8 Feb 2014
Another podium for Dennis van de Laar in Palm Beach.
PALM BEACH – 8 February 2014
The second event in the Florida Winter Series took place on 4th & 5th of February at the Palm Beach International Raceway. After Dennis van de Laar claimed the win during the opening event and the first race in the history of the Florida Winter Series at Sebring, he managed to fight for podium places during all three races this weekend. After qualifying sessions where he came fourth twice, the races were –due to minimal differences between the drivers- thrilling and consistent for the Dutchman from Zandvoort. Despite of a failing engine at the beginning of the second race, he was able to fight his way back to the front of the field, hereby showing his right race mentality.
Dennis van de Laar:
“After Sebring I managed to maintain my speed, and was able to fight for top positions at Palm Beach. We had expected to see minor differences between the top guys of the field, given the fact that the track is only 3.2 kilometres long and certainly not as challenging as the Sebring track. This was exactly what happened during qualifying. I came fourth for both races with a gap between P1 and me of only 0.15 seconds. At this track the smallest details matter, even a slipstream can make a crucial difference. I was unable to tackle it completely, because the balance of the car was too much oversteering. We tried to adjust the car after qualifying that afternoon for the first race, to reduce the oversteer, but it was the wrong direction. I came in fourth, very shortly after third.
The second race I started in eighth place, due to the reversed grid system. After a strong first lap, I managed to climb directly to third position. Unfortunately, the turbo sensor ruined my race. The engine lost its power four times and I had to reduce my speed too second gear to regain power. Nevertheless, I found my way back into the race and even established the fastest lap time. Eventually, I came in fourth.
A few hours later the third race took place. I had already used my good tires during the second race, because they predicted rain in the afternoon. My estimation proved to be right, however, the organization decided to advance the race, to enable a race on a dry track. This decision forced me to drive on the same slicks I used during that morning race.
My mission changed and I wanted to survive as best as possible and try to profit from mistakes other drivers made. After a few adjustments were made on the car, the balance and speed were very good, enabling me to move forward and take one position. After that, I closed the gap to the P2 and I was ready to attack for the win. Unfortunately, the race ended early, because the predicted heavy rain started to pour down. Too bad, because I was up for the challenge. Anyway the goal to prepare myself in the best possible way for the FIA F3 season with the PREMA Powerteam, is the main focus here. By working with my engineers during the Florida Winter Series, I will be ready for the new season and will already be acquainted with the way the PREMA team operates. That is the main reason I’m here.’
The final two rounds in the Florida Winter Series will be held at the oval of the Homestead Speedway, where there are two varieties of racing. The third weekend is scheduled on 12 – 14 February and the last weekend on 17 – 19 February.
Who is Dennis?
A boy with a dream
Hi and welcome to my website. My name is Dennis van de Laar and I was born 3 February 1994. For as long as I can remember I have had a dream of becoming the absolute best in motorsport. At the age of 14 I started racing. At that time I achieved lap times of 2:07 at the circuit Zandvoort with a Suzuki Swift. After a season of Formula Renault 2.0 that lap time was down to one minute and a half in the Formula 3. This didn’t happen on its own, it was the result of hard work. Not a minute goes by without racing being top of mind for me. Testing in the car or simulator, working out at the gym, running at the beach and analysing data have become my daily routine. At the same time I managed to get my VWO (preparatory scholarly education) diploma, which proves education and top sport dó go together.
Florida Winter Series - Palm Beach
Florida Winter Series - Palm Beach
Qualifying 1 - Palm Beach International Raceway
Florida Winter Series - Simulator
Florida Winter Series - Mechanic for a day
Florida Winter Series - Sebring
Qualifying 1 - Sebring International Raceway
De perfecte race - Jongensdroom
Rolex 24 Hours @ Daytona Speedway
Join me in my Formula 3 @ Zandvoort
Preparing the 2013 season @ my gokart
Flip @ Lausitzring
First Formula 3 training sessions @ Zandvoort
Discovery Magazine Kia Optima Hybrid Drivingtest
Formule Renault 2.0 @ Zandvoort Masters F3
Fifth Gear - Promo
14 years old, training with my Suzuki Swift car
1 team, 1 goal
The team I’m racing for is the Italian Prema Powerteam: a team with a past of winning lots of championships, including the last 3 years of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Prema Racing was founded in 1983 by Angelo Rosin. From 1994, as a consequence of changes within the company, with the transformation into Prema Powerteam the Team's activities increased at an international level. Nowadays, PREMA is one of Europe's leading international racing teams. It is in fact the third Italian Team (after F1 Teams: Ferrari and Toro Rosso) based on the Team's dimension, importance and Championships in which it participates.
The team's tasks are not limited to just the tuning and set up of its racing vehicles; it also aims to deliver the complete training of each driver, from the development of technical knowledge to the improvement of physical fitness.
High down-force, low power
The engine power in Formula 3 is relatively low, according to racing standards. We drive a 250hp, 2-litre Volkswagen engine. On the other hand Formula 3 is known for its high down-force level. The massive front- and rear wing and slick tires result in extreme grip on the track. The car only weighs 550 including the driver. This limited weight gives the car the ability to achieve extremely high cornering speed and because of this I have to endure G forces up to 3.5 G.
Packing the bags
Formula 3 races take place in the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Italy, Austria and Spain, with the traditional final race of the season in Macau, China. It is safe to say; hotels, racetracks and planes have become my home away from home.
Welcome to my world
Racing is all about numbers and lines. Everything I do in the car is being logged, from a movement of my steering wheel to the travel of my shock absorbers. Together with my two engineers I analyse the data to improve myself on the track and to be able to provide the car with a better setup. You can see some of these statistics on the screen on the right side.