Algarve Pro Racing has called upon Bent Viscaal to stand in for Jack Hawksworth in the forthcoming European Le Mans Series (ELMS) 4 Hours of Aragon night race (24-26 August).
The 23-year-old from Almelo in the Netherlands will pilot the LMP2 Pro-Am-entered #20 ORECA 07-Gibson prototype alongside the USA’s Fred Poordad and France’s Tristan Vautier while Hawksworth honours his commitments with Lexus Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Viscaal’s background lies in single-seaters and he showed his ability when he scored four successive runner-up finishes in as many categories and finished as Vice-Champion in SMP Formula 4, Spanish F4, Euroformula Open and Spanish Formula 3 in 2017 and 2018.
Thereafter, an F3 race win and podium earned him a spot on the 2021 Formula 2 grid, but he then stepped off the junior single-seater ladder to instead pursue a career in endurance sportscars.
The Dutch racer signed with Algarve Pro last year in 2022 and the partnership started with a bang, as he and teammate Sophia Flörsch fought to what was then a team-best second place result in the opening round of the season at Circuit Paul Ricard, to become the first all-Silver driver pairing to scale the ELMS rostrum.
Misfortune prevented a repeat of their Le Castellet triumph and, feeling he and Algarve Pro have unfinished business, Viscaal is determined to make an impression when he fills in for Hawksworth on the ELMS’s first outing at MotorLand Aragon.
“My collaboration with Algarve Pro Racing in 2022 was a very good one because I really clicked with both Sam and Stewart, who 100 per cent helped my transition from formula cars to endurance racing, which is a completely different ballgame,” said Viscaal. “They definitely know what they’re doing and they give very honest feedback, which is the fastest way forward. I’m really happy with how they guided me into the world of sportscars, I’m grateful for the opportunity they gave me and I’ll always try to give something back wherever possible.
“Last year, with the exception of Le Castellet, the results didn’t match our pace and performance. We were unlucky and I feel there’s some unfinished business. Being part of a Pro-Am driver line-up is always an interesting dynamic, but it’s helpful when you have an Am like Fred (Poordad) who is keen to learn. We had one day of testing at MotorLand Aragon and it was great to get back to the high-downforce ELMS configuration. I’m very much looking forward to the race, as driving at night is always brilliant and the circuit’s remote location means it’s pure darkness. It’ll be a tough one.”