Bas Leinders, Maxime Martin and Markus Palttala will be reunited this season in the #3 BMW Z4 GT3. The Marc VDS trio won two Blancpain races last season and Leinders and Martin qualified on pole position for the prestigious 24 Hours of Spa last season, results they are determined to improve upon as they do battle for the 2012 championship title.
Experienced GT campaigners Bert Longin, Mike Hezemans and Henri Moser will team up to drive the Marc VDS Racing Team’s second BMW Z4 GT3 this season.
A five-time winner of the 24 Hours of Zolder, Longin brings a wealth of endurance racing experience to the Marc VDS Racing Team. The 46-year-old Belgian took three podium finishes in last year’s Blancpain Endurance Series, which, with a fourth place at the showcase 24 Hours of Spa race, saw him finish the season third in the series standings.
Hezemans is also an experienced GT racer, having regularly contested the GT Championship since it’s inception in 1997. The 42-year-old Dutchman raced the last two seasons in the GT1 World Championship, but has also made regular appearances in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Spa, which he has won on two occasions.
Moser, from Geneva in Switzerland, is just 24-years-old but has a track record as equally impressive as his co-drivers. The Swiss driver was crowned GT3 European Champion in 2007, finished on the podium and first in class at the 2009 24 Hours of Spa and has taken race wins in both GT Masters and GT Open. In 2011 Moser finished top ten in the Blancpain Endurance Series standings.
The Marc VDS Racing Team will get their 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series campaign underway on 20th March, during an official two-day test at the Paul Ricard circuit.
“There are a few reasons why I was keen to join the Marc VDS Racing Team this season. Firstly, they are focussed on contesting one championship, at a very professional level and with a very quick car. They are also a Belgian team and I’ve known Marc van der Straten for many, many years. Both Marc and his team are really motivated to win the Blancpain title this year and that’s my motivation also. Last year I was third in the series standings and fourth in the 24 Hours of Spa. With the Marc VDS Racing Team and the BMW Z4 GT3, I hope it will be possible to win both the series and its most prestigious race.”
“Driving for the Marc VDS Racing Team was the best option for me this season. My teammate from last year, Nicky Catsburg, has told me how competitive the BMW Z4 GT3 is and now I’m looking forward to finding out for myself. I have two experienced co-drivers in the car with me; Bert I have known for a long time, and Henri was on the podium with me when I won the 24 Hours of Spa in 2009. To win this championship you need to be in the top five at every race, and that’s what I’m aiming for this year.”
“I’m happy to be joining the Marc VDS Racing Team for the coming season. They are an experienced and professional team, as their success in both the GT1 World Championship and Blancpain Endurance Series last year showed quite clearly. The BMW Z4 GT3 has already proved to be a competitive package and I think it will be a strong car again this year. With a good team and a strong driver line-up, I hope we will see the two Marc VDS BMW’s pushing each other at the front this season, especially at the 24 Hours of Spa.”
Bas Leinders: Team Principal
“I’m pleased to be able to welcome Bert, Mike and Henri to the Marc VDS Racing Team. Our aim this season was to field two cars capable of winning races and fighting for the championship, and signing drivers of Bert, Mike and Henri’s calibre for the second of our BMW Z4 GT3 cars means we’re well on the way to achieving this goal. Now we must work to ensure that both cars are fully prepared and ready for the official test at Paul Ricard later this month.”