- February 16, 1975
- Not Active
Vanina Ickx is a former Belgian racing driver who is most known as a daughter of the racing legend Jacky Ickx. Vanina participated in various racing competitions all over the world between 1996 and 2011, the most notable were full seasons in the Le Mans Series (2005, 2008, 2010), DTM (2006, 2007) and FIA GT1 Championship (2011).
She participated seven times at 24 hours of Le Mans, with seventh place in 2011 as the best result. She was also successful at 24h Nurburgring and 24h Spa, taking two AT class wins at Nurburgring and one G3 class win at Spa. Vanina participated also three times at Dakar Rally, serving as a navigator to his father Jacky in 2000.
Daughter of a racing legend Jacky Ickx
Vanina Ickx was born on February 15, 1975, in Brussels, Belgium. In 1975, his father Jacky has been already accomplished Formula One and sports car driver, having one Le Mans 24h victory on his account. In the following years, until 1983, Jacky Ickx score five more Le Mans victories, becoming the most successful racer ever at the world's greatest endurance race.
Vanina started racing career at the age 21
The young Vanina was a witness of father's success but he wasn't interested in racing as a teenager. She started to race relatively late, at the age 21, entering the 1996 Belgian BMW Compact Cup as a co-driver to Stephane de Groodt. In 1996, Vanina also participated at 24 hours of Spa for the first time, finishing in the 16th place with Honda Civic VTi. In 1997, she gets her own BMW Cup car and returned to Spa 24h with BMW M3. She retired at Spa but finished the 24-hour race at Zolder, finishing in the 11th place.
1998 Spa 24h – racing with father for the first time
In 1998, Vanina intensified her racing activities, entering the Belgian Procar series. She was driving for two teams – BMW 320i for BMW Fina Junior Team and Renault Megane for Renault Sport Belgium, finishing 11th in the points.
In July 1998, Vanina participated in her first together with father Jacky, sharing the #1 Renault Megane at 24 hours of Spa. Vanina had an accident and they were forced to retire.
Third place overall at 2000 Spa 24h
In the following years, Vanina continued to race in Belgium, driving Renault and BMW, but also Ferrari 360 Modena at Belcar GT race at Zolder in July 2000. Her career-best result at 24 hours of Spa followed in August 2000. Together with Anthony Beltoise and Thierry van Dalen in the Peugeot 306 GTi, she finished 3rd overall.
Father and daughter together at Dakar Rally
The year 2000 was also marked by Vanina's first Dakar Rally participation, serving as father's navigator. She planned to debut in 1997 but health problems forced them to pull out. However, the Ickx – Ickx crew participated for the first time at 2000 Dakar Rally, finishing in the 18th place with Toyota Land Cruiser. In the following two Dakar events, in 2001 and 2002, Vanina participated as driver, both times driving Toyota Land Cruiser.
Unsuccessful attempt in the open-wheel racing
In 2001, Vanina tried something completely new, entering the US F2000 National Championship. Her debut in the single-seater competition wasn't successful, without wins or podiums she finished 17th in the points.
During 2001, Vanina occasionally participated in some other competitions, such were Toyota Yaris Cup or Porsche Supercup, but also debuted at 24 hours of Le Mans.
Le Mans debut with Chrysler Viper
In June 2001, Vanina Ickx raced at Le Mans with #56 Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Paul Belmondo Racing. She shared a car with Vincent Vosse and Carl Rosenblad, they retired after 61 laps because of an accident.
Vanina didn't miss Spa 24-hour race, which became reserved for GT cars for the first time in 2001. She participated with Freisinger Motorsport's Porsche 996 GT3 RS, not finishing the race.
Studying and graduation slowed down racing activities
Vanina's studying commitments slowed down her racing activities for a while, so he had no lot of races in 2002 and 2003. At 2002 Spa 24h, she participated with Belgium-made Gillet Vertigo Streiff, not finishing the race. One more retirement at Spa followed in 2003 when she was driving Larbre Competition's Chrysler Viper.
