Rinus van Kalmthout is the first driver to be announced in the new Carlin Benik Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda team in 2017. The 15 year-old, who will make his full season car racing debut in 2017 comes from an impressive karting career to join the first rung on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder.
Born and raised in the Netherlands, Van Kalmthout started karting at the tender age of eight and has since claimed several titles. On his debut in the Winter Championship Cadet Class, Van Kalmthout immediately took the title and ended up as the runner-up in the Cadet series’ championship. Van Kalmthout’s success continued with honours in World Formula (Netherlands and Benelux) in 2011, the Rotax Minimax title in 2012, followed by Rotax Max Junior and Rookie Junior titles in 2013. In 2014 the youngster was ranked third in the CIK-FIA Karting Academy World Championship
At just 14, Van Kalmthout stepped up to senior karts in 2015, and claimed runner-up spot in both the European and American Rotax Max Senior championships. Van Kalmthout finished his karting career in 2016 in third in the Super X30 Euro Series and will now make the step up to car racing, in the USF2000 Series.
2017 will also mark Carlin’s debut in the series after a successful two seasons in the Indy Lights Series presented by Cooper Tires. Carlin’s campaign in USF2000 is through a joint programme with top line US karting team Benik Kart which has taken several drivers to success.
Owned and operated by long-time karting industry members Ben Cruttenden and Nick Mitchell, Benik Kart operates out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, close to Carlin’s US base in Delray Beach, where the team’s USF2000 cars will be prepared. Combining the expertise of both teams with young drivers, Carlin will provide all personnel and technical expertise when the Carlin Benik squad take to the track.
Speaking about the team’s first signing, Trevor Carlin said, “I’ve been aware of Rinus for a while now and have watched with interest his career in karts. Without a doubt he’s ready for the step into car racing, and together with Benik we believe we have the perfect package to allow him to achieve his potential in USF2000. With an improved and revamped car for 2017 and on the popular Mazda Road to Indy programme, USF2000 offers young drivers a very effective route into car racing.”
Representing Benik, Nick Mitchell added, “We’ve been very excited to be able to announce Rinus in our USF2000 team. He’s is exactly the type of driver we aim to take from karting into cars. From our karting perspective, his career achievements so far are very impressive and we look forward to seeing him in action when testing commences in October.”
Speaking about his new team, Van Kalmthout said, “Carlin is known to be strong in new competitions and an endless number of Carlin drivers have made it to the top in motorsport all over the world. I’m sure Trevor and his team will have the new USF2000 chassis build up in the best possible way, so I think they can help me to perform on top of my ability.”
Carlin Benik and Van Kalmthout will be out on track when testing gets underway at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on October 8-9, 2016. The date will mark the first opportunity for teams and drivers to sample the all new Tatuus USF-17 racecar that will be utilised for the 2017 USF2000 season.