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Ask Renger: Laguna Seca

At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Renger van der Zande asked you to send him your questions about the race weekend. In addition to answering all of them, he picked his favorite question to win a signed visor, read his answers and find out the winner below!

Steve: How many air miles have you racked up so far this year? Air miles have been crazy. Especially in January and February, when I was going to Florida 3 times, and then to Dubai and also Australia for Bathurst.

Vickie: With your practice time 1:20.094 what would your time be if you ran track in reverse?
I don’t have a clue! I have never tried it, but it would be fun though!

Michael: Why do you think you are so quick in the rain?
Thank you for that. I do feel very confident in the rain and in this LMPC car especially. In the beginning, I thought it was because the American drivers are not used to it, because I always saw the American racing being stopped when there was rain coming. But that is not the case, as we saw that at Petit Le Mans last year! I think this LMPC car gives great feedback to the driver in the rain and I am confident there.

Ben: What’s the worst race car you’ve ever driven?
I drove a Volvo 360 cup race. For sure that was the slowest car I have driven. But at the same time I had so much fun that day. The racing was truly great fun, and those guys knew their car inside out so the competition was tough!

Ben: Has anyone ever pronounced your name correctly?
Some people call me the Walker Texas Ranger.

Harry: What is the most challenging turn or turns on the racetrack and how much of a compromise do you take to maximize the car?
Laguna Seca is a nonstop track. Never a dull moment. There’s no time to rest or relax, which is what makes it hard. I think the combination of the fast T7, Corkscrew and that fast left hander just after that again makes it with all the height difference very challenging to get a good lap together.

Stephen: How do you fully prepare for a race weekend?
I watch a little bit on onboard for new tracks and if my teammate wants information about the track I work it out, which is a good prep for me too. Next to that, I work with my engineers on what setup we want to use.

Tim: During long stints, what do you do when you need to go to the restroom?
I have” been there and DONE that.”

Tim: In all the years you been racing have you had a favorite race car?
I have raced quite a bit in the Mercedes GT3 SLS and it’s such an iconic race car. I like it a lot.

Baptiste: Which do you prefer, kart racing or prototype racing?
Kart racing is loads of fun, but the real deal is the prototype racing.

Eric: How many spankings is Peter getting on his birthday this year?
That’s not only happening on his birthday.

Jessica: On average, how many wedgies is he afflicted with per race weekend? Those onesie race suits have got to ride.
NO IDEA, and I don’t want to know!

Andrew: If it were up to you, would you change it so PC cars had roofs on them for added safety, or do you prefer driving an open cockpit car?
I do like the open cockpit. There should be some old school racing factors in there and having your head in the wind is one of the better ones.

Danny: What’s the estimated number of shifts during this race?
No idea. It’s a lot!

And the winning question:
David Stunnenberg: Can you describe the feeling you get when you go through the corkscrew the first time during a weekend?
It’s a good question. When I fly all the way from Holland to California, leaving the house, taking the tram and train, a 12 hour flight and a four hour rental car ride, track walk and a jetlagged night of sleep, I am always very happy to jump in my racecar and get that thing to race around! Laguna Seca is a highlight  track for me, and so is the corkscrew. It’s a corner that you go in completely blind, and the first time you can really see the track again is when you are already going down, it’s quite a thrill.  This first time going to the corkscrew you are on cold tyres and honestly you just take it very easy. BUT, it’s that moment once a year of, “Hello crazy corner, I am back!”

 

Congratulations, David! For the rest of you, you’ll have another shot to win a prize next month for the Detroit Grand Prix #AskRenger!

