his mechanics, with whom he often sits after the work is done. “I’m always 100 percent motivated,” he says, “but it’s also important to have fun.” His willingness to be as close as possible to the people responsible for his successes is aptly demonstrated by the fact that at some races he sleeps in the paddock – in a bunk in the team truck – albeit not as much as last year. “My girlfriend Nathalie joins me more at the races now,” he explains, “and I don’t expect her to do this.”
His successes in the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup and at the Le Mans 24 hour race made 2008 not only the most outstanding season of his career, but also gave the best proof of his diversity. During that year he drove all Porsche race cars: At the wheel of the Porsche RS Spyder he won the LMP2 class in Le Mans, in the 911 GT3 RSR he contested the Dubai 24 hour race, in the ADAC GT Masters series race at Norisring he drove a 911 GT3 Cup S, in the Porsche Carrera Cup and the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup he sat in the cockpit of a 911 GT3 Cup. “That was a crazy year,” he says looking back on his 60 races during 2008. His response to contesting only 53 races this year: “I’m not getting any younger,” he smiles. Well, on 23rd October he celebrates his 28th birthday.
Winning the title at Abu Dhabi is also something of a late birthday present. And a great chance to look back on a successful year. This is what Jeroen Bleekemolen said about ...
... the 2009 season:
“A fantastic year. I climbed the podium twelve times – who else has achieved this? I was fast at all races and didn’t make any silly mistakes. This title makes the season perfect.”
... his successful title defence:
“Winning the title again shows that last year’s success was not a coincidence and that I wasn’t just lucky. We had some other fast drivers and good teams competing this year. I’m proud that despite driving for a new team I still managed to become champion again.”
... the key to his success:
“Purely and simply consistence. And of course my team’s effort. They always managed to put a perfectly set-up car on the track for me. I was in a winning vehicle on every circuit. Even when things didn’t run so well, I was always fast enough to bring home a podium result.”
... his best victory:
“The season-opening round in Bahrain – winning there was particularly rewarding. It was the first race with my new team and I didn’t really know how things were going to pan out. After winning there I had no more doubts.”
... his Konrad Motorsport team:
“It’s great working for this team. The people have their feet on the ground and their hearts in the right place. Motorsport is their life. They work until the drop, but they know how to have fun. It’s really very important to find the right balance. Franz Konrad knows a great deal about racing, he has driven all his life and has been a team boss for very many years. You can’t pull the wool over his eyes.”
... his strengths:
“I am able to bring home a decent result even when the situation is not so good. I can get up to speed very quickly which gains time to further improve the car. This is crucial in the Supercup because you have very little practice time at your disposal.”
... his plans for 2010:
“Nothing has been set in concrete as yet. But I wouldn’t mind another year in the Supercup.”
... his dreams:
“I can compete in races and make a living from it – that is a huge privilege that not many can enjoy. I’m grateful for what I have achieved and I look forward to that which is still to come.”