[Feature] Nyck de Vries: “The logical jump is the Formula Renault 3.5 Series”

Member of the McLaren Young Driver Development Programme, Nyck de Vries (Koiranen GP) won both the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS titles. After two learning seasons, the Dutchman confirmed the hopes put in him and now prepares to join the Formula Renault 3.5 Series with the two-time defending championship team DAMS.

Debuting in karting at a very young age, Nyck de Vries made his way to competition and quickly became a front-runner in the categories where he raced. Leaving for Italy at the age of 13 in order to be closer to the principal factories, his successes drew the attention of the observers from motor racing’s elite.

“In 2009, I won the European Championship in the KF3 class”, details the Dutchman. “At the end of the year, we spoke with McLaren, Ferrari and others. In the end, I joined the McLaren Young Driver Development Programme. Without their help, I wouldn’t be where I am. They supported me in all the necessary areas, with a trainer, doctor and the financing of my career among other aspects.”

After two consecutive CIK-FIA World Championships, the Dutch hopeful made the big jump to single-seaters, directly via the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0. On the podium in his first race, he finished fifth in the general classification, while also scoring his maiden victory during an outing at Assen in the North European Cup.

“The transition from karting to single-seaters was very hard“, he admits. “A lot of things changed enormously, especially the brakes, which is probably the most difficult to master with such little time to adapt! I finished as the top rookie, so we can’t say we did a bad job. We started off very well, but the weather conditions complicated matters, most especially due to my lack of experience“.

In 2013, the Formula Renault 2.0 evolved while Nyck de Vries joined Koiranen GP. Ranked among the favorites for the title, Nyck de Vries got off to a slow start before coming on strong at the end of the season.

“We aimed for the title for my second season. Unfortunately, we had a very bad start to the year. We struggled in qualifying, which made the races difficult. We were in a downward spiral and I began to overdrive to make up for it”, concedes Nyck de Vries. “We needed the summer break to get a new start. With two victories and five podium results in the final six races, we scored more points than everyone else. The team and I showed what we can do.”

In the end the Dutchman finished fifth in the championship and stayed with Koiranen GP for a third year in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0. As odds on favorite, he shot to the top of the general classification with his win at Motorland Aragón. And he held on to the position all throughout the season.

After seeing Bruno Bonifacio join him on equal points, he retook the championship lead before becoming the first driver to win for a second time this year with his triumph at the Nürburgring. At the same time, Nyck de Vries dominated the ALPS championship with nine poles and victories, 12 podium results and 10 fastest race laps from 14 rounds!

While he wasn’t as dominating in the Eurocup, Nyck de Vries built his title with consistency. The only driver to finish on the podium at every meeting, Nyck de Vries extended his lead while his rivals shared the other points on offer. Hungry for victories, his two triumphs at Circuit Paul Ricard clinched the title ahead of the final round at Circuito de Jerez, where he clinched the team title for Koiranen GP.

“After three seasons in the category, it was time! I knew what I had to do this season. We have worked a lot and for a long time to achieve this. We have shown what we are capable of and I am very happy and proud to have won the championship one round before the end. Therefore, the logical jump was the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. Following my first tests, I felt good physically and I thoroughly enjoyed the driving ability it requires. Now, only time will tell how I get on.”

In joining the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in the wake of his title in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, Nyck de Vries follows Albert Costa, Kevin Korjus, Robin Frijns, Stoffel Vandoorne and Pierre Gasly, his five predecessors in the record books. All of them finished in the top six in the premier category. Now it is up to Nyck de Vries to show his talent next year!

Nyck de Vries
Born: 6 February 1995 at Sneek (Holland)
1999-2011: Karting
2008: German Junior Kart Championship (Champion), WSK International Series – KF3 (Champion)
2009: CIK-FIA European Championship (Champion), German Junior Kart Championship (Champion), WSK International Series – KF3 (Champion), CIK-FIA World Cup – KF3 (5th)
2010: CIK-FIA World Championship (Champion), CIK-FIA World Cup (3rd), WSK Euro Series - SKF (2nd)
2011: CIK-FIA World Championship (Champion), WSK Euro Series – KF1 (Champion)
2012: Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 (5th) and Formula Renault 2.0 NEC* (10th)
2013: Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 (5th) and Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS* (8th)
2014: Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 (Champion) and Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS (Champion)
*limited programme