The Dutch American Racing Team came all the way from the Netherlands to race in the 2013 25 Hours of Thunderhill in E3. The team, also known as Spare Parts Racing 2, rented a Mazda Miata from a local team for the race. “We just want to finish,” they said.
This was the first time the team ran a race longer than 12 hours. The DART Team is familiar with Mazda Miatas because all three of their drivers, Mick Hoogwerf, David Koh and Bart Wubben, race in a series is similar to NASA’s Spec Miata in the Netherlands, except that they race on non-R-compound street tires. Hoogwerf started the Ribank Mazda Max5 Cup in the Netherlands in 2003. The class originally started in the UK. Hoogwerf liked the concept and started the Dutch version at the Zandvoort Circuit on the coast of the Netherlands. Asked about the differences between the Max5 Cup cars and Spec Miatas, Hoogwerf said, “Grip!”
DART started 43rd overall and fifth in class. The first three hours could not have gone by any faster for DART. They lost two positions and were three laps down. In the next six hours, DART moved up to third in class. In the middle of the night, Motorsport Services’ SEAT Leon spun and hit DART’s Mazda Miata in the left door. The team was able to continue despite the collision. During the night, one driver got sick, but the team was able to continue racing. DART maintained their position to finish third in E3 and 22nd overall. The team was overjoyed with the podium finish, but they soon learned that Team 949 Racing, which finished second, was disqualified for being underweight, so DART moved up to second place.
“It is amazing!” Hoogwerf said, “We just came here to finish, that’s all. The only thing we did was drive steady. That was it!” The team hopes to come back next year and see if they can do even better.