Renger van der Zande has been racking up some serious air miles this year. Looking to put a disappointing Dubai 24 Hours behind him, the Dutchman will share the no. 8 Starworks FLM09 with Alex Popow, Chris Cumming and Jack Hawksworth at this weekend’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, before tackling the Bathurst 12 Hour race the following weekend in a Car Collection Mercedes SLS.
As one might expect, back-to-back races across opposite sides of the world pose unique logistical complexities. The distance between the Daytona International Speedway and the Mount Panorama circuit is a mammoth 9,457 miles, or to put it another way, an astonishing 733 laps of the Nürburgring Nordschelife (the record distance completed in the Nürburgring 24H, set in 2014, is a mere 159 laps.)
Two hours after the drop of the chequered flag on Sunday afternoon, van der Zande will fly to his native Amsterdam, arriving on Monday morning. But before he can get too comfortable, it’s back in the air for another 7 hours to the layover at Abu Dhabi and then 14 hours non-stop to Sydney, finally arriving Down Under on Wednesday evening.
At least van der Zande won’t be the only one feeling jet-lagged, with fellow Mercedes GT ace Maro Engel, Ferrari’s Toni Vilander, Audi stars Markus Winkelhock, Christopher Haase and Rene Rast and V8 Supercar fan-favourite Shane van Gisbergen, who will campaign an Alex Job Racing Porsche, all making the same arduous journey, not to mention much of the international media corps.
Who said motorsport was all glitz and glamour?