Laurens Vanthoor is a Belgian racing driver who started his career in single-seaters but later switched to GT racing and won numerous titles. He currently serves as Porsche factory driver in different GT competitions. His most recent success are victory in GT class at 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 and IMSA SportsCar Championship title in the GTLM class in 2019.
Earlier in a career, he gained lot of success as Audi driver, including championship titles in the 2016 Intercontinental GT Challenge, 2014 Blancpain GT Series or 2013 FIA GT Series. He won some of the greatest endurance races, such are 24 Hours of Nurburgring (2015), 24 Hours of Spa (2014) or Sepang 12 Hours (2015, 2016).
The Zolder Circuit determined Laurens’ life
Laurens Vanthoor was born in May 1991 in Hasselt, Belgium. He lives near Zolder Circuit where he watched his father to race when he was a boy. At the same time, Laurens began to race karting and over the years achieved some good results. In 2005 Vanthoor won both Belgian and French ICA-J championships and also finished 4th in the European Championship.
Two years later Vanthoor became factory driver of the CRG Team in the KF2 category but missed most of the season after having a serious accident that resulted in six fractures. However, he was able to finish as a runner-up in the North European Championship before switching to open-wheelers.
Vanthoor celebrates win at Oschersleben, 2008
The youngest ever German F3 champion
In 2008 Laurens debuted in the German Formula 3 with Van Amersfoort Racing and did a good job in his rookie season. The young Belgian scored two wins and other seven podiums before finishing 4th in the standings. The same year Vanthoor debuted at Macau Grand Prix becoming the youngest ever in the history of the event. He again did well and finished 6th in the prestigious race.
After a successful debut in single-seaters, Laurens became Volkswagen factory pilot, thanks to the support of Belgian Motorsport Federation. He stayed in the German F3 in 2009 and became the youngest ever champion in the series. It was really the brilliant year for the Belgian as he triumphed in 11 out of 18 races with Van Amersfoort Racing and had other four podium finishes. That year Vanthoor also experienced racing in the Belgian Touring Car Series.
In 2010 Vanthoor progressed to Formula 3 Euro Series. Driving for the Signature team he had 4 podium finishes and took 6th place in the Championship. That year Laurens also finished 2nd in the Macau Grand Prix, losing to his teammate Edoardo Mortara. Belgian driver stayed with the team for another year in F3 Euro Series and again finished 6th overall, failing to win the race for the second year in a row.
Laurens Vanthoor started to race with Audi in 2012
Switch to GT racing was a good decision
The year of 2012 brought a big change for Laurens. He switched to GT racing and very soon he was established as one of the best GT racers in Europe. His debut was with the Belgian Team WRT in the FIA GT1 World Championship and Vanthoor impressed driving an Audi R8 LMS Ultra alongside Stephane Ortelli. They won three races and Laurens finished fourth in the points.
Next year, the championship became the FIA GT Series. Vanthoor continued to share a car with Ortelli and they won the title with three race victories (Zolder, Zandvoort, Baku), beating teammates Frank Stippler and Edward Sandstrom. The same year Vanthoor also raced in the Blancpain Endurance Series, again with Ortelli, but the results weren’t as good and he finished 14th in the standings, with one podium finish on his account.
Laurens Vanthoor and Stephane Ortelli
Blancpain GT Series champion and Spa 24h winner in 2014
In 2014, Vanthoor raced with Belgian Audi Club Team WRT both in Endurance and Sprint Cups of Blancpain GT Series. He was crowned as the series overall champion.
He scored a total of seven wins in both cups, finishing fourth in the Sprint Series with five wins and as the winner of the Endurance Series with two wins, including a triumph at 24 Hours of Spa when his co-drivers were Rene Rast and Markus Winkelhock.
On the shoulders of Cesar Ramos and Christopher Mies after victory at Nurburgring
Wins at Nurburgring and Sepang, DNF at Le Mans debut
The start of 2015 was very good as he finished 2nd in 12 Hours of Bathurst. Later in the season, he won 24h of Nurburgring and 12 Hours of Sepang. However, his main duty again was racing in the Blancpain GT Series and driving alongside Robin Frijns, the Belgian driver finished 3rd in the standings after winning 5 out of 12 races.
The same year Vanthoor debuted at Le Mans 24 Hours, driving for OAK Racing in LMP2 class, alongside Kevin Estre and Chris Cumming but they retired on lap 329.
Laurens Vanthoor, 2016 FIA GT World Cup, Macau
GT World Cup and Intercontinental GT Challenge champion
In 2016 Vanthoor again had an excellent start as he triumphed at 24 Hours of Dubai. For the second year in a row, he won 12 Hours of Sepang and also was crowned as GT World Cup and Intercontinental GT Challenge champion. Finally, Laurens in the Blancpain GT Series again finished 3rd in the Drivers’ Championship confirming his class.
His last success with WRT Audi was the victory at the World GT Cup in Macau. It was an unusual victory at one of Vanthoor’s favorite tracks. His Audi went upside down after the accident. The race was stopped and wasn’t resumed because there wasn’t enough time to restart and Laurens was declared a winner as he led in the last completed lap.
Laurens Vanthoor is a Porsche factory driver since 2017
Moving to Porsche in 2017, winning Le Mans in 2018
After five very successful years with Audi, Vanthoor moved to Porsche in 2017. His main job was to drive the #912 Porsche 911 RSR in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. He was the only full-time driver in the #912 car, sharing a car with five different co-drivers. After scoring three podiums, he finished sixth in the final classification of GTLM class. Outside IMSA Championship, Vanthoor was driving Porsches for different Porsche customer teams all over the world but without any notable success.
In 2018, Vanthoor stays in the #912 Porsche, taking his first IMSA victory in the fourth round at Mid-Ohio, together with Earl Bamber as his teammate. It remained their only win and they finished fifth in the championship. In June, he joined FIA WEC regulars Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre in the #92 Porsche 911 RSR at 24 Hours of Le Mans, winning the race in GTE Pro class.
IMSA GTLM champions Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber
IMSA GTLM champion in 2019
In 2019, Vanthoor's working place was the #912 Porsche again. Sharing a car with Earl Bamber, he was a race winner three times, taking the IMSA Championship title in the GTLM class.
Outside IMSA Championship, he was ninth at Le Mans 24 Hours, ninth at Spa 24 Hours and second at Nurburgring 24 Hours.