F3

ATS: 2009 champion Laurens Vanthoor profile

The Formula 3 Cup Champion 2009: Laurens Vanthoor in profile Wolfsburg (22 August 2009). Volkswagen driver Laurens Vanthoor wrote history this weekend after winning the ATS Formula 3 Cup title. No previous Formula 3 Champion in Germany was as...

The Formula 3 Cup Champion 2009: Laurens Vanthoor in profile

Wolfsburg (22 August 2009). Volkswagen driver Laurens Vanthoor wrote history this weekend after winning the ATS Formula 3 Cup title. No previous Formula 3 Champion in Germany was as young as the Belgian. At 18 years, three months and 18 days of age Vanthoor clearly undercuts the previous age record of current Formula 1 driver Nick Heidfeld who was two years older when he won his title. As a result, the team Van Amersfoort Racing driver underlines that he is currently one of the most promising motorsport ^Óstars of tomorrow^Ô.

It was no coincidence that Vanthoor discovered motor racing. "I grew up only a few hundred metres from the race track in Zolder. On top of this, my father Raf races in the Belgian GT, which is why I was able to get a taste for motorsport as a small child,^Ô says the talent looking back. When Vanthoor was ten years old his father bought him his first kart. Trips to the kart track followed the first tests around car parks close to his parents home. Vanthoor made his race debut in September 2004. In the following year he won his first titles in his homeland and France.

In 2008 Vanthoor risked jumping from karting directly into Formula 3 - and has been supported by Volkswagen since then. "He impressed us immediately despite his young age and having never driven a formula car before,^Ô says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "If Laurens continues in this form he can look forward to a bright future.^Ô The youngster attracted plenty of attention during his debut season in the ATS Formula 3 Cup: Two wins, three pole positions and fourth overall in the standings were the results. "He was very fast immediately. Obviously he made a few mistakes at the beginning, but he learnt very quickly and improved constantly throughout the year,^Ô says Team Boss Frits van Amersfoort. "Laurens is incredibly focused on motorsport - I´ve never seen such a trait in other young drivers. It´s the most important thing for him. He wants to get a long way in his career.^Ô Another highlight followed at the end of 2008. Vanthoor started in the Formula 3 World Final in Macau, in which the world´s best talented young drivers compete. He finished the Grand Prix around the extremely difficult street circuit in a sensational sixth position. "The weekend was simply fantastic. I really didn´t expect such a result owing to the strong competition and my lack of track knowledge,^Ô says a delighted Vanthoor who nevertheless remains modest.

The target was clear from the start of current season: To win the ATS Formula 3 Cup title. Unfazed by great expectations Vanthoor impressed again. In the 14 races to date he claimed 9 wins, 10 pole positions and 8 fastest race laps and was crowned champion two race weekends before the end of the season. Vanthoor remains with his feet firmly on the ground despite his great victory. "He hasn´t changed at all and is always very friendly,^Ô says Frits van Amersfoort of his protégé, who also enjoys buying his mechanics a round of Belgian beer after winning a race.

Vanthoor has also been supported by the Belgian Automobile Club RACB since the end of 2007. "It is obviously a great honour for me. As a result, I get a lot of additional attention in my homeland.^Ô There are currently no concrete plans for 2010. "I´d like to step up to the Formula 3 Euro Series with Volkswagen,^Ô says Vanthoor. It goes without saying that Formula 1 is his main goal. "It´s the dream of every racing driver. It´s a long time since a Belgian started a Formula 1 race. However, I still have a long and tough journey in front of me to get there, which is why I concentrate on the next steps of my career.^Ô

-credit: volkswagen

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About this article
Series F3
Drivers Nick Heidfeld , Kris Nissen , Laurens Vanthoor
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport