EU3: Silverstone: Eric De Doncker preview

Eric De Doncker better twice than once, but always with the Ford Mustang! Ever since his spectacular final podium place at the 24 Hours of Spa in 2001, at the outcome of the first edition of these 24 Hours reserved for GT cars, Eric De Doncker...

Eric De Doncker better twice than once, but always with the Ford Mustang!

Ever since his spectacular final podium place at the 24 Hours of Spa in 2001, at the outcome of the first edition of these 24 Hours reserved for GT cars, Eric De Doncker became more discreet. A professional golfer, he set his heart on classic cars, creating his own structure, namely Motorsport 98, the name as tribute to the creations of Carroll Shelby, the father of the legendary AC Cobra.

Eric owes this comeback to 'modern' motorsport to his good friend Pascal Witmeur, appointed by Stéphane Ratel to bring to life a new competition, the GT4 European Cup. "One evening Pascal admitted that he was looking for cars . and he had thought of me when dreaming about the Ford Mustang", De Doncker explained. "Seeing I do actually drive a Mustang Shelby on the track, and even in rallies, I did some research on the internet, to discover that the Mustangs competing in the GT class of the Grand-Am in the States could be ideal in GT4. A friend found me a first model, and thanks to Eric Bachelart, I was able to contact the Black Forest team, who owned several, and I placed an order for two additional cars. This operation was possible thanks to Thermosulit, a new partner in Motorsport." Eric himself will be driving one of the Mustang FR 500 GTs, sporting the Thermosulit colours, the other two are scheduled for resale. François Kicq, a friend, also fell in love with the model to such an extent that he will also be competing in the GT4 European Cup with the Thermosulit Motorsport 98 team, with Robert Daivier, well known for his experience and knowledge, preparing the cars. As for the 3rd Mustang, she is awaiting a buyer .

Having taken part in the Equivalency Tests at Nogaro and Dijon, in order to bring the Ford up to the norms, Eric De Doncker was able to appreciate the fun in driving this Mustang. "It is has a 5,0 litres engine with 4 valves per cylinder, developing some 415 bhp, for an overall weight of 1420 kilos. The car's weak point is its weight, and obviously the brakes, but for the rest it is well balanced and pretty impressive! I know that this Mustang will be up there right as from its first appearance in a race, and for this first edition of the GT4 European Cup, I intend to go for gold! However we still have to see how the car is going to react after 40 minutes of racing, as also how it will be able to evolve technically as compared to the other cars in the class."

In fact it will be during the weekend of 5th and 6th May, at the RAC Tourist Trophy in Silverstone that the GT4 European Cup will have its inaugural start. Never one without two and Eric De Doncker will be holding sway in . another class, but always at the wheel of a Ford Mustang. "I have in fact come to an agreement with Andreas Leberle, ex-Zakspeed, where he principally looked after the Saleen cars seen in the FIA-GT these last few years. He decided to set-up his own operation, Top Speed Racing, in order to enter the Ford Mustang FR 500 GT prepared by Multimatic, the client competition department of Ford in the United States. This time around the aerodynamic supports are far more impressive and efficient, and the engine is producing a healthy 550 bhp. The objective is to compete in the entire FIA-GT3 European championship with this car, as also in the 24 Hours of Spa, in one or two rounds of the Belcar, in the 24 Hours of the Ring and one or other meeting of the ADAC GT Masters. I'm really delighted, because this Mustang is virile, and also highly potent ." The message is quite clear, this comeback at the wheel of some modern racing machinery, Eric De Doncker really wanted it to be prestigious! And now its full steam ahead to Silverstone for the start of a great adventure .

-credit: edd

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Stéphane Ratel , Pascal Witmeur , Francois Kicq
Teams Team Zakspeed