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Popow and van der Zande Land Second Place at Laguna Seca

Alex Popow started the No. 8 ORECA FLM09 in 3rd position, and in his first-ever PC qualifying session at Mazda Raceway, Mark Kvamme qualified 7th. At the start, Alex gained a position to race second, staying close to the race leader for the majority of his stint. He completed his drive time and handed the wheel to van der Zande in 3rd, and by excellent pit stop work, the No. 8 car left the pits side by side with the race leading No. 52 car, with the race series giving the lead to the 52. The battle for the top spot on the podium continued on and came down to the final lap, with the No. 8 Starworks car finishing just 1.736 seconds behind the leader. The No. 88 of Kvamme and Ashley Freiberg had a clean race, but lacked speed, finishing in 7th place.

Quotes

Renger van der Zande
I just want to win, and we were second today. I’m happy, and it was a cool race and a real fight. We had the leaders beat in the pit stop, but in the end, we had to give the position back. Otherwise, it would have been a win, but that’s not an excuse. I lost a position to Stephen Simpson on the restart, and I was a bit unlucky there. It was a shame, otherwise I could have challenged Tom Kimber-Smith in the 52 from the beginning. I had to burn up my tires to pass Simpson and get close to Tom again. We should be happy with a 2nd place, but we’re hungry for that win. Winning is fun, so we’re working on that for next time.

Alex Popow
Another sweet and sour finish today. It’s sweet because we got a second place finish, but that’s not what we’re here for. We’re here for a win. We were fastest in every practice. In qualifying, I couldn’t make it better. We fought the car a little bit everywhere. At least we’re leaving here closer in the championship. Now we’re just two points away, and first and second are tied for the lead. We arrived here in second place, and now we’re in third, but only two points away. The championship is getting even better. We still have a lot of races to go in this championship, so we’ll see what happens.

Mark Kvamme
I had a lot of fun. I did my fastest laps of the weekend during the race. I still have a lot to learn. The team did a great job setting up the car. The most important thing is I had a ton of fun.

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Starworks Motorsports Climbs to Second in Championship Heading into Laguna

Saturday at the Long Beach Grand Prix, Starworks Motorsport picked up its second podium of the season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Co-drivers Alex Popow and Renger van der Zande finished 2nd in the No. 8 ORECA FLM0 in 2nd, climbing from 3rd to 2nd position in the Prototype Challenge Championship following their 3rd place finish at the Twelve Hours of Sebring in February. Teammates Mark Kvamme and Ashley Freiberg earned a top-5 finish in their first street race together in the No. 88 Popcorn Sutton ORECA FLM0, and both while rookies at Long Beach’s street circuit.

A crash brought Friday’s qualifying session to a close early, not allowing drivers and teams to receive the allotted time needed to qualify. The field was assigned to start by points, with Popow and van der Zande in 2nd, and Kvamme and Freiberg in 7th. Popow made a strong show in his stint, keeping the car clean from the typical street course carnage, and not only keeping his position, but pulling away from the rest of the field as he chased Miksha Goikhberg. Twenty-one laps in, after impressively holding his starting position, Kvamme reported to the team his car suffered hard contact from behind. As he pressed on, the team determined the damage was minimal and ordered him to stay on track and keep fighting for position.

As the required minimum drive time was met and pit stops cycled through, Popow pitted in 2nd, giving the No. 8 to van der Zande, and Freiberg took over from Kvamme in 5th. In the No. 8, van der Zande rejoined the field in 4th, but in nine minutes had worked his way up to 2nd position. Lapped traffic hindered van der Zande for many laps, holding him back from perusing the class leader. A caution came out with 30 minutes to go, allowing the 3rd place car of Kyle Marcelli to catch up to van der Zande. As the field went green, the two battled for position, with the Starworks Machine taking 2nd place in class. Freiberg and the No. 88 Popcorn Sutton ORECA FLM0 finished 5th.

Starworks Motorsports currently sits 2nd in the Prototype Challenge class, 8 points behind JDC-Miller Motorsports. The next round of the championship will commence at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, April 29 – May 1. The race will air live, Sunday, May 1 at 6:30PM Pacific on FOX Sports 2.

