There are not many busier drivers than Jeroen Bleekemolen. The Dutchman races almost every weekend of the year in something, somewhere. As he prepared for another trip to the US, we caught up with the globetrotting superstar to tell us about his aims and objectives for the Baku World Challenge aboard the Callaway Corvette
You did two races for Callaway Competition this year. Is this when they offered you to race with them for the Baku World Challenge?
“Yes, the opportunity for them came along to join the field and then they were looking to put a very competitive package together. I did only two races with them but they were really successful, taking pole position twice, so it made sense to get together again. “
Did you accept right away?
“Yes, I did because I think it is great to be back in the FIA GT Series, which is a very nice series. I really wanted to be part of it again and I think that the first time I race in FIA GT Series was already 13 years ago (Note: JB also still holds the record as the youngest FIA GT race winner, at 19 in 2001 at Hungaroring)! So, it is really great to be back, especially to the season’s finale in Azerbaijan for the Baku World Challeng. It seems to be a very nice event so I am looking forward to it!
Have you already had a look at the track? What do you think?
“No, actually, not at all. I will not be able to see anything until late because I will only arrive there on Thursday evening unfortunately. Because now I am on my way to America for testing in preparation for next season in the new series, so I will concentrate on that first. I still have not seen even a map of the layout of the Baku track yet, but I spoke to people who drove there last year. I heard that the track has changed since last year but I heard some really good stories about it so I am sure that we will have a lot of fun. In the end, the street circuits you just go out there and see what the limits are.
You have lots of varied experience of street circuits all over the world, do you enjoy racing on them?
“Yes, actually that is my favorite. Running in the streets is just more challenging. Talking about track limits just take away all the challenge of a track, whereas when you run between the walls, you don’t think about track limits, you just go as fast as you can. That is what I really like. I have done most of the street circuits all over the world so I am happy that I can do this one too! My favorite street circuit is Monaco because it is such a high-profile race. Maybe if you just look at the track it is not the most special one but this is just the whole event, with the atmosphere, and the history. I won it twice in Porsche Super Cup, actually. On other street circuits, I also won at Long Beach in ALMS, and Beijing in A1 GP. So, usually it goes pretty well for me.
You are used to driving all sorts of cars, and you already raced in the Corvette. Do you think it is going to be good on a street circuit, and especially the Baku World Challenge track?
“I think the Corvette is a good car, which was very competitive in Germany, where we were the quickest in qualifying and also during the race. The difficult thing for us will be to see how the car goes with the Pirelli tyres. But of course it is going to be very close. But anyway in FIA GT Series it is always very close, with all the good drivers and teams running in this series. It is not easy to win or to be at the front but it makes it even better if you do it! I always tried to follow the FIA GT Series this season, when I was not racing myself, so I know pretty well who is quick and who has been running at the front!”
Do you know your teammate Daniel Keilwitz well?
“I know him quite well. Of course, on the weekends that I did with Callaway Competition we were not racing in the same car but we got to know each other there. Also, he has been with me (in the same team, not in the same car) during the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring. I think that he is a strong driver because you don’t win the GT Masters by luck. He is very quick, so I am happy to team-up with him.”
What are you looking forward to the most in Baku?
“Hopefully to win! That would be fantastic to go there and win but we know that it is really hard. I am actually looking forward to enjoy it because it is not a place where you think about going racing usually. Unfortunately, I will not have time to stay after the race to visit the country a bit more but I would have loved to as I hear it is beautiful.”To get second by second updates on the Baku World Challenge click on to www.twitter.com/FIAGTSeries and follow #BakuGT