Ate De Jong is one of our newest LMP3 customers and he’s been racing with our very own Charlie Robertson as part of the Asian Le Mans Series. Ate is one of the newest players in the endurance racing circuit and recently formed Philippine-based PRT (Pinnacle Racing Team) or PRT Racing for short.
He has been chatting to Brent Co from Auto Industriya about his latest motorsport adventures and we’ve got a little snippet of their conversation for you to feast your eyes on.
BC: What got you into LMP3?
ADJ: First time I stepped in a LMP3 car in Sepang, I was completely sold with the car. I just wanted to race it. I worked really hard to get my license just to join the 2016 Asian Le Mans. We were also quite lucky that Ginetta had an available car as it takes them months to build one.
BC: So I’m guessing you flew straight to the factory to pick up your car?
ADJ: Yes, that’s what exactly happened next. In February, I flew to Ginetta’s facility in Leeds, England. The Asian Le Mans season was coming up and we had to get the car to Asia in time for it. The feeling was absolutely phenomenal when I first saw the car brand new. I was introduced to my teammate Charlie Robertson, a driver recommended by Ginetta. I hopped in for a few laps at Blyton Motorsports Park, the car was initially loud at 150 decibels and I was called in and told we had to put the restrictor on. Charlie then did a quick shakedown with the car, while the factory team worked on a good set up for the car within an hour.
BC: Can you describe your first race weekend?
ADJ: I think we have a good team put together. Just like in business, when I'm setting up a team, I want everything to be perfect; done smoothly. This first week, I saw already that it was all good.
I'm very happy with the whole staff and crew and the car came with upgrades already for the race. I’ve only started dealing with Ginetta after buying my car last February. They sent two engineers from the factory with my team mate (Charlie Robertson); I must say they are very cooperative. They really aim for Ginetta to be a success in Asia.
Contrary to popular belief, it is a very nice atmosphere in this racing scene. For example, one team had a problem with a drivetrain, the other with bell housings so they just exchanged parts. Everyone is very helpful. We got third place in our very first outing. I could not hope for anything better than this. I am fortunate to say that I have John O'Hara and Ginetta behind me.
BC: What are your future plans?
ADJ: My plan for the next two years is to stay with LMP3. Depending on how it goes this season and next season, I plan to move up to European Le Mans LMP3 but ultimately my goal is to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
At this moment, I can say I am living my dream. I call myself very lucky and my wife allows me to do this. My wife is very supportive. For sure in Zhuhai, they (my family) will watch. Prototypes have always been my dream and my dream came true. It's just the start and I need to be at a high level in two years. That is my goal.
Read the full article at Auto Industriya: http://www.autoindustriya.com/motorsport/living-le-mans-with-a-philippine-flag-ate-de-jong.html#ixzz4F3aexk7e