The Kaufmann Collage
Our friends in the small German town of Wolsfeld had another big season in Formula Renault Euro Cup this year. We look at their success story over the years.
Creaming the competition. On the Russian front, Lars Kaufmann prepares for another battle in the Formula Renault Euro Cup at the Moscow Raceway. Enthusiastic and ever smiling on race weekends, “Larsi” has guided many a young talent to bigger and better things.
Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez both won Formula BMW titles with his team in dominating fashion. They may both drive for the same Formula 1 team in 2013!
Well done, Vandoorne. The 20-year old Belgian won the 2012 Formula Renault Euro Cup after a season long duel with Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat. Vandoorne was on the podium in 11 of the 14 races, winning four times and had the same number of pole positions.
Kaufmann team also participated in selected Formula Renault 2.0 NEC events. Stoffel stole the show with five wins from seven races, and appeared on the podium in all but one race.
The future is bright for this young racer from Rumbeke. He is an ex-Belgian karting champion and we may very well see him in World Series by Renault in 2013.
P1. Yesterday and today. Robin Frijns. The Flying Dutchman. The young man from Maastricht started his single-seater career with Kaufmann Racing in the 2009 Formula BMW Europe Championship, scoring a last lap victory at Silverstone.
The following season Frijns and the Kaufmann boys fought a season long battle against Jack Harvey. Trailing the English driver from season opener in Barcelona, where Frijns was taken out on the opening lap, championship lead changed hands at Monza in the season finale.
In 2011, with the demise of Formula BMW Europe series, driver and team moved up to the ultra-competitive Formula Renault Euro Cup where fields of 30-plus cars are common. Frijns fought an intense battle with young Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr. and was able to secure his second championship in as many years.
Frijns joined the British Fortec team for his rookie season in Formula Renault 3.5, aka World Series by Renault. After an impressive season which started with victory in his debut race at Montmelo, Frijns was man of the moment all season long.
The championship came down to the final round, also staged in Barcelona, with French driver Jules Bianchi holding a slim lead over the Dutch driver. Frijns regained his championship lead with second place finish in race one.
Many expected a repeat of last year’s final race of the championship. The combatants then, Robert Wickens and Jean-Eric Vergne, made contact and only Wickens was able to continue on his way to championship glory.
Boys will be boys. This year history repeated itself. With less than 10 laps to go Bianchi passed Frijns going into turn one. The Dutchman immediately came under pressure from Dane, Kevin Magnussen, and made a bold move to block Jan’s kid and at the same time re-take lost position from Bianchi. The two made contact and Bianchi was beached in the gravel pit.
Frijns went on to finish the race and claim his third championship in as many years. But won’t be expecting any French champagne over Christmas holidays from Bianchi.
Esteban. Amigo from Mexico. Esteban Gutierrez is one of the hottest young talents in motor racing today. The man from Monterrey started his singe-seater career in the 2007 US iteration of Formula BMW. For the first two races he was on pole, and at the end of the season was Rookie of the Year.
In 2008, Gutierrez joined the Kaufmann team for the European version of the same series. Seven wins, six of them in a row, won him the championship and marked him as a driver destined for a very successful career.
His entry into F1 orbit is expected to be announced before the F1 season is over.
Suvanto. Success in America. Karting sensation from Nurmo, Petri Suvanto sampled his first taste of single seater racing in the 2010 Formula BMW Europe Championship. The Finnish driver then crossed the pond and won the USF2000 series in his rookie season.
Suvanto was fifth this year in the Star Mazda series. Enjoying living and racing in the United States, the Finn hopes to be the first driver from his country to win the Indy 500.
The Hulk. Another mega talent from Deutschland, Nico Hulkenberg is heading for a successful career in Formula 1. His double “mega” pass on Romain Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton in the recent Korean Grand Prix will be one of the highlights of the 2012 season.
The journey for the Emmerich racer started with Kaufmann team and the 2005 Formula BMW Germany, where he became the first rookie driver to win the overall championship. Hulkenberg had a more impressive rookie season in this series than his fellow German who now appears to be headed for his third straight F1 championship.
Other championship success for Hulkenberg include F3 Euro series and GP2.
The Kaufmann Division. Dr Mario Theissen is flanked by Kaufmann team principal and manager. Der Vater, Josef Kaufmann, raced himself and established his own racing team in 1982. He finished fourth in that year’s German F3 Championship, just behind his driver and teammate, a young Austrian who would go on win F1 races for Ferrari and McLaren; Gerhard Berger.
The team also ran Arie Luyendijk, now running an art gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona but better known for two wins at the Brickyard.
In 1985, Volker Weidler gave the team their first championship success by winning the German F3 series.
Other drivers to pass through the Kaufmann academy include Frank Biela, Sebastien Buemi, Nico Hulkenberg, Adrien Tambay, now in DTM with Audi and Marco Wittmann, now a works BMW driver
The Lars philosophy……………..
– Nasir Hameed