VeeKay ready to go as new IndyCar season begins this weekend

VeeKay ready to go as new IndyCar season begins this weekend


Rinus ‘VeeKay’ van Kalmthout is finally allowed to get back to work, as the 23-year-old will begin his fifth season in the NTT Indycar Series this weekend. The Dutchman can now be counted among the veterans of the series.

It’s been no less than 181 days – half a year on the dot – that VeeKay has had to wait since the finish of the final IndyCar race of the 2023 season until he will once again jump into his Ed Carpenter Racing machine for a competitive session during a race weekend. One hundred and eighty of those days have now passed, as tomorrow (Friday) will see the start of 2024’s first-ever IndyCar event to herald the new season with a 75-minute free practice session.


There have been a lot of changes in the IndyCar world over the past six months. The same can be said for Ed Carpenter Racing who will remain VeeKay’s employer for a fifth consecutive season. With the main sponsor having decided to promote one of its other companies, VeeKay’s car has been given a fresh, colourful livery for the new season, as the Dutchman will demonstrate his skills in a green and black car this season.


His working environment has also changed, as Christian Rasmussen – the young Dane who won the prestigious Indy NXT championship last year – has joined VeeKay as the driver of another ECR car. Rasmussen, who like his Dutch colleague is 23 years old, will make his IndyCar debut on the streets of St Petersburg.


Team owner and namesake Ed Carpenter will continue as the team principal at ECR, the American driver and team owner also taking part in this year’s oval races, of which no fewer than seven are scheduled for 2024. Four of them will be completed in so-called doubleheader weekends at the short ovals of Iowa and Milwaukee, one at the similar speedway near St. Louis and the remaining two at the superspeedways of Indianapolis and Nashville.

In addition to the regular calendar, which alternates street circuits such as St Petersburg, Long Beach, Detroit and Toronto with the road courses of Barber, the Indy GP circuit, Road America, Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio and Portland, there will be one non-points race this year, as the $1 Million Challenge at The Thermal Club in California will take place straight after the opening weekend in St Petersburg. This event will see one individual driver take home the top prize of one million dollars, but there will be no championship points on offer.


Entering his fifth year at the highest level, VeeKay, the driver of the #21 Chevrolet in St Petersburg, is well trained and ready to go. After a challenging 2023, the Dutch Rookie of The Year of the 2020 IndyCar season has been working hard with ECR to emerge as a stronger combination for the new year. This Sunday's Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg will be VeeKay’s 64th IndyCar start.


“My fifth IndyCar season starts next weekend and I can't wait to get back to racing,” said an excited VeeKay from his home state of Florida, where the first race takes place this weekend. “The winter break has been long and we haven’t been able to do much testing, but that makes us even more eager to get back behind the wheel.”


“The streets of St Petersburg are very tricky, with a mistake lurking around every corner. So anything can happen. The key to getting a good result is to stay out of trouble. I think ECR and I can go for a top ten result, but of course we don’t know what our very competitive IndyCar rivals have in store for us. In any case, it promises to be another exciting and great season for fans.”