Under the Lid – Mathieu Detry

News | May 19, 2021

One of the newer additions to the 24H SERIES’ TCE division, this young Belgian only made his series debut at the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO in 2019. In admittedly impressive fashion, as his first, in what has since turned into many, outings aboard the AC Motorsport Audi RS 3 LMS ended with 2nd in-class. Prior to that, Mathieu Detry was already a winner in the highly competitive TCR Benelux, finishing 3rd overall in 2017, and subjugated his karting days in 2013 with runs in the Legends Cars Cup in France and the VW Fun Cup, both of which he still races in to this day. 

 

Turns out Mathieu Detry is also a keen fan of street circuits and Cillian Murphy. 

Name?

“My name is Mathieu Detry.”

Age? You can lie about that if you want…

“Oh, that’s okay. I’m 24.”

Where and when was your first ever car race, and how old were you?

“That was the Legends Cars Cup in France. It was at Magny-Cours and I was 16.”

What is the best moment of your racing career so far?

“Probably my first victory in TCR Benelux. That was four years ago now in Zolder, and it was very cool [competing] against drivers like Tom Coronel. I started from pole position, and every time I’d” – ahem, ‘fluff’! – “my start. But that one race, I got away properly and went on to take my first win. That was a big moment for me.”*

 

*During a successful July weekend at Zolder, Mathieu set the fastest lap en-route to 2nd place in the event’s Qualifying Race, and one day later, he secured his first, and then second, wins of the season with Team WRT. Five more podiums and a points-scoring drive in every race he started that season eventually led to 3rd in the overall standings.

Apart from the Nürburgring, which is your favourite circuit and why?

“I really like street circuits, so I enjoy driving [Circuit de] Pau-Ville in the Legends cars. On the streets, you don’t have room for mistakes: if you miss your braking point, you’re in the wall. Like the Nordschleife. So it’s very challenging and I really like that.”

Describe the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you at a motor race …

“It was last month at Mugello actually. I drove out of the box on my way to the starting grid and I lost a wheel in the pitlane! That’s never happened to me before so that’s probably the strangest thing so far!”

Describe your helmet design to us, and what it signifies…

“My helmet design is nothing significant. I just like the clean design and the colours. There isn’t really a story behind it.”

What is your greatest strength?

“I think it’s my consistency. With a TCR car, you have to be very consistent to keep the speed high, and that’s very important in endurance races like this.”

If Hollywood made a movie about you, who would play you and why?

“Oh! [Long pause] Maybe Cillian Murphy from Peaky Blinders. I really enjoy [the show] and he’s a bad boy. So that tracks!”

What would you like to achieve before retiring?

“It’s a long way away! But honestly, I just want to continue racing and doing well at what I do.”

Tell us a random fact about yourself that your fans might not know…

“I like beers! Not too much, and never before the race!”

 

CREVENTIC - "Otherwise you might lose a wheel in the pitlane…?"

 

“Exactly!”

Finally, what do you enjoy most about competing in the 24H SERIES?

“I enjoy the multi-class racing. It’s really cool to manage the traffic when the GT3 cars come past. That’s a big challenge, especially if it’s a full grid. And I enjoy the chill paddock too. It’s like a little vacation.”

Mathieu Detry was speaking with Quinten Kentie and James Gent at the 2021 Hankook 12H MUGELLO. Images courtesy of Petr Frýba. Images courtesy of Petr Frýba. You can also check out this story in the 2021 Hankook 12H CIRCUIT PAUL RICARD magazine, available for download at the link below.

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