One of the leading lights of the Dutch motorsport scene has decided to retire from racing at the top level.
Former F1 racer Giedo van der Garde has announced he is retiring from racing at the age of 38.
Van der Garde released an emotional video statement on his social media, confirming that he will no longer pursue a motorsport career as a racing driver, having spent the last couple of years taking part in sportscar racing.
Giedo van der Garde announces retirement from motorsport
Van der Garde took to Instagram early on Saturday to post his video statement, announcing his retirement from motorsport.
“Today I say goodbye to racing,” said Van der Garde, who stood on the podium as a class winner in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) race at Portimao this year.
“A little sad? Maybe, but proud and happy all the same. It has been quite a ride.”
Van der Garde is probably best known for his single year with Caterham in 2013, having spent years trying to break into Formula 1 after being signed to McLaren’s Young Driver Programme in 2006.
Serving as Super Aguri and Spyker’s test and reserve driver in 2007 during a bizarre contract dispute, Van der Garde tested with Spyker that summer but, due to lacking a Super Licence, didn’t take part in a Grand Prix weekend practice session.
The Dutch driver finally got his chance in 2012 as he completed six practice sessions with Caterham after being signed as their test and reserve driver, securing a race seat for the following year.
His best result that year was 14th place at the Hungarian Grand Prix, before Van der Garde opted for a reserve seat with Sauber for 2014. He was then embroiled in the infamous ‘three-into-two-won’t go’ race seat dispute at Sauber at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix, when three drivers showed up with valid contracts to race for the Swiss squad.
Van der Garde, as well as race drivers Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson, all ended up caught up in the dispute as courts ruled in Van der Garde’s favour, but the Dutch driver opted to accept a settlement from Sauber and forgo his place in the team as then-team boss Monisha Kaltenborn forged ahead with Nasr and Ericsson.
Unfortunately for Van der Garde, he never got another F1 opportunity – Dutch interest latched onto the rise of Max Verstappen as the precocious teenager arrived in the sport and won his first race in 2016.
Instead, Van der Garde turned to sportscar racing with a switch to the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) and the WEC – all in the LMP2 class.
This year, racing with United Autosports in WEC, he finished as part of the winning LMP2 squad at Portimao, as well as racking up second places at Elkhart Lake and the Petit Le Mans while racing with TDS in IMSA.
“I have had the privilege of following my passion since childhood,” said Van der Garde of his career.
“It was a fantastic time. I became world champion twice and was able to fulfill my dream – to reach Formula 1.
“I am grateful to everyone who was involved in my career and helped me, especially my parents, my father-in-law [Dutch businessman Marcel Boekhoorn] and my wife, Denise. Without them I could not have done what I did.
“Although I was still competitive every race last year, I would like to spend more time with Denise and our three children. I have also become increasingly active as an entrepreneur and investor, as well as Viaplay’s F1 analyst. I want to devote more time to that as well.
“I therefore look back on my racing life with pride and look forward to the future with great pleasure!”