Van Merksteijn Motorsport round off the season in style with victory at Silverstone

Van Merksteijn Motorsport round off the season in style with victory at Silverstone

15.09.2008: Van Merksteijn Motorsport round off the season in style with victory at Silverstone

Van Merksteijn Motorsport by Equipe Verschuur rounded off its campaign in the 2008 Le Mans Series in style by winning the LMP2 class in the fifth and final round of the season, the "Autosport 1000 Kilometres of Silverstone". Driving the team's Porsche RS Spyder, Jos Verstappen and Peter van Merksteijn led their class all the way in the 195 lap race which was held in bright and sunny conditions.

For the team, it was the fourth win of the season, in which it already had secured the titles in the LMP2 drivers' and teams' championships and helped Porsche claim the title in the LMP2 manufacturers' standings. In the debut season of the Porsche RS Spyder sports prototype in Europe, Van Merksteijn Motorsport also scored a commanding class win in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

"Winning the final race is a great way to end this season, in which we have enjoyed tremendous success", said Jos Verstappen, the 2008 LMP2 drivers’ champion in the Le Mans Series. "I am very proud of all we have achieved. Everybody involved has been doing a great job", said driver cum team owner Peter van Merksteijn.

Starting from pole position in class, Jos Verstappen had quite an easy run in the first part of the race, being in the car for three stints until Peter van Merksteijn took over during the second safety-car intervention of the race on lap 78. At that time, the Porsche of the Dutch team had a margin of two laps while leading the LMP2 category. The only hiccup was a one-second stop-and-go-penalty for allegedly having used an external battery to fire up the engine of the car on the starting grid.

"In fact, we didn't use the battery at all, we just had put it on the car as a precaution", said team manager, Frans Verschuur. "However, the stewards decided otherwise and we had to accept this." The slight delay didn't affect the team's position as Jos Verstappen remained in the lead as he got back onto the track again.

After Peter van Merksteijn's two stints, Jos Verstappen got back into the car on lap 152 and went on to drive the car across the finish line for the last time this season. "I have had a great first season in sportscar racing, said Verstappen. "I have learned a lot in this discipline, which was entirely new to me. Working with this team was a great experience and I rate our victory at Le Mans and the titles in the Le Mans Series among the biggest achievements in my career."

Peter van Merksteijn commented: "For our team, the season could hardly have been any better. For me, it was a very nice experience as well and I have really enjoyed every minute of it. Jos has shown that he is an outstanding driver and lets also not forget the performance of Jeroen Bleekemolen who contributed to our victories at Le Mans and the Nürburgring."

Whether and how the team will continue its activities with the Porsche RS Spyder remains yet to be seen. "I am proud that we have been able to contribute a little bit to Porsche’s great racing heritage in the first season with the RS Spyder in Europe. Now we will consider all the options and will decide on future activities in due course", said Peter van Merksteijn.

Silverstone (UK), Le Mans Series. LMP2 race result: 1. Verstappen-Van Merksteijn (Ned), Porsche RS Spyder, 191 laps in hours (avg. 172.697 km/h). 2. Lienhard-Theys-Lammers (Sui-Bel-Ned), Porsche RS Spyder, 4 laps, 3. Amaral-Pla (Por-Fra), Lola AER, 6 laps.

Final LMP2 drivers standings: 1. Verstappen, 48 points, 2. Van Merksteijn, 38 points, 3. Nielsen and Elgaard, 32 points.

Final LMP2 teams standings: 1. Van Merksteijn Motorsport, 48 points, 2. Team Essex, 32 points, 3. Horag Racing, 25 points.


- René de Boer - photo Van Merksteijn


15.09.2008 / MaP

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