Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Verstappen on DTM protege Vermeulen: He is always within two tenths of me

Red Bull Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen has backed his protege Thierry Vermeulen for his sophomore DTM campaign after the youngster was able to lap within two tenths of him in testing.

Max Verstappen and Thierry Vermeulen, Emil Frey Racing, Portimao Test

Vermeulen is about to embark on his second season in the DTM with Emil Frey Racing after a rookie campaign in which he finished 16th in the standings with a best finish of fifth at the Sachsenring.

The 21-year-old’s Ferrari 296 GT3 will once again carry the colours of Verstappen.com Racing, a project that was started by the triple F1 champion in 2022.

Having mentored the young Dutchman over the years, Verstappen feels Vermeulen has what it takes to build on his 2023 results and put together a solid show in the DTM this year.

"Hopefully with the experience he has gained so far, it will all come a bit more naturally to him and therefore he can compete at the front a bit more consistently, because the potential is definitely there," the 26-year-old told Autosport's sister site nl.motorsport.com.

“He is very fast. When we test too, every time I drive him, he's within two tenths of me all the time."

Vermeulen, son of Verstappen’s manager Raymond, is relatively new into motor racing, having only started his career in 2020 with GT4 racing.

He combined his DTM programme with a drive in the GT World Challenge Europe series last year, and will remain in the SRO championship again as part of another dual campaign.

Verstappen believes Vermeulen still lacks experience compared to some of his rivals, with the DTM again featuring a grid comprising veteran racers such as Kelvin van der Linde, Marco Wittmann and Lucas Auer.

"All those guys he races against [now], I used to race against them [when I was in lower formulas]," Verstappen said. "So they have a lot more experience than him. 

"Thierry is obviously still learning. That just takes a while and you have to be patient with that, but he's picking it up quickly. He definitely has talent - and he's definitely not afraid in the fast corners!"

Verstappen revealed he and Vermeulen remain in regular contact, with the Emil Frey driver also supplying him with his car data to understand his weaknesses and strengths.

"I talk to him a lot," said the F1 championship leader. "He always sends me his data and onboards. And when he is testing, he keeps me updated during the day. 

"We try to train things on the simulator and I try to give tips when we can and when he needs them."

Read Also:

In December last year, Verstappen completed two days of running in Emil Frey’s Ferrari GT3 car at Portimao, with one of the objectives of the test being to assist the development of Vermeulen’s talent.

Speaking of the 296 GT3, which was introduced by Ferrari last year as a replacement to the long-running 488 GT3, the Red Bull ace said: "The car is good. I tested it myself, with that Ferrari. That really is a seriously fast car. 

"But you also depend on the BoP [Balance of Performance]. That could be against him one time and that could be in his favour one time. If things are good in terms of BoP, you have to make the best of it, of course."

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article DTM 2024 entry list: Who is driving in the DTM this year?
Next article DTM Oschersleben: Aitken capitalises on Wittmann dramas to win season-opener

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe