Amongst the new crop of talent in this year’s ELMS is young Dutch single seater racer Job van Uitert. The 19-year-old has significant boots to fill at RLR M-Sport as 2017 standout Alex Kapadia moves over to Nielsen racing for 2018.
Runner up last season in the Italian F4 Championship with the Jenzer Motorsport team after taking four race victories, van Uitert is in only his fourth season of racing. He’s looking set to impress even further though, judging by his testing pace. More than one observer, including a rival driver, contacted DSC to offer first impressions that more than significantly favourable!
He’ll share the RLR ELMS Ligier JSP3 in the ELMS with the returning John Farano and the now veteran Rob Garofall to produce a convincing trio. The Dutchman will also join Farano in the Michelin LM Cup in a second JS P3 Ligier.
There’s plenty of mileage and seat-time ahead then for the sportscar newcomer.
The DSC Editor bumped into Job not at Snettetton, Silverstone or even Spa though, but in the paddock art Daytona during Rolex 24 Hours week and took some time out to see what makes him tick!
So, first and foremost what are you doing here?
“I’m at Daytona taking some meetings to look into what might be available a little further down the line – after 4 or 5 meetings with Prototype teams as an introduction to their packages, and their levels of expectation.”
What’s it like walking into this environment, having to persuade them that you could be a guy that they might look to trust with a big and important programme.
“Just walking into this paddock and seeing the amount, and the quality of really big budget efforts is really quite impressive.
“From Formula 4 where I have been racing and the driver generally has to bring and maintain the budget the sheer professionalism, and the depth of it in this paddock is really very impressive.
“The number of people working on each car is another eye-opener, but that’s another little insight on just why the budgets are as big as they are.”
It’s early days but when might we see you in your first 24 Hour race
“Well it would not be difficult to approach a team and get involved with a smaller 24 Hour race but for me at the moment the priority is to have a solid programme, learn everything I can about a prototype car and just work on the skill sets I need to get better and better with them. The progression from there comes pretty naturally I think, if we get it all right.
“I hope that the 4 hour ELMS races can help me a fair amount in learning what needs to be learned at this point at least.”
What do you expect to be the main challenge?
“I think the easiest transition for me should be the sharing of the car. I’ve always been a driver that will work with a car the way the team chooses to set it up, as long as it has the balance I can drive around any minor niggles a set-up gives me.
“The major challenge will simply be the length of the stints. To this point the longest I have ever sat in a race car has been around half an hour for a race. I have already done some long runs in testing but you need to get used to it, for one, two hours at a time which could easily become commonplace if this goes the way I want it to.”
What about your physical and mental conditioning?
“You need to be mentally prepared. In my long testing run it was the mental rather than the physical differences that were more of a challenge. Just to keep focused and in a rhythm, move on past any mistake, clear your mind, that’s tough when there are so many inputs and it’s tough too not to try to recover any time lost if you are aiming for a rhythm. You aren’t going to recover it if you are already on the limit.”
And were you getting advice from the team in your ear or were you left to prove your preparedness? “It was left for me to show what I could do, to get back on the programme, they were feeding back on fuel left only.”
And what’s the plan for progression?
“If the early part of the season goes well there is the opportunity to test in LMP2 later this year. I do want to have a plan as early as possible for 2019 and I have always believed that of you test in faster cars than you race it will help your racing.”
And in the longer term?
“I’ve always had a childhood dream. It’s to win Le Mans, to put my name on the list of the Dutch winners of the race. I will be there!”
GTs or Prototypes, GT has likely more opportunity for professional progression, LMP you can win overall. Which way forward?
“GT is not something I am concentrating on just yet. I want to see what I can do with the higher downforce cars first before I look at that option. That’s not to say I don’t have massive respect for the guys racing in GT – I do, the cars are fantastic, the racing is great too, but this is the starting point for me and I want to give my own plan the best chance of success that I can before investigating options. “