Sebastiaan Bleekemolen: “Our wish is to enter two EuroNASCAR cars!”
Team Bleekemolen is considering to enter two cars in the 2022 EuroNASCAR season – This could bring both Michael Bleekemolen and Melvin de Groot in the series
The 2022 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) is casting its shadow ahead: Sebastiaan Bleekemolen considers entering two EuroNASCAR cars with his Team Bleekemolen next year. This would also solve the luxury problem of having two EuroNASCAR 2 drivers in the ranks. Michael Bleekemolen had handed the car over to Melvin de Groot in the second half of 2021 due to injury, but the 72-year-old wants to come back.
“It’s a tricky question,” Bleekemolen said when asked by ‘Leadlap.net’ about plans in 2022. “We only have one car in the team, but three drivers. However, it is now the end of 2021 and we will certainly find a solution. Our wish is to run two cars next season anyway.” Currently, the team brings the #69 Ford Mustang to the tracks, which is regularly driven by Sebastiaan (EuroNASCAR PRO) and his father Michael Bleekemolen (EuroNASCAR 2).
Sebastiaan Bleekemolen is overall pleased with the 2021 season, especially because he himself regularly finished on the podium in EuroNASCAR PRO in the first half of the season. “We did a good job this year, but had technical issues with the car in the second half of the year, which is why we could have done even better.” Bleekemolen ultimately finished the season eighth overall with four top-5 and eight top-10 results.
Team learned from mistakes
“We learned from the ups and downs during the year,” says the 43-year-old from Aerdenhout happily. “The biggest challenge was the preparation and the work with a partly new squad. After a year, we now know each other much better and that makes our team even stronger for the future.” Bleekemolen is certain that the family team will once again be fighting at the top next season and will take the next step in European NASCAR racing.
The Dutchman made his breakthrough at the season opener in Valencia: “The highlight on the track was the first podium in Spain. I was surprised by the performance myself and was running in fourth place. I wasn’t really faster than Vittorio Ghirelli, so I had to be clever. I outsmarted him and overtook him with two laps to go. I told my team about my plan on the radio and then it worked. That was pretty damn cool. I’m also happy with the front-row start in Most, because we were pretty damn fast there.”
Ironman and injuries
Bleekemolen also had a lot of fun off the track during the 2021 NWES season, “Off the track it was a real treat this year. I just enjoyed all the race weekends. But the highlight was my participation in the Ironman in Barcelona. I finished 75th out of 1,500 participants there – after three years of healing from my Achilles tendon injury. If you had asked me a year ago if I could finish an Ironman, I would have said no for sure.”
At the age of 71, his father Michael Bleekemolen competed in the EuroNASCAR 2 championship for the Legend Trophy for drivers over 40. However, the former Formula 1 driver was injured in an accident in a GT2 car at Spa and had to give up the cockpit for a replacement. Team Bleekemolen found it in de Groot, who immediately put in a strong performance. The Dutchman drove his first race in Croatia and collected one top-5 and three top-10 results in six races.
De Groot impressed with good results
“Melvin is one of my best friends and we’ve been racing together for over 20 years, which is why it was great when he joined the team,” Sebastiaan Bleekemolen said of his father’s replacement. “Hopefully Michael will be able to drive again soon, that’s our main goal. Melvin’s results were very good as he never tested in this car. Grobnik was completely new for both of us. We had problems with the car there, which is why we knew he would be even better at Zolder.”
Whether Team Bleekemolen will field two cars in the EuroNASCAR 2 championship due to the luxury issue will be decided before the season opener on April 9-10 at the Hockenheimring in Germany. One thing is certain: the team has tasted blood with the good performances in 2021 and is therefore hot to top the solid results in the 2022 NWES season.