Peter Baron

Second place was a good result for the No. 8 car. They’ll earn good championship points heading into Laguna. The most exciting thing of the day was to see Mark do so well in his first street race. The No. 88 had a problem-filled first day, and rebounded to get some good momentum. It’s nice to see that car finish well.

Alex Popow
It’s sweet to come out of here with 2nd place, but it’s not what we wanted. We were aiming for a win, but we struggled with the set up and didn’t perform as well as we expected. We lost a lot of time out there fighting the car and made it work for as much as we could. We held Kyle Marcelli’s car to the end, and had a decent finish. We’re still in the points battle and we’ll keep going. We have a 4th, a 3rd and now a 2nd, so Laguna means we’ll have a first place.

Renger van der Zande
It was a very enjoyable race, and I’m not used to fighting like that all the time. I’m not sure we had the pace to win today, and even the P3 car was a lot quicker. It was a good fight with Kyle Marcelli, and we probably both crossed the line a little bit. In the end, we didn’t go off by touching cars. I enjoyed the fight and I hope he did as well. I think P2 was the best we could have done. Alex drove a fanstastic stint, and was very fast. With so little track time, we rolled the dice on set up and it worked. All in all, P2 is great for points.

Mark Kvamme
That race was a lot of fun. The team did a great job in practice, and a car hit me in qualifying. The team did a great job getting the car together for the race. It was a ton of fun. It was my first real time on the track. That was the most laps I did in any stint. The car came together well at the end, and I’m very happy.

Ashley Freiberg
Finishing 5th in our first PC race is a big accomplishment for us. We’ve had a few battles along the way with different mechanical issues popping up during testing and practice, as well as Mark getting hit from behind in qualifying, but everyone worked hard and continued to fight to earn this result. Mark drove a great stint considering how little seat time he has, and I fought through a throttle pedal issue in my stint. I am proud of the result and feel optimistic that we can continue to build on this and have a great year together. I’m ready for Laguna!

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Starworks Motorsports Rebounds to Take Third at 12 Hours of Sebring

After an exhausting 12 Hours of Sebring filled with highs and lows, Starworks Motorsports earned its first podium of the season, finishing on the third step with Renger van der Zande, David Heinemeier Hansson and Alex Popow. The podium puts van der Zande and Popow in third place in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship standings, just six points away from the lead.

With completely new electronics systems just installed in the No. 8 and No. 88 ORECA FLM0s, the Florida based team felt confident of a strong weekend ahead for the 12 Hours of Sebring.

The No. 88 of Renger van der Zande, David Heinemeier Hansson and Alex Popow started P5, and the No. 88 of Sean Johnston, Maro Engel and Michael Lyons started in P7. Despite treacherous weather conditions, including a two hour rain delay, the team raced strong, keeping the cars clean to be there to battle for the lead in the end.

Both cars remained in the fight running in the top four at the halfway point when trouble struck for the No. 8 of van der Zande. The driver reported a possible flat tire, and pitted for the crew to inspect the PC car. The car when back to the garage for repairs, returning five laps later in 7th. From there, the trio pushed hard, despite chances of a podium seeming impossible. With each caution, they gained back lost ground, carefully picking off their competitors.

With four hours to go, the 88’s problems began, with Johnston first reporting an issue with the fuel pump while running third. The team brought it back to the garage and brought the car back out in 7th with three hours to go. In the final hour, a brake failure ended the race early for the No. 88, as Maro Engel pulled the car off to safety.

In the end, the perseverance of the No. 8 led the car to a podium finish, moving them up to third in the championship points. The team next competes at the Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 15-17. Popow and van der Zande will return to the No. 8, while Mark Kvamme and Ashley Freiberg will race in the No. 88.

 

Renger van der Zande
Third place is nice, especially for the championship. We’re 3rd now, and it’s a good effort. I cannot say I’m really happy, because without the failure on the right rear, we would have been fighting for the win in our class. It’s something that’s a shame, but third place at Sebring is always nice. I’m happy with it and it’s still a long season ahead. We’re doing well and getting there slowly.

