- Start of a beautiful sports and business story in the form of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Benelux
- Jeffrey van Hooydonk amazing first champion of the competition with the Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
The Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux will be in its tenth edition in 2022. The last nine seasons have been battles of the highest order, with amazingly competitive names as winners of the competitions and especially very strong champions. Looking back at the past seasons, we start the story with Jeffrey van Hooydonk, the first champion in a long stretching series.
It was a new phenomenon in the Benelux: a one-make cup with the Porsche 911. We had already seen the Porsche Supercup as support act for the F1 for some time, while in countries such as Germany and France the Porsche Carrera Cup already had a strong tradition. However, this was not the case in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg until the first weekend of May 2013. The starting grid featured big names such as Jeffrey van Hooydonk, Bert Longin or Christiaan Frankenhout, but also up-and-coming talent such as Max van Splunteren and the young Brit Hunter Abbott and the gentlemen drivers who listened to names like Carlos Rivas, Frank Beliën and Paul van Splunteren. We also saw Spanish, American and German guest drivers appear on the Porsche stage. The teams that were present from the start were DVB Racing, NGT, Speedlover and Porsche Groep Zuid. The season had six meetings, with three races per weekend, because the cars could still be shared by two drivers. The circuits of appointment were Spa-Francorchamps, Zolder, Assen and Zandvoort.
After an exciting season, the first title went to Belgian ex-F1 test driver Jeffrey van Hooydonk, who shared the DVB Racing Porsche 997 GT3 Cup with Briton Hunter Abbott. Together they were on the highest podium no less than ten times and they finished in places one and two in the championship, ahead of Luxembourger Carlos Rivas (Speedlover). Melroy Heemskerk (NGT) and Christiaan Frankenhout (Porsche Groep Zuid) completed the top 5. Briton Abbott was the best man against the chrono with six pole positions, while Max van Splunteren showed what he was capable of with six fastest laps.
A lasting, beautiful memory
“It was indeed the start of a new competition”, says Jeffrey van Hooydonk almost ten years after his title. “Together with my partner Petronas, we thought it would be a good plan to participate in the Makes Cup, especially since other competitions were a bit unclear at the time. I had always wanted to drive a Porsche, so that was the perfect opportunity. The competition was there from the start and it would only grow in the following seasons. Incidentally, I once again became vice champion in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Benelux in 2014, so I can say that I have had two great seasons. Take it from me that winning was not obvious and everything had to be right to compete at the front and win. DVB Racing, the structure I was driving in, also got things right, especially in terms of set-up and tire management. The Porsche competition and its success are truly lasting, beautiful memories for me.”
After his successes in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Benelux, Jeffrey van Hooydonk made the switch to the Belcar Endurance Championship in which he won both the 24 Hours of Zolder and the national title last season. “I'm a bit older and then the longer work might be more appropriate”, concludes the Antwerp resident looking back at the 2013 season with a wink.