Fast father-son moments
What better illustrates the appeal of the Porsche Sprint Challenge Benelux than the story of Jean-Pierre and Jaxon Verhoeven? During the first race of 2022 at Circuit Zandvoort, the fanaticism took such forms that they immediately decided to look higher in terms of material. Free time is scarce, which is why they make the most of the compact format with a 992 GT3 Cup. "We don't just want to win our division, but also overall."
With a field of around twenty cars, the newly equipped Porsche Sprint Challenge Benelux for 2022 clearly meets a need. “Last year I entered a single race at the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux,” says Jean-Pierre Verhoeven. “A professionally designed championship from an organization that leaves nothing to chance, but my agenda doesn't give enough space to leave home for three days at each event. Certainly if you want to climb the Porsche Motorsport Pyramid, you absolutely have to be there, but we don't have that ambition. For the Porsche Sprint Challenge Benelux we only need to reserve one day at a time, always during the week. This is partly because the competitions take place on circuits 'nearby', i.e. Zandvoort, Zolder and Assen. You get 150 minutes of driving time per event, so if you divide that by two, my son Jaxon and I are each on the track for 70 minutes on such a day. We see more entrepreneurs with a full agenda who opt for this, including talented drivers who competed in the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux last year. So that results in quite a high level at the top of the field.”
Via Formula Ford
No entrepreneur is so busy that he - if applicable - takes time for father-son moments. For Jaxon Verhoeven there was the opportunity to obtain his racing license at the age of 15. “Before that time I had done some karting, but only indoors and purely recreational. In the season after the race course I started in the DRDO with a Clio. Later on, my father and I went racing together, including in a BMW Compact, but in 2020 also in the Porsche Sprint Challenge Benelux. At that time it was still a format of three days per event, with a separate scoring per driver. There I became champion with our then Porsche 991.” Father Jean-Pierre ended up in fast touring car racing via Formula Ford. “I've been with Speedlover since 2001. One of the race weekends took place in combination with the 24 Hours of Zolder. Because a driver unexpectedly dropped out, team boss André van Hoof asked me if I wanted to get on board the 993. Quite a switch, but I was personally familiar with these sports cars. I got so into it that I signed up for various endurance events, even when the Porsche Sprint Challenge Benelux came my way.”
With a detour
Very infected with the 911 GT3 Cup virus, Jean-Pierre Verhoeven purchased a 992 at the beginning of 2021, a car that could of course do excellently in the Porsche competition that he is driving with his son this year. However, things turned out differently. In other words, with a detour. “I was able to rent it out several times. In addition, I occasionally raced it in the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux and Jaxon and I did the 12 Hours of Paul Ricard together. Because the engine needed a rebuild at the end of the season and the market for the 992 GT3 Cup was very strong, especially due to the high demand from America, I decided to sell it. We still had our 991, which seemed perfect for the Porsche Sprint Challenge Benelux. When my son finished second overall in the very first race, within a second of the 992s, we thought we should have a car like this again.” Jaxon: “We don't just want to win our division, but also overall.” Jean-Pierre: "The search for this type of Porsche is not easy, because there is a run for it everywhere, but André van Hoof managed to arrange one within his network, coming from a German team."
Jaxon Verhoeven considers the latest generation 911 GT3 Cup definitely higher than its predecessor. “With the new suspension, it offers a lot more grip at the front, which gives it better turn-in. You have to take the corners differently and also brake in a different way: less dragging. With the 991 it was important to keep a lot of pressure on the front axle, with the 992 this is less the case. In fact, the grip could give it a little more imbalance. If you make too much steering movement, you run the risk of the rear breaking out. So get used to it. Apart from that, my father and I always have to compromise on set-up. The driving style is quite different. I'm a bit more relaxed on board and don't like too much understeer. My father prefers the car to be a little softer at the back, so that he is less likely to step to the side.” Jean-Pierre: “Jaxon brakes with the left, while I still do it the old-fashioned way. I also think the 992 GT3 Cup is a big improvement, also in terms of strength