Sports cars: Veekay invited by TDS Racing to the 24 Hours of Daytona
The 2023 motorsport season also begins for Rinus ‘VeeKay’ van Kalmthout at Daytona International Speedway. The 22-year-old Dutchman has been invited by TDS Racing to take part in the 24 Hours of Daytona. VeeKay finished second in last year’s legendary endurance race.
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Where European racing classes often run until November, the IndyCar calendar there normally ends in mid-September. As a result, Ed Carpenter Racing driver Rinus VeeKay faces a long winter break. However, the young Dutchman is not bored. In addition to tight gym schedules, VeeKay and his ECR engineer, Matt Barnes, regularly visit Chevrolet’s simulator in Charlotte to prepare for the upcoming IndyCar season.
Prior to joining the #21 Bitcoin Racing team with BitNile Chevrolet, VeeKay will be heading to the iconic Daytona racetrack for the third time in his career. The talented 20-something was invited to take part in the 24 Hours of Daytona by the very competitive TDS Racing, which has handled the registration of Racing Team Netherlands for the past few years and is therefore familiar with the racing business of VeeKay.
TDS Racing is a renowned team in the endurance world. The French team of Jacques Morello and Xavier Combet are multiple champions in the European Le Mans Series and are betting on a stay in the American IMSA championship for 2023. The French team does so with two cars, one of which is driven by Giedo van der Garde, among others. VeeKay will be in action with the #11 TDS Racing car. His teammates include Peugeot factory driver Mikkel Jensen, youngster Scott Huffaker and fast Pro/Am Steven Thomas.
The TDS quartet of VeeKay, Jensen, Huffaker and Thomas obviously have their sights set on winning the 24 Hours of Daytona in the LMP2 class, but the competition is also fierce. VeeKay’s IndyCar colleagues Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin, for example, will participate on behalf of one of the rival teams. The LMP2 class should have at least ten teams vying for overall victory.
For VeeKay this is officially the third participation in the 24 Hours of Daytona, but unofficially the second. In 2021, the IndyCar driver, who had just been crowned Rookie of The Year, was allowed to join the DragonSpeed team, but was unable to drive due to a crash by one of his colleagues. In the 2022 edition, VeeKay shared the Racing Team Netherlands car with Van der Garde, Frits van Eerd and Dylan Murry. After a late catch-up, the quartet finished second in the LMP2 class, thanks in part to VeeKay performing some daring overtaking maneuvers.
“I’m really looking forward to racing at Daytona again,” said a delighted VeeKay of the United States. “Second place at the beginning of this year, with Racing Team Netherlands, is a great experience. Through this race, I have developed a lasting love for endurance racing. When TDS Racing called me to ask if I wanted to race for them at the next A 24 Hours of Daytona, I didn’t have to think twice.”
Although VeeKay realizes that the LMP2 competition at Daytona is fierce, he hits the Florida track with a goal. “With Racing Team Netherlands I finished second, so now I really want to win the race. Mikkel, Scott and Steven definitely have the same goal. In the person of Mikkel we have a platinum driver, Scott is a solid silver and Steven is one of the best bronze riders. With this combination, we can’t aim for anything other than victory.”
The reunion with TDS Racing is good for VeeKay. “As a Racing Team Netherlands driver, I have seen how professional things are at TDS Racing. Jacques and Xavier know exactly what they want and also have a lot of experience in endurance racing. TDS Racing is a team that only aims for the highest achievable and that suits my own goals.
“We are delighted to be working with Rinus again for this next edition of the 24 Hours of Daytona,” said Xavier Combet, team manager and shareholder of TDS Racing. “What I particularly appreciate about Rinus is his professionalism and his winning mentality. We are convinced that Rinus is an asset for the #11 car and that he, together with Steven, Scott and Mikkel, has a good chance to win the match.”
The 24-hour race at Daytona International Speedway will begin on Saturday, January 28, 2023. The match begins around 7:40 p.m. Dutch time and can be followed via Ziggo Sport’s Racing channel. Several workouts will be held ahead of the 24-hour weekend, as well as the Roar Before The 24. This preparation event is scheduled for the weekend of January 20-22, 2023.
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