Climbing to the top – Racing Team Nederland driver Frits van Eerd
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Climbing to the top – Racing Team Nederland driver Frits van Eerd

24 Hours of Le Mans team members are a mixed bunch, but amateurs and team managers alike have all worked their way up the endurance racing ladder to reach the classic French race. Today the spotlight is on Racing Team Nederland’s Frits van Eerd.

Team: Racing Team Nederland

Class: LMP2

Car and Drivers:

#29 Oreca 07-Gibson #29, driven by Frits van Eerd, Giedo van der Gaarde and Nyck de Vries

BACKGROUND

Owner of Jumbo, a Dutch supermarket chain, Frits van Eerd also pursues a successful racing career which has led him to take on the biggest challenge of all, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. “In the 1990s, I raced in Formula Renault for many years with my own team, VES Racing, before most of my time and attention was devoted to the growth of Jumbo. However, I continued competing in rallies and became Dutch rally champion and did the Dakar-rally five times. Also, I often raced with historic F1-cars. Then, in 2016, I finally decided to realise my lifelong ambition to race in the Le Mans 24 Hours and launched Racing Team Nederland.”

ACHIEVEMENTs

Racing Team Nederland’s maiden Le Mans 24 Hours was in 2017 and the team has finished each race since, with best result seventh place in LMP2 in 2018 (11th overall). For his first Le Mans, Frits van Eerd teamed up with Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello and 1988 Le Mans winner Jan Lammers. Van Eerd was full of pride when the experienced Lammers accepted the seat for the following year: “I watched Jan race the Jaguars in IMSA when I studied in the USA, and later we became friends.  I used to say to him: ‘If one day I can do Le Mans myself, we must do it together!’  So, when I created Racing Team Nederland, Jan was my teammate and in the end he did his 24th and final Le Mans 24 Hours with us." Racing Team Nederland ran a Dallara P217 three years running before moving on to the Oreca 07 and enlisting the help of TDS Racing. “Their track record speaks for itself: it is one of the best teams in the LMP2-business.  This goes beyond the technical preparation and set-up of the car.  Everybody in the team are extremely competitive, which I like, and also their support of the drivers in terms of strategies, data analysis and coaching is top level. Most importantly, we really form a team together.”