Chris van der Drift is one of the better-known and most successful New Zealanders when it comes to sports car racing. Among other accomplishments, he took his first pole position last year in the International GT Open, going on to win the race. Plus he won the Superleague Formula circuit before it shut down.
Recently, he’s been making the rounds as a contender in the Boutsen Ginion Racing series, driving a McLaren MP4 12-C GT3 to keep himself in the top 10 during practice runs. However, during the superpole final, van der Drift faced delays in the pit that forced him to drop to 11th place, making some wonder if this issue might make a repeat during future races.
The Boutsen team is heading to Nürburgring, though, confident that it will be able to land better times. Van der Drift claims it’s a balance of performance (BOP) issue that is holding the McLaren back at its top end.
He stated, “We are working with the championship [organisers] to get us a better BOP. The McLaren should be one of the quickest cars down the straight, as we have hardly any drag compared to some of the others, but if you compare us with the Mercedes SLS we are losing 6km/h down each of the speed traps. Which in racing terms is huge. No matter how much you rag the hell out of it, you just hit a wall and watch the others disappear.”
The McLaren has a turbo-assisted engine, which performs best with higher air pressures, but the turbo boost has been wound down in this instance because of required parity between the wide range of makes and models being raced. That’s causing trouble for van der Drift, and could prove even more difficult at Nürburgring since the race occurs at 616m above sea level—further reducing air pressure.
Despite this, van der Drift assures everyone that he’s looking forward to the race. Wish him the best of luck!