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Laura van den Hengel ready to take on GT Cup Europe with Mertel Motorsport

After two appearances in 2023, when she stepped up from karting to GT3, Laura van den Hengel is back for her first full season campaign in GT Cup Europe and will drive the Mertel Motorsport Ferrari 488 Challenge.

Laura van den Hengel, Mertel Motorsport, Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo, GT Cup Open
Photo credits: @kiekjesmachine

Dutch racer Laura van den Hengel is set to return behind the wheel after a highly impressive first outings in 2023.

Van den Hengel was in fact protagonist of one of the most exciting car racing debuts in recent memory, having successfully made the step up from karting to GT3 machinery.

The quantum leap was barely noticeable, though: Laura made huge progress in her two weekends in GT Cup Open Europe, where she showed proper speed in the Ghinzani-run Porsche 992 GT3 Cup, especially in mixed-weather at Monza where she made her way through the field in conditions that usually reward the most experienced drivers.

Laura is now ready to tackle her first full season campaign - and she will do so with the help of Mertel Motorsport, as the experienced German team will run her Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo in the European GT Open Cup, as part of a six event calendar that will visit some of Europe's top racing venues.

"I can hardly believe that I am already getting such an amazing opportunity to drive for one of the most professional teams in the field", van den Hengel commented. "Last year they won the European championship in multiple classes, so I'm sure I've made the right move and will have a car I can compete with at the front. I am grateful for the support of my sponsors last year and this year, as they made these opportunities possible. Without them, I could never have achieved this!"

The team from Nuremberg was impressed by Laura's dedication and professionalism both on and off track and confirmed their efforts to support van den Hengel in her new journey in the series on the International GT Open package.

"After initial discussions with Laura late last year, we are delighted to have reached a full-season agreement a few days ago", commented Mario Grummt, managing director of Mertel Motorsport at the announcement. "Laura's exceptional talent she showed last season has made her perfectly suited to be part of the prestigious MERTEL Ferrari Scuderia this year!"

A top ten in class at debut at Paul Ricard, and two eighth place finishes in Monza suggest that van den Hengel can aim high and, when provided with right track time, the podium could become a very realistic goal.

"Last year was short, with only 2 races I didn't have enough opportunities to develop well in the GT3 car", she recalled. "That requires a lot of test days and time, which I didn't have at the time. Nevertheless, I managed to get good results and I am proud of that. This year I really want to make big steps and compete for the championship. With this partnership, that is definitely an achievable ambition."

The six event calendar will feature rounds at Portimao - home of the season opener on 28th April - Hockenheimring, the legendary Spa Francorchamps, Paul Ricard, Barcelona and Monza, which will wrap up the season in October.

"I want to thank my sponsors for making my dreams come true: Kartsupport, Avema, Bosch Beton, PevanHa, Pulpvision, van Heugten Transport, Karting Champions League, W&W Vastgoed, KLCK Film Agency, Winkoop, Maverick Sport Training, van Heugten Tapijt, de Gezelligheid, R. Klaassen Accountant, Willems Kippaleis, Wolbert Sportscar, Rijnders Autoschade, JVDB Studios, Elise Wiebes Freelance Videografie, Duncan Kuijpers."

Laura van den Hengel, Mertel Motorsport, Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo, GT Cup Open
Photo credits: @kiekjesmachine



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