Bleekemolen Back in No. 33 Mercedes-AMG at Road America Looking for Win No. 6 at Track
Thursday, August 2, 2018

There’s clearly something at the four-mile Road America facility that fits Dutch racer Jeroen Bleekemolen’s driving style, as he’ll go for his sixth IMSA race victory at the track in Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Continental Tire Road Race Showcase.

Bleekemolen claimed three straight American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GTC class victories at the track in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and then took back-to-back WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona (GTD) wins with co-driver Ben Keating in 2015 and 2016. He and Keating are teamed up again this weekend in the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 race car.

“I don’t know exactly what it is, but I loved the track from the first time I came there,” Bleekemolen said. “Things always went my way somehow and I’ve had some crazy races there. I had one race where I started the last lap in third and still came out first with a flat tire over the line. Somehow, I always had some luck there and it always worked out. Besides that, for me, it’s one of the coolest tracks in the whole world.”

And Bleekemolen knows a thing or two about cool tracks in the world. He’s been one of the busiest drivers in sports car racing for several years and estimates he’ll compete in 25 races this season all over the world. Just last weekend, Bleekemolen competed in the 24 Hours of Spa, co-driving the No. 540 Black Swan Racing Porsche with Americans Tim Pappas and Marc Miller at another of the world’s “cool” race tracks, Spa Francorchamps in Belgium.

It’s a lot of traveling for sure, but it’s really cool to go from the Spa 24-hour to Road America,” Bleekemolen said. “I’ve heard a lot of European guys who have driven Road America say Road America is the Spa of America. It’s such a cool track and to have them both in a row, it’s kinda cool.

“I love the place and it’s been a crazy schedule, but on the other end, it keeps you really motivated and fit and ready to go. You’re always driving and do so many laps, so you have so much feel. I think it only helps to drive a lot.”

Bleekemolen feels pretty good about his chances this weekend at Road America. Beyond the fact that he’s won five races there, he and Keating recently picked up their first victory of the season in last month’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

“I think we should be pretty strong because Ben is really on top of his game,” Bleekemolen said. “He’s really quick and he’s always quick at Road America as well. The whole team is really excited to go there. It’s not only my favorite race, but I think for most of the guys on the team, it’s their favorite race. We’re really looking forward to going there and I think we should be in a strong position.”

The Continental Tire Road Race Showcase starts at 2:30 p.m. ET (1:30 p.m. local time) and will be televised live on FS1. It also will be carried live by IMSA Radio on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius 119/XM 202/App 972). Tickets are available now at RoadAmerica.com.

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