D: Thomas Hylkema to debut at Spa

THOMAS HYLKEMA PREPARES FOR FORMULA BMW DEBUT AT SPA MAARN, MAY 22 2007 - In exactly a month from now Thomas Hylkema will make his official debut in the German Formula BMW championship at the street circuit of the Norisring. The young talent...


MAARN, MAY 22 2007 - In exactly a month from now Thomas Hylkema will make his official debut in the German Formula BMW championship at the street circuit of the Norisring. The young talent will be part of the renowned Eifelland Racing squad this season. The team, from the German city of Dudeldorf, has completed its driver line-up after signing Hylkema. Next to the Dutchman the German top team will field cars for Daniel Campos, Jens Klingmann and Tiago Geronimi. As part of his preparations the protege of racing driver Phil Bastiaans completed a lot tests in the Formula BMW and he is eager to make the next step in his early racing career. Today Hylkema got through a successful test day at the Belgian Spa-Francorchamps circuit. A short impression of his preparations for the upcoming Formula BMW debut.

Thomas Hylkema started his racing career in 2003 in a kart. Hylkema competed in the Vortex Rok in 2004 and 2005 for Martijn Koene and twice finished on the fifth place in the final championship standings. Last year he moved to the Benelux Racing League Light and drove for the Colle Rental & Sales Racing Team. Not without success. The student, at the Delft University of Technology, won the race at the Nurburgring and started from pole position once at Zolder. In this series he got in touch with the experienced Phil Bastiaans. The two became close friends and cooperation soon became a fact. Hylkema wanted to make the next step in his career. Formula BMW seemed to be the best option, because most of the races are held as support races at the DTM, WTCC and Formula 1 weekends.

To get a good impression of the teams Bastiaans and Hylkema went to the DELL Formula BMW World Final at Valencia (Spain), where the best 36 drivers of four different Formula BMW championships competed against each other for the title 'World Champion Formula BMW". After several talks with, among others, Eifelland Racing, Hylkema was invited for a test with the team. At the Braga circuit Hylkema seized the opportunity to test for two days. He made his first kilometres in the Formula BMW car on Portuguese soil and was only a second behind more experienced Jens Klingmann. To improve his knowledge of the tracks he will race on this year, the resident of Maarn tested a lot on these circuits during the last couple of months. Hylkema missed out on the first couple of races of the new Formula BMW championship on purpose, to be able to concentrate full on the test schedule. The 18- year old driver opted to test the Formula BMW car at Hockenheim, Zolder and Oschersleben instead of racing.

Today Hylkema tested at Spa-Francorchamps in his Formula BMW. He made a reconnaissance lap on used tyres on the fast circuit that has had some drastic changes. Hylkema and his team made a constant progress during the test. After a careful run in of the car and making several adjustments to the set-up (wing settings in particular) his lap times became faster and faster. In the final run Hylkema was good to go for yet another fast lap on new tyres when it suddenly started to rain. He ended the day of testing on rain tyres. Hylkema did around 60 laps on the 6.976 meter long circuit. On June 5 Hylkema will once again test at the fast circuit in the Belgian Ardennes and he will conclude his testing programme a day later at Zandvoort. With enough kilometres under his belt the rookie will then prepare for his race debut in the Formula BMW championship at the Norisring. Hylkema, who currently prefers racing over his study is looking forward to his debut.

THOMAS HYLKEMA: "Formula BMW is a world wide renowned feeder series for young talented racing drivers. Drivers like Ralf Schumacher, Christian Klien, Nico Rosberg and more recently Sebastian Vettel found their way into F1 via the Formula BMW. Because all the races are driven during the Formula 1, WTCC and DTM weekends, the series is also sure of broad media attention. The use of identical cars, engines, tyres and fuel for all competitors makes sure that the driver is the most important factor in this championship. It is an ideal opportunity for me to start in this series. I am now with an excellent team and have a highly experienced team owner that wants to teach me everything I need to know. I also get valuable tips from Phil Bastiaans and my trainer Rutger Simons. After a decent preparation in which I got to know several different sorts of tracks, I am now really looking forward to finally make my debut in a Formula BMW at the Norisring!"

-credit: insightF1

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Ralf Schumacher , Nico Rosberg , Sebastian Vettel , Jens Klingmann , Thomas Hylkema , Tiago Geronimi , Phil Bastiaans