Looking forward to Macao Carlo van Dam In 2007, Carlo van Dam won the ATS Formula 3 Cup title for Team Van Amersfoort Racing, thus attracting the attention of several international teams. Afterwards, he contested the 2007 Formula 3 Euro ...
Looking forward to Macao
Carlo van Dam
In 2007, Carlo van Dam won the ATS Formula 3 Cup title for Team Van Amersfoort Racing, thus attracting the attention of several international teams. Afterwards, he contested the 2007 Formula 3 Euro Series season finale for Volkswagen Motorsport to then be signed by Team Tom's Toyota as works driver for the 2008 Japanese Formula 3 Championship. And van Dam tied in with his previous successes. He quickly celebrated his first win and when the season was over, he had secured nine race wins, numerous further podium finishes - and the championship title.
Last year you succeeded in winning the ATS Formula 3 Cup title early. Now you have won the Japanese Formula 3 Championship in your first season. How would you describe your season?
It's crazy: the 2008 season resembled my 2007 ATS Formula 3 Cup season a lot: I secured ten pole positions, nine race wins and - in the end - the title. Now I have won two Formula 3 titles in two consecutive seasons and in two different series - and both times, I did so in superior style. Nonetheless, I had to cope with several challenges, in Japan - particularly at the beginning of the year: on the one hand there was the new country and the completely different way of living and on the other, the on-track situation also differed a lot from what I had experienced in 2007. The team, the car, the tyre and the environment were new to me - and quite obviously, I also didn't know the circuits. And the Japanese Formula 3 Championship provides motor racing on a really high level.
With hindsight: what can you say about the ATS Formula 3 Cup?
One thing is certain: the series also attracts attention far beyond the German borders. Thanks to my ATS Formula 3 Cup title, I attracted a lot of attention in the international motor-racing world, in late 2007. The result: really good contacts - and several offers for the 2008 season. Quite a number of doors wouldn't have opened for me without my ATS Formula Cup involvement. Racing there together with Van Amersfoort Racing also represented the basis for my successes in Japan as I gathered a lot of experience with the Formula 3 car - and regarding the schedule of a racing weekend.
Last year, you could be happy with your Macao debut. What is your goal for this year? To win the event?
In 2007, our pace was good throughout the weekend. Therefore, having to settle for a midfield finish represented a slight disappointment. But we encountered problems at the start and with the car. This year, however, the situation is different. Tom's always had what it took to shine in Macao and last year, they even won the race. We definitely will try to repeat this success. I'm truly looking forward to Macao. There certainly will be a lot of pressure. After all, everybody knows that I have won the ATS Formula 3 Cup and the Japanese Formula 3 Championship while my team prevailed in last year's Macao GP.
This year, you successor as Van Amersfoort Racing driver, Laurens Vanthoor, is going to make his Macao debut. Have you got some advice for him? Usually I'm not to keen on giving my competitors some advice. But those who will race in Macao are aware that they will have to battle it out with the planet's best Formula 3 drivers. It's vital to begin the weekend with a careful and respectful approach. You have to improve lap by lap. At Macao, the sledgehammer approach isn't the right option. A reduced mileage because of an incident in a practice session will cost you dearly, there. In Macao, absolutely everything is possible - even if you aren't the pole sitter.
Have you got plans for the coming season?
Currently I'm just checking what will be the best option for 2009. I really like to live and race in Japan. Therefore, contesting another season there would be a possibility. Here, even the single-seater categories below Formula One have got a high significance. And who knows if I won't find a promising Formula Nippon deal.