If there was a sportscar driver you needed in your automotive for a 24-hour race this 12 months, it was Nicky Catsburg. Victories on the Nurburgring (outright), Le Mans (GTE Am) and Spa (Professional-Am), every in several automobiles, underlined that the versatile Dutchman is working on the high of his sport.
He was a part of the strongest line-up in GTE Am’s WEC swansong, however Catsburg actually performed his half in sealing the title with an unprecedented two rounds to spare. His defence in opposition to Alessio Rovera for victory in Portimao was inch-perfect, and he was persistently close to the highest of the tempo averages as Corvette surged into rivalry at Le Mans.
Q&A with Nicky Catsburg
Communicate with anybody who has labored with Catsburg, and so they’ll inform you in regards to the calming affect he has on a crew. As Earl Bamber put it earlier this 12 months, the easy-going Dutchman “brings an excellent vibe”, which is appreciated by these he works with. And that down-to-earth nature additionally applies to his reflections on what Catsburg acknowledges was “a tremendous season”.
The Corvette manufacturing facility driver is fast to level out that his successes over the previous 12 months, which additionally counts profitable the Asian Le Mans Collection GT title in a Walkenhorst BMW, is “not as a result of I’ve turn into a greater driver unexpectedly”. Discussing his Nurburgring victory with Bamber, David Pittard and Felipe Laser, he stresses that it was “actually a bunch effort”.
“I don’t really feel like I used to be in any manner the standout driver of that group,” says Catsburg, whose essential programme in 2024 shall be within the IMSA Sportscar Championship’s GTD Professional class. “I wouldn’t say that it was like a super-duper private efficiency.”
Right here’s how he appears again on 2023.
Photograph by: Marc Fleury
Not many drivers can declare to win three 24-hour races in the identical 12 months
Autosport: Was this your greatest 12 months in racing?
Nicky Catsburg: Yeah, I might say so. It’s tough to say no! Ultimately a variety of it’s alternative after which taking alternative and luck. And naturally it’s a must to take these alternatives. However it like that, it has been my greatest season.
I’ve received all these loopy races, huge occasions and it’s simply one thing I’m extremely happy with. However I don’t wish to idiot myself and suppose that I’ve seen the sunshine unexpectedly this 12 months. It’s only a 12 months the place issues have come collectively and it’s a 12 months the place there was just about zero errors and that at all times helps.
“A really good second for us was to carry our Corvette into Hyperpole after our automotive was sort of destroyed in one of many practices” Nicky Catsburg
AS: You’ve been a part of good groups which at all times helps, however your personal private performances some have elevated good outcomes to nice ones. Which stand out to you?
NC: I completely liked those in WEC the place we actually needed to battle for both a P2 or a P1. Spa and Portimao, we needed to battle so arduous. I assumed ‘that is going to be unattainable to maintain them behind’ however it was doable. These races – by way of feelings when crossing the end line – are nearly higher than a win at a 24-hour race. It sounds so unusual, however it’s like a bit of private victory.
A really good second for us was to carry our Corvette into Hyperpole after our automotive was sort of destroyed in one of many practices, the blokes needed to work, work, work to get it collectively for quali and after quali we realised that it was utterly out of whack. That was a really robust lap so as to go to the Hyperpole and that was a super-cool feeling as properly.
Spa I used to be personally very proud to be proper there with Marciello and Jules [Gounon] when it got here to Mercedes drivers’ efficiency by way of averages. That’s one thing that I wasn’t anticipating to occur.
Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images
Catsburg confirmed why he is one of many highest rated sportscar drivers on the planet proper now