2006 – The Beginning
BlueStar Racingteam came into existence in 2006, when local rivals at Worldkarts Kortrijk decided the time had come to challenge for indoorkart race victories and championships, on a national and international level. Until that time the likes of Gregory Laporte, Steven To, Justine Vanwynsberghe, Timothy Laporte and Nicolas Vanpuyvelde dominated the local championships, but their dreams were far bigger. By setting up a team, defending that name, those colours and those values, we wanted to start a legacy, in order to hopefuly one day step out of the shadows of indoorkart racing and move on to something bigger.
Racing is a team sport. Individual performances and talent wins races, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.
We had set ourselves a clear goal now, and we set the aim very high, so we were prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve our ambitions.
“Racing is a team sport. Individual performances and talent wins races, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships”
Crossing the Atlantic
We were the first Belgians ever to cross the Atlantic to go and race in Phoenix (USA) at the 2006 Indoor Kart World Championship. We definetely showed flashes of speed, and potential, but the end result was not what we wished for, even if we came home still as 5th best team and best rookies. It was a great experience however and we learned a lot of valuable lessons. Now the picture was very clear, the difference between winning on a local level, and on an international level.
Throughout 2006 and 2007 our main drivers deliberately searched and raced in Belgium’s hardest races, discovering that there were so many talented drivers who were fast, everywhere. Instead of giving up after initialy getting beaten, we accepted that this was part of our learning curve, and we analysed in detail what set apart these greats, like Grooten, Van de Vel, Borremans, from others. Those guys impressed at the 2007 World Championship, whilst we sat out that edition because of lack of sponsorship.
The First Championship
When Worldkarts Kortrijk was announced as the host for the 2008 Indoor Kart World Championship, we realised this was the opportunity for us to strike. The very best drivers from Belgium, Brazil, Holland, Austria, the UK, Italy, the US, .. all went head to head in what was an amazing competition. Two and a half years preparation had led to this moment, and dreams became reality as Gregory Laporte became the 1st Belgian to win the World Championship Title in the 70kg category, with the smallest of margins over one of Belgium’s greatest drivers Bart Van de Vel, and Dutch youngster Romano Franssen.
2008 also marked the year where BlueStar started recruiting youngsters, most notably Kenny Geldhof, impressing at the age of 14 with a 4th overall finish at the IKWC. With Sidney Van Nieuwenhove in 5th, and Steven To in 6th position, it is no surprise that the team came close to their 1st “Team World Championship” too, however we lacked a few points to the reference team at that time, Talent Promotion Belgium, that had scored big in the 90kg category with the title for fellow countryman Mathias Grooten.
Team World Champions
Belgium on top it was, but how would we fare when the championship travelled to Macaé, Brazil in 2009? Both Laporte and Grooten defended their world titles in style, winning races and making it into the finals, but the true star of the championship was Kenny Geldhof who dominated the show, only for mechanical failures in the semifinals denying him a very deserved world title. Brazilian Maxwell Jansley was crowned the champion, whilst teammate and new BlueStar recruit Ruben Boutens, the most promising driver from Holland, also concluded a fantastic championship and finished 3rd overall. Kenny finished 4th again. BlueStar however, with Boutens, Geldhof, Laporte and To, were crowned Team World Champions for the very first time.
As a consequence of our success, top drivers like Grooten and Borremans, both multiple Belgian Champions, joined our ranks, instantly making our team the reference in indoorkarting world wide. What followed was justice, Kenny Geldhof won the 2010 and 2011 World Championships, in Phoenix (USA) and Eupen (Belgium), respectively. BlueStar won its 2nd and 3rd Team World Championship titles, with the likes of Geldhof, Grooten, Borremans, Laporte and De Jong. In 2011 a total of 187 drivers raced each other.. with a guy in blue on top. Delirium!
With back-to-back wins at the 24 hour race of Eupener Karting, we proved that we were a good endurance team too, finishing a 5-race-win streak of the local top team. It goes to show that if you truly believe in something, anything is possible.
Victories and Championships
Victories and championships kept coming in 2012 and 2013, yet with another BlueStar driver in the main role. Robin Borremans, a guy who came close a few times and who had won races at all world championships, sprung a surprise by winning the 2012 World Title in Essen Germany, one of the toughest editions to date as well, beating local favourite Maximilian Beer. In 2013, he copied Geldhof by winning back-to-back world titles in Aarhus, Denmark. BlueStar, once more, scored Team World Championship titles number 4 and 5, with Borremans, Grooten, Medart, Laporte and the duo Vieira and Papke who exclusively did 1 KWC with us.
Both in 2012 and 2013, the Junior World Championship was won by one of our youngsters at the time too, as we molded Giovanni Baccellieri from an unknown talented young pilot, into one of the most promising youngsters of the indoorkart sport. Our drivers also completed a hattrick of wins at the Italian Indoor Kart Championship, as Geldhof, Medart and Laporte secured the title for 3 years in a row, from 2011 to 2013 respectively.
2014 marked a more difficult year for us, as our team results didn’t fruit the financial backing we had hoped for. Indoorkarting remains vastly underrated, even if a guy like Kenny Geldhof only needed 45 minutes in the RedBull F1 team simulator at Milton Keynes, to come within 0.1sec of Daniel Ricciardo, who was a F1 test driver at that time. Jeffrey van Hooydonck, who is a Belgian sportscar driver, and who tested both real Minardi and Jordan F1 machinery in his career, was 2 seconds off Kenny’s pace in the televised duel between the young indoorkarter, and the experienced racecardriver. Kenny never getting a call from RedBull to do something with that talent, after all he had shown, was a serious blow.
