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Anthony Kumpen: “I’m ready to fight for the win”

Anthony Kumpen: “I’m ready to fight for the win”

NASCAR Whelen Euro Series 2022 – 5. American Festival – Zolder

More than four years after his last race, Anthony Kumpen will make his comeback next weekend. The 43-year-old Hasselaar will do so at the wheel of a NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Chevrolet Camaro – obviously from the studios of PK Carsport – as part of the American Festival in Zolder. And the Limburger is determined to come out solid in front of his home crowd.

The car is all decorated and prepared, so is the racing suit. More than four years after his last race, Anthony Kumpen will be at the start of another race in Zolder next weekend.

“I doubted for a long time whether I would do this,” Kumpen readily admits. “In recent years, as team owner and father of a racing son, I have experienced motorsports in a different way. And I found that I enjoyed it at least as much as driving myself. I would even say that if I had to make a choice, I would drop racing and go all the way for coaching my karting son.”

Fortunately, that difficult knot did not have to be cut. The combination of racing myself and coaching Kumpen Jr. is quite feasible. “I did still have to choose whether to go for Belcar or NASCAR,” Kumpen further explained. “It became the second, because I find that European championship a bigger challenge. When you see that someone like Jacques Villeneuve, after all a former F1 world champion, needed three seasons of NWES to get his first win, you know that the level there is high.”

“Moreover, I still have a very good relationship with the organization of the NWES as well as with the NASCAR people in America,” continued the two-time NWES Pro champion. “Furthermore, the American Festival in Zolder is also very close to my heart. It is a very beautiful and spectacular meeting, and there have even been editions where there were more spectators than for the 24 Hours of Zolder. ”

The question remains: how high can Anthony Kumpen aim on his comeback? “When you’re 43, you’re not as fast as you were at 18,” he grins. “On the other hand, I have learned a lot from other drivers in recent years, from engineers as well. That slightly different view of the sport has made me a more ‘complete’ rider. Furthermore, I have completely prepared myself physically. I weigh 66 kg. now, which is less than when I was 13, really. I did everything I could, and after some test days in Zolder, I know that I can be at the front, that the potential is there to fight for the win. But motor racing is still motor racing. It can already go completely wrong in the first left, but I’m not worried about that anymore. ”

Also because Kumpen will not leave it at a one-off comeback. “Next year I will be driving the full championship in NWES and some races in the States,” he adds. “Whether I will also drive Belcar? That depends. Bert (Longin, ed.) in any case does not have to fear that I will match his record again. If I am at the start of the 24 Hours of Zolder, it will be together with him. His seventh victory last summer has given me if anything more satisfaction as a team boss than my own victories as a driver. But my 2023 schedule is secondary to my son’s anyway. My priority right now is him. Karting allows him to get an education you can’t get in school. Even if he decides in three-four years that racing is not his thing, I think it’s important that I can give him that life experience now.”

As always, the NWES weekend in Zolder will feature two races in the Pro category. The first starts on Saturday at 1:45 p.m., the second on Sunday at 2 p.m.

 

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