Marc Goossens – 2005 Belcar Champion
© Joost Custers

dailysportscar.comIt’s becoming an annual tradition, the dailysportscar interview with the Belcar champion. This year, Marc Goossens is our man. The 34-year old endurance driver from Geel is without any doubt the Belcar driver of the year, winning not only five races but also he was the fastest driver in almost every practice and qualifying session.

But Marc’s career has more to offer than this title. He has won several races in F3000, raced in the ALMS, Japanes GT, Le Mans etc. and is one of the top Belgian drivers of his generation.

What does this Belcar title mean to Marc Goossens?

dailysportscar.comWell, this was my first real Belgian title. I won the Belcar GTB-title in 2002, with Rudi Penders, but this was my first overall title in my home country. And what’s more, I won three titles at the same time. For the ‘in crowd’, and for me personally, the Driver Challenge is maybe the most important one. Anthony Kumpen won it last year and I know very well what it means to him, well it’s the same for me.

With SRT we also won the GT and GTA-titles, rewarding the excellent work of the entire team. Of course, my success in the Driver Challenge wouldn’t be possible without the work done by Patrick Selleslagh and the guys. I joined SRT in 2004 and after a difficult first season with the Corvette, we took it all in 2005 which of course is a relief. Belcar is a good championship, with almost all Belgian top drivers present, and the there are not many national GT series with such a strong grid. I think sometimes people underestimate the strength of it.

And what’s more, I also won for the third time (1997/1998) the Zolder 24 hours. The race hasn’t got the international reputation of Le Mans and Spa, but people outside Belgium know it and what’s more, they respect it.

dailysportscar.com

What exactly is the meaning of this success outside Belgium?

dailysportscar.comWell, to my own surprise, people know about it. I think Belgians are too modest. We always tend to minimize our own success, in contrast to other countries. Belgium had a good autosport year with the international success of RBM in WTCC, GLPK in FIA-GT, Jan Heylen in the Mégane Trophy or Vanina Ickx in LMES.

Personally, I was very surprised by the reactions in the States a few weeks ago. Most people seem to know or follow Belcar and I received many positive reactions for my title. This is without doubt related to the coverage of the series on an English website….

So for me, it’s important to use the 'echo' of this title to work on my international program.

dailysportscar.com

Will we see Marc Goossens in an international series next year?

dailysportscar.comYes and no. I am trying to get a good and challenging program together next year. This could be in Belcar or somewhere else. Right now, there is one certainty: I will compete in both the Busch Series road course races in 2006 as part of a joint effort between RYR and Riley Technologies, the championship team in the Rolex Series. I’ve got to develop the cars for these road courses as the behaviour of the cars this year on road courses was a problem.

It would be nice to get an extra program in the States, in the ALMS or Grand-Am, but up to now nothing is sure.

dailysportscar.comI’ve been testing with Peter Baron’s SAMAX team recently, but we’re still trying to close the deal. The testing was very positive, the team did a good job and together (I brought an engineer with me), we managed to close the gap to the front-runners from three seconds to less than one second. And I’m sure that there is still some margin. The pace of Brian Tuttle, the owner of the car, also surprised me. He is new in racing, but he is already quick.

There is still another possibility for me in the States. One of my Formula Renault 1600 drivers, Max Dumarey wants to come to the states to race in single-seaters over there. He is the son of Guido Dumarey, the man behind the deal between Body Coach and Prodrive for the Spa 24 hours. I might come with Max to coach him in the States, but this is also still under negotiation.

dailysportscar.comEurope seems less probable even though I’ve got good contacts; it’s difficult on the old continent. You need a good sponsor or a fast and funded partner.

An opportunity could be to share a car again with David Hart, my partner in the Corvette this year. He is a fabulous man and driver. He is what I tend to call a ‘Sportsman driver’, a league higher than a gentleman driver.

But he’s also a great personality; I would really like to do a program with him, for instance the Le Mans, Spa and Zolder 24 hours. But nothing is sure…

What have been the highlights of your endurance career?

dailysportscar.comWithout any doubt I would like to mention my 3rd in Sebring in 2002 and my 4th in Le Mans in 1997. But even if we didn’t finish, the highlight of my endurance career was racing the Racing For Belgium Ferrari 333SP in Le Mans in 1996, together with Eric van de Poele and Eric Bachelart. That was tremendous. The thousands of Ferrari fans around the track screaming every time the car passed by is something I will never forget.

Before I leave the racing scene, a good result in Le Mans is something I want to live again even though a podium at Sebring was also a fantastic experience.

We wish you all the luck you need, Marc!

 

Contents Copyright © dailysportscar.com. All Rights Reserved.