Returning to a lineup that amassed two championships, as well victories at some of the most storied venues in the sport, Black Swan Racing has announced the return of Jeroen Bleekemolen to the team for the upcoming Pirelli World Challenge SprintX Championship. Pairing with season-long driver Tim Pappas, the duo will embark on conquering the series’ Pro-Am category, looking for further victory in the No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. The first two races of the SprintX season will begin at next weekend’s Grand Prix of VIR, taking place at the Virginia International Raceway.
“It’s great to have Jeroen back with us,” said team owner and co-driver Tim Pappas. “The SprintX format give us a unique opportunity to bring in a second driver for an all-out push to the finish, and Jeroen couldn’t be a better fit. Not only did many of our greatest accomplishments come with him joining us, but he’s had a lot of experience with the car and should be able to provide valuable insight. We’re all very glad to see him return, and hopefully we can add another chapter of success to the team.”
Bleekemolen first arrived on the U.S. scene in 2010, with Black Swan Racing and Tim Pappas providing his first full-season home in the former American Le Mans Series GTC ranks. Wasting no time to deliver results, the duo would go on to have a landmark series of years, dominating the category from 2010-2011 with nine victories en route to successive championships, including wins at Sebring and Petit Le Mans.
Since that time, the pair have gone on to run in a variety of cars and categories, with Bleekemolen taking another championship in the GTC ranks in 2013, and most recently taking yet another Sebring victory in March with the venerable Mercedes-AMG GT3.
The addition of Bleekemolen is just the latest in an increasingly strong roster of drivers in the Pirelli World Challenge’s SprintX championship. A 10-race series that combines the heritage of endurance racing with the excitement of sprint racing, the schedule will feature a double-header weekend of 60-minute races, with each driver taking his turn during a portion of that. This presents a dynamic unlike any other, as drivers will have to share the car and adapt to each other’s setup needs, but with extremely limited time to make up ground.
For Bleekemolen, a return to a familiar home is a welcome one.
“It’s great to be back with Black Swan Racing,” said Bleekemolen. “The SprintX championship is a unique approach to multi-driver racing, and it should be interesting to compete in an all-out sprint. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 has repeatedly proven to be a great car in categories all over the world, and we hope to have the same success here. I really appreciate the opportunity from Tim and the whole team, they played an instrumental role in beginning my U.S. career.”