David Heinemeier Hansson
It’s nice to finish on the podium, but it’s very frustrating to know we had great pace, perhaps the best pace, and then a bolt takes us out of the contention. But we never gave up, and here we are after being six laps down, we get to stand on the podium, so that’s pretty cool.

Alex Popow
It’s a sweet and sour run. We got third place after fighting back a lot. It’s not what we wanted. We knew we could be fighting for a win. At the beginning, we were looking good, just hanging in there. We recovered a little bit, went to the front, when to the back. We were just playing that strategy of keeping the car until the end. The rain played a big role. We were good in the rain, but also one broken bolt put us six laps back. That was the end of our first place fight. The beginning of a fight to try to recover and make a podium. It was almost impossible, but not completely. We had some luck and were able to make it to third place. We’re not happy about a third place, but it’s better than saying out of the race. We’re gaining points for the championship, we’re still fighting until the end of the season.

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Starworks Motorsports Modifies Driver Lineup Heading into Sebring 12 Hour

After a difficult few weeks, Starworks Motorsports will return to Sebring, Florida with a two car effort for the 64th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Field by Fresh from Florida. In late February, one of the team semi-tractor trailers was stolen from the Popano Beach race shop and was eventually found late that night, abandoned in the Everglades, thanks to a tip from a follower on twitter. The team also had to send one of its ORECA FLM0s back to Germany when it reached its maximum time allowed in the United States. Once re-imported, the car had a new motor installed, as well as a complete replacement of all electronics.
“Despite all the struggles of the last month and a half, I think we are ready to get our first win this season,” said Starworks Motorsports owner Peter Baron. “I believe we have the two strongest lineups in our class.”
The team won the event 2012 class with drivers Ryan Dalziel, Enzo Potolicchio and Stephane Sarrazin. Heading into the second race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Starworks will slightly modify its driver lineup from Round One at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Driving the No. 8 ORECA FLM0 will be full time drivers Alex Popow and Renger van der Zande. David Heinemeier Hansson will replace the Daytona lineup of Jack Hawksworth and Chris Cumming, for this event as well as Sebring. Between Popow, van der Zande and Heinemeier Hansson, the No. 8 car represents one Sebring win (Popow) and four podium finishes.
“I’m extremely happy to also have David Heinemeier Hansson in our cars for Sebring and the Petit,” said Baron. “There is no doubt David is one of the fastest silvers out there currently. He was second last year and he’s back to get the win.”
Three Sebring rookies will run in the No. 88 Popcorn Sutton ORECA FLM0, with Daytona drivers Sean Johnston and Maro Engel. Forced to withdraw due to a prior commitment, full season driver Mark Kvamme will be replaced by British racer Michael Lyons. Most recently, the 25 year old finished 2nd in the Blancpain Endurance Pro-Cup in 2015.
“It’s unfortunate that Mark Kvamme could not make it, he will be extremely missed,” said Baron. “We’re happy to introduce Michael Lyons to IMSA racing as he fills in for Mark. Michael comes to us with an exceptional record and a great deal experience in prototype cars.”
“I was thrilled when Peter called me with the opportunity to fill in for Kvamme,” said Lyons. “I’ve known of Starworks for a long time after seeing their success in Europe winning WEC and Le Mans in P2 back in 2012. I’m really looking forward to making my debut race in the United States at such an iconic event as the Twelve Hours of Sebring! With the strong teammates I have in Sean and Maro we should stand a good chance.”
“I believe we have the two strongest lineups in our class,” concluded Baron. “I believe if we can avoid any luck either good, or bad we have two cars that are serious threats for the win.”
The drivers and crew just completed a one day test at Sebring International Raceway in the No. 88, and will resume official practice sessions Thursday, March 17th. The Twelve Hours of Sebring will begin Saturday at 10:40am. For schedule and viewing information, visit imsa.com.

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