There are teams within the FBL, and then there are TEAMS within FBL. Racing Team Den Kaap brings two of them to the grid in the WTEC 2021. So we took a moment to sit down and talk with Thomas Renders.
FBL: We are now in the winter break of the WTEC 2021. It’s the first season you take part in, and it’s the first FBL season with the all new 90 Minute format. How has it been so far?
Renders: To be honest, it’s been a thrill! We’ve competed for three races now and I’ve come across a lot of different things! A podium, a crash with my teammate before the race even started and a night race where I only made one mistake. The crash was totally my fault due to a really bad start and the mistake might have cost me a maiden victory or at the very least a maiden second place. Though besides the (self-afflicted) bad luck, it has been great to be able to drive in this series.
The group is very respectful, which isn’t always a given fact. The incidents that do occur, are always fair and not intended. The battling on track is very fair too. People give each other enough space and try to overtake in a clean way! Also the drivers are so close together in laptimes but also after 90 minutes of racing, it’s very intense sometimes! So for being able to be so competitive and clean I want to give a compliment to all the drivers in the series!
FBL: As long as I get it right, you are team manager of the Racing Team Den Kaap. How did it start and how many people are involved?
Renders: Technically you’re right, but it’s a team that stands for ‘gezelligheid’. Ask any dutchie what it stands for and they’ll tell you. I mean, we try to be competitive, but the most important thing is that we all have fun! I try to speak about most decisions for the team and try to find some fun leagues to compete in. In the end I call the shots, but what is a team manager without a team. They do call me Thotho after all. Though I try to keep in mind everybody’s wishes and desires and what they expect out of a team.
The team started with my intention to add an extra layer to the league(s) I was competing in. I drove a skip barber league where I found myself competing with some guys in a very fun and clean way. After this league the organisers went on with a ‘road to Indy’ league, where you had to go from the lowest tier cars all the way to the Daytona 500 and Indy 500. I asked Alexander Gorissen if he wanted to join in on competing together in the league, because he was of the same level as I was in the skippy league. In this way the team was born.
From my roots in the Spec Racer Ford and Formula Vee leagues of the Weekend Warriors (shout out to them for being very clean and respectfull, go check it out if you like these cars, the series are broadcasted on youtube) I asked Joost Simkens and Johan Buitenga to join in the dutch GT3 league and the Porsche 991 cup car league of iRacing Nederland (IRNL). Soon came Pawel Jakubowski, who was already a friend of Alexander, Guido Prins (a friend of me in real life) and Scott Timmermans (a friend in the league who accidentally lives only 15 minutes away from me). Last but not least came Danny Mulder, which we have had good relationships with during the leagues of IRNL.
To explain what ‘gezelligheid’ means, there isn’t a real translation for the word, but it’s kind of the good vibe you get when you’re with a group of friends.
FBL: Now, for all of us who don’t know, what is an iRacing Team about – and what kind of activities are you doing together?
Renders: That’s exactly the question I asked myself when I wanted to start the team. I came up with two pillars: ‘gezelligheid’ and fun. I already explained what ‘gezelligheid’ means and the fun comes with clean and competitive driving. Not necessarily for the leading positions, I mean, we are aware we’re not pro’s, but clean and competitive with the cars around us!
Besides that are the obvious things like driving under the same banner (livery), be extra carefull around your teammates, and being able to enjoy it when your teammates do well! I still remember being happy for Alexander’s first win on the ovals and vice versa or Pawel’s P3 in the German GT3 league. So there is some kind of a bond within a team.
We are also in luck that we all live in the Netherlands and because of that live relatively close to each other. In this way we try to meet up every now and then. E.g. we tried to go karting just recently, but the lock-down came. So sadly we weren’t able to organize this little team-building event.
FBL: The FBL has been all about the Radical – until Bremer, Gluscic, Brumby and Ruiz brought the FBL to Endurance Races. Which cars and events does the Racing Team Den Kaap take part in?
Renders: I’ve already mentioned a couple of leagues and events. Some of us have their roots in the Weekend Warriors Spec Racer Ford and Formula Vee leagues. Some of us still drive a race every now and then in these leagues. But we all drive in the Dutch IRNL leagues. And obviously we drive in the FBL WTEC 2021 league haha. All of the above are very clean, competitive and fun leagues! And to add in on that, they’re broadcasted, which is always fun to see after you’ve driven your race.
