Job van Uitert can do what he does best again: This weekend, the 24-year-old Dutchman will drive his first car race of 2023. At Daytona International Speedway, van Uitert will try to win the famous 24-hour race. In addition to eternal fame, a talented twenty-year-old can also win a wonderful gift: the winner will be rewarded with a Rolex watch.
After a brilliant season in the European Le Mans Series, in which Van Uitert managed to convert six race starts into no fewer than four podium finishes and an impressive second place in the final standings, the youngster from Brabant was invited by TDS Racing. The team to participate in the opening of the season for the new year. Officially, the 24 Hours of Daytona is an IMSA American Championship race, but since an additional driver was needed for the long-distance race, Van Uitert was approached to cross the Atlantic.
For Van Yautert, this isn’t his first participation in the 24 Hours of Daytona, though he will complete his first race meters at the legendary circuit on Saturday. That’s because Van Uytert didn’t race in 2021, when he was due to make his debut, due to a teammate’s mistake.
Ahead of the 2023 edition, things are looking good for van Euether, who will share the red-and-yellow No. 35 TDS Racing car with Guido van der Garde, Josh Pearson and François Heriao. The latter, a French driver with a so-called bronze licence, had to qualify the car during the final practice weekend. Heriau put the TDS car into an excellent second, allowing the #35 quartet to start the endurance race from the front row.
Van Uitert and his teammates are participating in the LMP2 class. Ten of the 61 entries will participate in this mini-contest. All LMP2 teams use the same Oreca 07 car, which is powered by a Gibson V8. LMP2 entrants are required to use a quad with at least one driver holding a so-called Bronze License and the other having a Silver Driving License. This was achieved within Van Uitert’s team through the presence of Heriau and Pierson. Van Uitert herself has a golden licence.
Although the 24-hour race is very long and the teams within the LMP2 class are evenly matched, second place on the grid provides a good basis for confidence on the long-distance race course. After all, in terms of speed, the driver with a bronze license is not inferior to the absolute top in the LMP2 competition.
“It looks good,” Van Uitert said after the recent training sessions from the United States. “Our car definitely got faster after the qualifying weekend and feels a little better across the board. Long distances, of course are vital here, fast and my teammates are driving very consistent lap times.”
“The internal team atmosphere within TDS Racing is very good and it pays off on the track. Our team participates with two cars and our quartet corresponds to the four drivers of the sister car. Furthermore, I have ridden with Giedo van der Garde before in teams. I know what to expect from him And so we’re on the same page pretty quickly.”
“Before a 24-hour race you can never say for sure who will finish where, the LMP2 class is very competitive for that. Plus, every long-distance race has its own story, so you need to always be open to change and initiative. I think we have a strong overall group with the No. 35 team from TDS Racing, and so I think we can take a Rolex on Sunday afternoon.”
The Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway starts on Saturday night (Netherlands time) at 7.40pm and logically lasts exactly one day. As a result, there will be an ending around the same time on Sunday night. The race can be followed live in the Netherlands via Ziggo Sport Racing and IMSA TV online.
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