In June 2003, Vanina returned to Le Mans, participating in GT class with T2M Motorsports' Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Her co-drivers were Roland Berville and Patrick Bourdais. They finished 9th in GT class.
Class win at 2004 Spa 24 hours
In 2004, Vanina occasionally participated in six different competitions – Le Mans Endurance Series, Ferrari Challenge Europe, Formula X Endurance Series, Porsche Supercup, Belcar Championship and FIA GT Championship.
The highlight of the season was her class victory at 24 hours of Spa, which was a part of the FIA GT Championship. Driving the #123 Porsche 996 GT3 Cup for Mühlner Motorsport, together with Jean-Francois Hemroulle and Peter Wyss, she finished 10th overall and first in G3 class.
Racing with prototypes in 2005
In 2005, Vanina stepped into the LMP1 class of the Le Mans Endurance Series, joining British Rollcentre Racing in five races with Dallara-Judd prototype. Scoring three podiums, she finished fourth in the points, together with teammate Martin Short.
During 2005, Vanina also participated in the FIA GT Championship with Gillet Vertigo and in the Belcar Championship with Mini Cooper.
Two DTM seasons with Kolles Racing and Audi
In 2006, Vanina was hired to drive #20 Audi A4 in the DTM. She was driving for Kolles Racing team under the sponsorship title of Futurecom TME. In ten DTM races, her best result was 11th place at a season-closing race at Hockenheimring, so she finished the season without points.
She stayed with the team in 2007, driving the #21 Audi in ten DTM races. This time, her best result was 13th place at Circuit de Catalunya. For the 2008 DTM season, Vanina Ickx was replaced by another female driver Katherine Legge.
Back to Le Mans with Rollcentre Racing
After leaving DTM, Vanina rejoined Rollcentre Racing in the Le Mans Series, to driver Pescarolo-Judd LMP1 prototype. In five races, sharing the car with Martin Short, Joao Barbosa, Duncan Tappy, Mikael Forsten and Charlie Hollings, she didn't score podiums or wins, finishing 16th in the points.
Joao Barbosa and Stephan Gregorie were Vanina's partners at 2008 Le Mans 24h. They finished 10th in LMP1 class.
Two class wins at Nurburgring 24h
In 2009, Vanina participated for the first time at 24 hours of Nurburgring, driving the Volkswagen Scirocco GT24-CNG in the AT class, reserved for alternative fuel-powered cars. Vanina was among class winners, together with Thomas Klenke, Klaus Niedzwiedz and Peter Terting.
Next year, Vanina returned to Nordschleife with the same car, recording one more AT class win.This time, her co-drivers were Nasser Al-Attiyah, Dieter Depping and Klaus Niedzwiedz.
Three more LMP1 attempts at Le Mans
From 2009 to 2011, Vanina Ickx participated three more times in the premium class of the 24 hours of Le Mans, driving two different LMP1 prototypes. In 2009, Creation Autosportif's CA07-Judd finished 15th in class. Vanina's teammates were Jamie Campbell-Walter and Romain Iannetta.
Lola-Aston Martin B09/60 was her car in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, she was a member of the Signature-Plus team, together with Franck Mailleux and Pierre Ragues. They retired after 302 laps. Vanina participated with Signature-Plus in the 2010 Le Mans Series also, finishing 4th in the points after five races.
Career-best Le Mans result in the last season
And finally, in 2011, Vanina recorded his last and most successful participation at Le Mans. Together with Bas Leinders and Maxime Martin, she brought Kronos Racing/Marc VDS Racing Team's Lola-Aston Martin to seventh place overall.
The season 2011 was the last in Vanina's career. She spent it with Belgian Racing team in the FIA GT1 Championship, driving the #9 Matech Ford GT. Christopher Nygaard was her teammate for the most of the season, in which she finished 29th in the points.