The end of a long season of racing was celebrated last weekend with a kart race for drivers and fans alike. After two years of waiting, the VLN-Fanpage Kartevent made its return. With Karting Eupen as the stage for the popular event, the 11th edition saw 25 race car drivers from VLN, Blancpain GT and ADAC GT go up against each other in teams with fans for a final dash in 2019.
Both 2-hour heats were won by Team Fabian Schiller. In true style of his 2019 season in which Fabian Schiller mainly competed on Pro-Am cars, the successful GetSpeed Performance and AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 pilot joined amateur go-kart racers Sebastian Vollak, Tobias Neuber, Tobias Theil and Kevin Küpper to take the full 100 points with victories in both races. With a second and fourth place, Frikadelli Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 CS driver Hendrik von Danwitz, sharing the kart with Andreas Otto, Nick Salewsky, Roman Walter and Vincent Kleinschmidt, scored enough points for silver, while karting veteran and Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 ace Manuel Metzger and co-drivers Armin Zehren, Werner Robertz, Luca Buschmans and Roman Breuer raced it to third place.
“It is always nice to win but the main objective of this event was getting close to the fans, showing them who we really are as drivers and give them – and ourselves as well – a thank-you present at the end of the season,” said Fabian Schiller, alluding to the fan-friendly VLN-Fanpage Kartevent. “It’s always good to be here and to win it is for sure extra nice. It’s a cool end of the season.”
Combined with the open nature of the VLN championship, the interaction with the fans in a more relaxed atmosphere and to share the passion for racing with a competitive element at the VLN-Fanpage Kartevent leads to new friends, Schiller says.
“The racing community is very small. When you get to know someone here, they come by when there’s a VLN weekend where you can enter the pits so you very often see the people with whom you race here coming to see us at the race, that’s really nice. When you get to know each other, this contact stays because you see each other again, even if it’s only once a year at this event. The people always come back, as do the drivers.”
Seeing Schiller race at the front of the field was a familiar sight this year in VLN and on occasion in Blancpain GT as well. On the level playing field offered by the VLN-Fanpage Kartevent, Stephan Epp, Tobias Müller and Hendrik von Danwitz – themselves successful in their respective VLN classes – were some of the other race car drivers able to showcase their skills and measure themselves against their GT3 racing counterparts.
“It’s a completely different discipline here than in a VLN race,” said Schiller. “In VLN I fight with GT3 drivers at the very top. But here, the whole community meets, like the V4 drivers: They race small BMWs, Porsches, Mercedes. Here you race kart by kart, with the same equipment next to each other with all the drivers, so that’s for sure something special. In every category in racing, whether it’s in quicker or slower cars, they are always good drivers. It’s fun to meet here.”
The stiff competition Schiller faced from the fans could count on his praise as well.
“I think I was more impressed by some of the amateur or hobby drivers who came here just for fun to join us, because some of them are really, really quick. Rental karting is kind of its own discipline, you can’t really compare it to anything like outdoor karting or driving a race car. But it still has four wheels, a steering wheel, a throttle and a brake, so you really have to drive it. It’s cool to see these quick kids going out there driving the rental karts. Everyone is having a fun which I think is the most important here.”
And to everyone thinking of joining the pro drivers and fast amateurs next year, Schiller says: “We are open for everyone, everyone is welcome. They just need to be quick because the registration is always sold out quickly!”
Photos by Miguel Bosch.