Across an illustrious career, Vincent Radermecker was crowned Belgian Touring Car Champion in 2005, took the ADAC Procar Championship in Germany a year later, has wins to his name in British Formula Ford, the Formula Opel Euroseries and British Formula 3, and even made sporadic race starts with former World Touring Car Champions, RML. Plus, the Belgian is pretty handy with a Jaguar saloon car around the Nürburgring…
“It’s okay! I’m 51.”
“I think it was at Zandvoort, for a Formula Ford in 1990. I would have been between 22 and 23.”
“Oh I’ve had many in 30 years! I have very fond memories of my two years in the British Touring Car Championship [in 1999 and 2000], and the French Super Touring Championship in 2002. Many good experiences. I also have really nice memories of the Dutch team Van Amersfoort Racing*. So, I can’t tell them all, but, yeah, there’s been quite a few!”
*Vincent competed with the team in the Formula Opel Euro Series in 1993
“Nordschelife. Of course!”
“It’s difficult to remember just one! I’m not sure it’s strange, but there have been some big crashes over the years, and these are caused by driving mistakes or sometimes mechanical problems. And that’s the worst, when it’s mechanical problems, because you are a passenger in the car and you are just waiting for the big hit.”
“Wow! I’m not one of those guys who stays with the same colour and style, so I’ve changed it quite a lot. And that’s okay because it shows that life has changed a lot in 30 years. I’m not the same person I was when I was 18 years old.
“At the moment, I really like black and orange together, and white, so I for the last 10 years, the design has included those colours. I also have something on the side of the helmet that I want to keep. It’s a white…it’s not an arrow but I can’t really describe it. But when I give my helmet to the painters, I ask them to keep that, because at night, when you take a picture, it reflects in the car.”
“Again, it’s not one particular thing. You have to be fast across one lap for a qualifying session, but you need to be consistent in the race. I actually think consistency in the race is more important, and that’s something I’ve learnt with experience. I never drive trying to gain time. I always drive trying not to lose time. I’ve learnt over the years that, if you push too hard, you can lose more time than just driving cautiously, especially in Dubai which is very difficult with the traffic.”
“Well my mother tongue is French, so…I quite like Jean Dujardin and Omar Sy. I like movies, but I’m not a big, big fan. I’m more into music.”
“Nothing special. I’m just enjoying my driving, and with the years passing, I don’t like everything around motorsport – I get a bit bored with registration, scrutineering, checking the driver’s suits and the helmets every time – but when I’m in the car, I really enjoy it. If one day I don’t enjoy driving anymore, I will stop.”
“[Pause]…When I was growing up I always wanted to be a professional driver, and I was really dreaming about Formula 1. But afterwards…things changed, and to live my passion became my main target. But I can’t live just on motorsport anymore. It’s not possible. So now I have another job testing cars for manufacturers. In fact, in 2017 I set a lap record at the Nordschleife with Jaguar*. Some people might not know that.”
*In November 2017, Vincent smashed the lap record for production saloon cars around the Nürburgring by 11 seconds. He also set a new lap record around the ‘forgotten’ 8km Circuit de Charade in Clermont Ferrand with a Jaguar XE 300 Sport last September.
“I would say Dubai. It’s good to cut the winter into two pieces, but it also feels very special competing there. It’s crazy, because this year was my 10th race in Dubai, but I’ve also done the 24 Hours of Spa 10 times as well, which is just 30 minutes from my home. It’s quite funny to think that I might end up doing more 24-hour races in Dubai, which is 5,000km away!”
Vincent Radermecker was speaking with Koen Wiesman and James Gent at the 2019 Hankook 24H DUBAI. Images courtesy of Petr Frýba. You can also check out this story in the 2019 Hankook 12H SPA magazine, available for download at the link below.