By: Spencer Neff
March 10, 2020 | 8:40 AM
Following a successful junior formula career, 19-year-old Rinus VeeKay will begin his rookie IndyCar season at Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020.
Ahead of VeeKay’s IndyCar debut, here’s a look at his path to the NTT IndyCar Series.
A Winning Start
The son of former Boss GP racer Marjin van Kalmthout, Rinus began his racing pursuits with a stint in karting at the age of eight. During the 2009-2010 season of the Dutch Winter Karting Championship, he won the Cadet class.
A year later, VeeKay finished as the runner-up in the Cadet class’ full-season championship. In 2011, he won the Dutch and Benelux World Formula Championships in karting. For 2012, he captured the Dutch Rotax Max Minimax Karting Championship.
The following year, VeeKay stepped up to the Juniors division of the Rotax Max series. Not only did he earn top rookie honors but he also earned the overall championship.
Over the following two years, he continued in the Rotax Max series. In 2014, he placed third in the CIK-FIA Karting Academy World Championship. Additionally, he was named a Talent First selection by KNAF, The Netherlands’ national Autosport Federation.
In 2015 he finished as the runner-up in both the European Rotax Max Euro Challenge Senior championship and the Rotax US Open Senior championship – as well as placing third in the BNL Karting Series senior class.
Later that year, VeeKay earned a USF2000 test session through the MAXSpeed/Mazda Road to Indy Driver Advancement Program. During the test at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, VeeKay was third-fastest and best among the participating rookies.
For 2016, VeeKay stayed in Europe, finishing third IAME Super X30 Euro Series and the BNL Karting Series Rotax MAX senior class. During the year, VeeKay also earned a fourth-place finish in the European Rotax Max Euro Challenge senior championship.
Capping off 2016, he earned another Road to Indy Test, this time at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Chris Griffis Memorial Test.
By 2017, VeeKay had made the move to the United States to continue his racing pursuits. On the strength of three wins in 14 starts with Pabst Racing, he finished second in his first USF2000 campaign.
VeeKay also earned a victory at Imola in the BOSS GP FIA International Racing Series Open Class. Completing his season, VeeKay also posted a third-place championship finish in MRF Challenge Formula 2000 series, nabbing two victories and four pole positions. Additionally, VeeKay earned an Indy Lights test at IMS, running among the top five in each session.
Ultimately, VeeKay made the jump to the Pro Mazda Series (now Indy Pro 2000) for 2018. Driving for Juncos Racing, the rookie scored the series championship by winning seven races and six pole positions. Additionally, VeeKay posted three victories in the MRF Challenge.
Continuing up the Road to Indy ladder with Juncos, VeeKay ran Indy Lights for the 2019 season. After posting six victories and seven pole positions, he finished second to fellow IndyCar Series rookie Oliver Askew.
During the 2019 season, VeeKay tested twice with Ed Carpenter Racing. On November 20, ECR tabbed VeeKay to run the No. 21 entry for the upcoming season.
“I’m so happy!” VeeKay emphasized in the announcement.
“It’s a dream come true and something we have worked extremely hard for over the last couple of years. To step up from USF2000 to the NTT IndyCar Series in three years is really special.”
In the announcement, Team Owner Ed Carpenter lauded VeeKay’s talent and readiness for the series.
“I have been following Rinus’s path through the Road to Indy, especially the past two years,” he expressed.
“It was clear to me that he deserves to be in an Indy car. After his first day in a car at Portland this past season, that feeling became even more apparent. His pace, feedback, and demeanor inside the car was very impressive for such a young driver.”
After completing a session-high 84 laps at the Circuit of the Americas Open Test on February 11-12, VeeKay now sets his sights to his first NTT IndyCar Series start. At this weekend’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the Dutchman will look to kick his career off on a successful note.
Header image by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images.