The 2014 KWC -again in Brazil- was the most difficult one as the karts at everyone’s disposal were not up to world level standard. We finished 3rd in the team ranking with Borremans, Boutens, Medart and Laporte.
An objective that had escaped us for many years.
The First 24h of FKI – Brussel
The 24 hour race FKI – Brussel
In 2015 we finally reached an objective that had escaped us for many years. Podiums each year at the 24 hour race of FKI – Brussels, but never the win, at a very challening track (in-/outdoor), often raced at in mixed conditions. The rain turns the inside part into the most slippery surface, so the local ‘specialists’ were always very hard to beat. In 2015 however, Grooten, Boutens, Medart, Borremans, Laporte and De Winter finally checked that box too, by beating Hula Lulu to the top spot of the podium. Kinepolis and Jonathan Bert always supported us in this race, and it felt good to finally repay their loyalty to us.
When the KWC travelled to Italy for the first time, at a PGK track with shifter karts in Camerano, it was Mathias Grooten who finally put all the bits together again in a championship, ultimately scoring his long awaited 2nd world title, putting him next to Geldhof and Borremans with two titles each. The team claimed its 6th Team World Title, with Grooten, Borremans, Boutens and Medart.
2016 – 10 years of BlueStar
2016 was a defining year for us, we reached the milestone of 10 years existence. We restructured the team, we recruited new young talents like Földesi and Sougné to join the junior ranks with Coudron and Cabrera, and we actively searched for more sponsorship and ways to bring in funds. BlueStar had gone missing from some endurance events, just because of the lack of sponsorship, and that’s something we wanted to change, so we had to take action.
We finished runner up in Brussels at the 24 hours event, but we won the 24 hours of Eupener Karting, in front of endurance greats like Modave PPS and AVIA Racing Team. A standout performance by Grooten, Boutens, Medart, Franssen and Földesi, and strategically led by Team Manager Laporte.
At the KWC however – again in Italy but on another track in Martinsicuro- BlueStar played at the front, but because of some small mistakes here and there, the competition was really close. Dutchman Rico Haarbosch won the first World Title for Holland, a bitter pill to swallow for our driver Ruben Boutens who had to settle for 2nd yet again. Four times on a World Championship podium, but no win, he had never come so close. The team narrowly edged out Dutch Value and Hola Lulu, for Team World Title number 7, with Boutens, Grooten, Borremans and Földesi.
Worth mentioning is that Ruben Boutens also won the inaugural edition of Formula Karting, a championship with races in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany throughout the year.
Winners 24h Eupen
2017 – A new era
With lessons learned from 2016, we embarked on 2017 by introducing three new exciting drivers, as some of our senior drivers (Borremans, both Laporte brothers, Vanpuyvelde and To) are moving onto different, but important supporting roles to our main team and junior teams. Reigning World Champion Haarbosch realised one of his childhood dreams by joining BlueStar, whilst Romano Franssen also expressed his desire to be a full-time member after a few one-off drives for our team. Finally Christian Wolf, from Germany, vicechampion in Poland and winner of the MoKart Como event in 2016, also got recruited, ensuring that BlueStar is here to stay for the future.
But what never changes is our desire to do well at the Kart World Championship, which was hosted at Karting Rivas in Spain – Madrid, with 172 drivers.
Probably one of the best performances we ever had at this level, as all of our drivers really excelled, and the end result was record-breaking.
Ruben Boutens, finally, after being an international superstar in indoorkarting, won his first world title after a faultless performance. He was dominant, and in the end only threaned by teammates Haarbosch and Grooten who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively, to make it a full BlueStar top 3. Never seen before! De Jong finished as a very respectable 6th, which led to one of the most comfortable Team World Titles in our history, already number 8, and one we are very proud of, certainly given the fact how we came close to ‘giving it away’ in 2016.
What’s left for us in the future?
Obviously, our team’s desire to one day move up the autosport ladder, remains. Is it impossible without serious financial backing? Yes. What can we do? We continue to do what we do best now. And we make sure that we are ready, with top drivers, when that day comes. Because when it comes, we won’t just race “to be part of it”, “to fulfill a childhood dream”, we will race because we will want to prove our worth. We will analyse every detail like we do now, and once we come to grips with whatever machinery that’s put to our disposal, we will have one aim. To win!
Well obviously, it is clear that we are very passionate about what we do, that we take it very seriously, and that we take much pride and joy in winning races at such a high level.
We take nothing for granted, and we will continue to send teams to the world’s finest karting events, worldwide.
We are proud that we continue to deliver results year after year, and that we have avoided to fall into the trap of complacency.
We are proud of the fact that we feel so much respect from the karting community in general.
We are proud of the fact that we now have the luxury of top drivers expressing their “dream” to race for BlueStar, and that our driver pool is so immensily talented.
The inter-team rivalry makes each individual in our team better, there’s no question about that. No driver dominates all others, it’s up to each driver to bring their A
game to every race, if they want to be our team’s best. And by being the team’s best at that race or championship, most likely they will be in contention for the silverware.
But we are probably most proud of the fact that this group of friends has exceeded any expectations we had in the beginning. The teamspirit in BlueStar is probably what sets us apart from all others. Our loyalty goes beyond borders, beyond finances, beyond anything… We are all proud to represent BlueStar, and we will continue to do so.