After making his debut in the Ferrari Challenge in 2017, Laurent De Meeus is preparing for his third season. We meet the Belgian driver before he heads out on track for Round 2 of the European series. “I am excited and enthusiastic about the start of a new season”, says the HR Owen driver. “I have tackled the first corners of the Barcelona circuit, and I have to say it’s beautiful. When you start a championship, you have to understand and analyse the behaviour of the car. On my return at Imola, I must say that I immediately felt comfortable and I think that I’ll quickly gain more confidence“.
There are two important goals for this year: “I’d love to win at the Spa circuit, as it’s in my home area. Also, since I was unlucky in the Finali Mondiali where I was involved in various accidents, I would like to do well in this important event, which this year takes place in Abu Dhabi, and break the tape at the end of the race. I’ve never driven on the Yas Marina circuit, and I’m sure it will be an exciting test. I have seen where it is, in a port with a beautiful view. I’ll try my best but my opponents will too”.
De Meeus’s performance has consistently improved. “I think the secret to this progression is my mental approach: I always try to build my confidence every weekend and be very fast. I hope to do well in qualifying and in the race too. I’ll always try to overtake cleanly and race safely. The team is fantastic, and I know it can make a difference. They have all done very well, as has my coach. Anyone of them can help you drive faster”.
Life in the paddock in the Ferrari Challenge is undoubtedly special and can lead to new friendships. “The atmosphere in the Ferrari Challenge is wonderful. We share the same passion and enthusiasm with the other drivers. Getting to know each other can help us know how to act on the track. It’s an environment where everyone respects each other. You know if anything happens, you can go shake hands and apologise”.
The pandemic has affected our lives and the way we work. “I initially gave up on the idea of racing this year, so being here in Barcelona is a miracle. Strangely, working from home has made the work more flexible and adaptable. I must admit, this three-day race format is much more practical and preferable, except for exceptional events, to the four-day format. It doesn’t hurt to race three rounds in July, and I think it’s more manageable. Anyway, when you are driven by passion, you certainly enjoy coming here. Then, when you get behind the wheel, you forget everything, and it’s easier to go back to work on Monday”.
To conclude a thought about the Spa race. “If the weather is good and everything is fine, I think I can be competitive and make sure I am very strong mentally. Anyone coming to watch me on my home circuit knows I’ll give it everything. I am aware that my opponents will also be very competitive”.