Mechanical failure once again cripples VeeKay at Laguna Seca

Mechanical failure once again cripples VeeKay at Laguna Seca

Rinus 'VeeKay' van Kalmthout failed to finish the eighth race of the 2024 NTT IndyCar Series when the 23-year-old Dutchman suffered a gearbox failure in his car.



In a busy month of June, VeeKay and his IndyCar rivals were out for a third time, since after the races in the streets of Detroit and at the legendary Road America circuit, it was back to an iconic strip of tarmac as WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca acted as the battleground for the eighth championship round of the 2024 season.


The race weekend got off to a difficult start for VeeKay with an engine failure and subsequent engine change. While qualifying wasn’t kind to VeeKay – the driver of the #21 Chevrolet had to settle for 20th place – the Dutchman was in particularly good form in the warm-up session on Sunday morning. In fact, VeeKay’s green and black car was the fastest machine in the session, as a late set-up change proved to be the key to a faster car for Ed Carpenter Racing.


The start of the 95-lap race in Western California brought out the best in VeeKay. First, the talented 23-year-old was forced to let a number of rivals fly past on the opening lap when he was pushed towards the outside by a spinning car but then he picked off his rivals one by one. By lap 6, the Dutch native was back in 17th place. However, a spin saw the Dutchman drop down the order.


VeeKay refused to let up after that, as the former IndyCar race winner fought his way back to the front as quickly as he had dropped back. The alternative soft tyre proved to be his favourite comrade in arms, as with the ‘red’ rubber, the ECR driver skilfully worked his way back up past his rivals, using an alternative strategy to reach as high as seventh. However, following a second pit stop to replace the soft tyre with a hard one, VeeKay suffered a major disappointment when the gearbox of the #21 Chevrolet refused to engage.


First sixth gear failed, then fourth. As a result, VeeKay was forced to pit, where the team examined the gearbox and concluded that he could not continue. As a result, the Dutchman was classified among the retirements of the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey. The race was won by Ganassi driver Alex Palou.



“An unpleasant outcome,” commented VeeKay. “Because the speed was great, especially at the beginning of the race at Laguna Seca. A little spin that put us back a bit didn’t change that. I closed a big gap on Will Power and managed to pass him as well. The fact that he finished seventh says a lot about the potential we had. It looked good.”


“The car was fast and I felt good, but unfortunately we had another mechanical problem. This time it was the gearbox. First sixth gear went and then fourth. Of course we never give up, but it was really annoying.”


“After this busy schedule of four races in five weekends, we now have some time off, although we are still testing at the Iowa oval. We have is only one goal on our schedule – to score good points we need to finish races. Mid-Ohio is a nice track, so I will do everything I can to get a good result there.”



The 2024 NTT IndyCar Series continues in two weeks with the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. The race will take place next Sunday, July 7th and will start at approximately 19:30 GMT.