Dutch racing driver Giedo van der Garde was at the top of the world once, after winning the World Karting Championship in 2002. Later in a career, after he switched to bigger cars, he won one more championship title in the 2008 Formula Renault 3.5 Series. In 2013, he competed in the world's premier single-seater series, driving for Caterham Formula One Team and it was the peak of his career.
Giedo Gijsbertus Gerrit van der Garde was born on April 25, 1985, in Rhenen in the central Netherlands. As a teenager, he had a successful karting career, winning the Dutch championship in 1998. In the World Championship, he was the Rookie of the Year in 2001 and then he took the Formula Super A world's title in 2002.
After reaching a top of the world in the karting competition, he moved to the bigger race cars. In 2003, Giedo competed in the Formula Renault 2.0 with Van Amersfoort Racing, finishing sixth in the Eurocup and fourth in the Dutch championship.
In 2004, Van der Garde joined the French Signature team in the Formula 3 Euro Series. He was driving Dallara F302 (Opel) and scored two podiums in twenty races, finishing ninth in the points. He had another season in the same series in 2005, but Giedo was driving for Team Rosberg. He was ninth in the points again, scoring two podiums.
In 2006, his third season in the F3 Euro Series was the most successful, as he finished sixth in the points and took the second place in the non-championship Masters of Formula 3. He was competing for the ASM F3 Team. That same year, he was a part of the McLaren's Young Drivers Programme.
For 2007 season, Giedo joined Victory Engineering in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. He missed the podiums, scoring five Top 5 finishes. At the end of the season, he was sixth in the points and third in the Rookie standings. During the year, Giedo had some tests with Spyker F1 team. Although he had tests with few GP2 teams, he remained in the FR 3.5 Series in 2008, joining the British team P1 Motorsport.
It was Giedo's most successful season in a career, as he won five out of fifteen races and dominantly won the title with two races remaining. He was the winner in both races at season-opening round at Monza and later added victories at Spa, Hungaroring and Bugatti Circuit. In 2008, he was also testing the F1 car of ING Renault F1 Team.
Between the seasons of 2008 and 2009, Giedo competed in the GP2 Asia Series with iSport International team and then continued to drive in the GP2 Series for the full 2009 season. In July, he scored his first GP2 victory at Hungaroring. Later he added two more wins (Spa and Monza) and finished seventh in the points.
Giedo joined Barwa Addax team in the 2010 GP2 Series season, finishing again seventh in the points, but this time without victories. He was in the second place three times, at Monza, Valencia and Spa. Van de Garde remained with Barwa Addax team for the 2010/2011 GP2 Asia Series and 2011 GP2 Series. In the Asian series, he was third in the points, in the main series, he finished fifth after five podiums in eighteen races.
Giedo entered the 2012 season as the reserve driver for the Caterham F1 Team and joined its GP2 Series team to compete but he didn't drive the F1 car. He scored his first victory of the season in May at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya and one more win in the last round at Marina Bay Street Circuit. With two wins and six podiums he was sixth in the points, tied with fifth-placed James Calado.
During the 2012 Formula One season, Giedo participated in six Friday free practice sessions. The next step was his full arrangement as the Caterham F1 driver in 2013 season, alongside Charles Pic. Van der Garde debuted in Formula One at season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, finishing 18th. At 2013 Monaco Grand Prix, he achieved Caterham's best qualifying position ever, reaching P15 on the grid. In the races, his best result was 14th place at Hungarian Grand Prix.
In January 2014, it was announced that Van der Garde would join Sauber F1 Team as a reserve and a test driver for the upcoming season. He took part in the Friday's test sessions at seven Grand Prix events. He was hoping to enter the next season as one of two main drivers, but Sauber hired Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr for 2015 season.
It caused Van der Garde to file an international arbitration complaint with the Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution in December 2014. After a few months of court complications, culminating ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in March 2015, it was confirmed on March 18 that Giedo van der Garde and Sauber had reached a settlement. He relinquished his rights to race with Sauber F1 team for the compensation in the amount of USD$16 million.
Van der Garde returned to the race track two years later, in March 2016, in the European Le Mans Series pre-season test at Circuit Paul Ricard. He joined G-Drive Racing to drive #38 Gibson 015S LMP2 prototype in the ELMS and FIA World Endurance Championship. Van der Garde had a competitive debut at 4 hours of Silverstone, the opening round of the ELMS season, winning the race alongside Simon Dolan and Harry Tincknell.
The next race was 6 hours of Spa, the second round of the FIA WEC season, where his co-drivers were Simon Dolan and Jake Dennis. They finished sixth in the LMP2 class. In May, the #38 car scored one more ELMS podium, finishing second at Imola. In June 2016, Van de Garde debuted at 24 hours of Le Mans, partnering Dolan and Dennis, but they retired after 222 laps.
Giedo continued to score good results in the ELMS, finishing on the podium for the third race in a row at July's 4 hours of Red Bull Ring. The trio Dolan/Tincknell/Van de Garde finished third.