Besides that we try to take part in some endurance events. The Daytona 24h is the next one! Also we’re joining a mini league for the TCR’s in the coming 4 weeks of Trackside E-sports.
FBL: Joost Simkens has had a tough time during the first part of the season. Alexander Gorissen and Danny Mulder had to retire their car during the first race. Will we see them again?
Renders: Joost is still very enthusiastic about the Radical and the WTEC 2021. He will be back and I’m sure his bad luck will turn around! He’s very fast and will be able to score some good point in the rest of the season!
The cars of Alexander and Danny are toast. Alexander’s engine blew up in the first race and the suspension of Danny is so severely damaged due to the bumps of Sebring that it’s very expensive to repair the cars. Sadly enough the team doesn’t have the funds to repair their cars for the rest of the season. So donations are welcome #helpAlexanderandDannybackintocompetition.
Haha, but to be serious, Alexander and Danny aren’t able to compete due to personal reasons. It’s to bad, but luckily we’re still competing with one team!
FBL: Heading towards the European part of the WTEC 2021 (Nurburgring, Monza, BrandsHatch, Spa) where do you assume yourself and Den Kaap drivers to be strong?
Renders: To be fair, the competition is stiff, it’s really hard to tell. I think I’m a bit slower at the Nordschleife, but in the race that’s okay, it’s all about surviving that race! Monza is hard to tell, I’m not that good at chicanes and well, 60% of the corners there are chicanes. But I thought the same of Montréal, where I found some good race pace! Brands Hatch is a hard one to tell for me, I haven’t been there very often but I like the track! At Spa I’ve got the most experience though, but it’s night, which is also new to me at Spa.
Joost is a good and fast overall driver so I don’t really know if he has a particular track in which he will excel. Nonetheless, we both are looking forward to the coming races!
FBL: Did you already encounter some special opponent during the first races?
Renders: Right away at my first practice race I had an amazing and intense battle with Nathan Brumby. He was at my tail for the full 10 minutes of racing! Also I had a great fight with Nihad Gluscic for what was eventually the leading position. Though I made mistake hitting the wall and I had to make a 3rd pitstop for some repairs. I would’ve loved to have fought that battle on track, no matter if I would’ve finished first or second.
FBL: Your goals for the second part of the season?
Renders: We will try our best with Joost and I. We are currently 4th in the championship with Den Kaap Bronze and are in a close battle with Cambrian Simracing and Red Bull. Gulf at 2nd is a bit further away, but who knows if we make it a four way battle for 2nd place. I think Marlboro will keep the lead for a while, both Nihad and Daniele are outstanding this season!
Personally I would like to try and compete for the podium but missing out on the first race set me back a bit. I will try and hopefully keep fighting for the lower podium positions. And maybe one day I’m even able to take the top step if I’m a bit lucky!
FBL: Your guess for the Top 3 in the Driver- and Team-Championship?
Renders: I think Daniele will take home the drivers championship. From what I’ve seen, he’s the fastest driver and even with a few mistakes always ends up in the top half of the field. 2nd and 3rd are a bit harder to predict. I think any of the current top 6 are still able to compete for those positions (Nihad Gluscic, Nathan Brumby, Sandro Kapeller, Charlie Bebb and myself)
I’ve discussed the team championship already, so I do think Marlboro will be on top. Gulf is in a good position for 2nd, but I don’t rule out Cambrian Sim Racing, Red Bull or Den Kaap Bronze! It’s some stiff competition up there!
* Taking the Spec 2 championship in the Weekend Warriors Formula Vee league
Racing Team Den Kaap
* P3 overall of Pawel Jakubowski at the German GT3 League of IRNL
IRCNL American Brawl league:
* Win at Charlotte oval with the Street stock of Thomas Renders
* P2 at Pocono with the Nascar Cup car (legacy) of Alexander Gorissen
* Win at Daytona 500 with the Nascar Cup car (legacy of Thomas Renders
* Spec 2 of the Weekend Warriors Formula Vee of Johan Buitenga