Home Featured Dilano van’t Hoff: 2004-2023

Dilano van’t Hoff: 2004-2023

by Ida Wood

Photo: Dutch Photo Agency

Dilano van’t Hoff was quick to make an impression at the start of his single-seater career, launching a relationship with MP Motorsport that would continue into the Formula Regional European Championship

Van’t Hoff still had boxes to tick in karting before he debuted in Formula 4 at the start of 2021, but after turning 16 the growing Dutchman knew moving to cars as soon as possible would be more beneficial than spending another season on karts after his 2020 campaign featured illness and crashes.

During his karting years he won the Trofeo delle Industrie, came fourth in the WSK Open Cup and fifth in the CIK-FIA European championship at the senior level, and was third in the IAME International Final and Euro Series as a junior karter.

Van’t Hoff – whose father Alex had raced with success in the Dutch Supercar Challenge – was the first driver to announce his presence on the 2021 F4 United Arab Emirates grid, and joined reigning champion team Xcel Motorsport for the winter series.

At Dubai Autodrome he claimed pole for his first three races in cars, and the next thing to learn was how to master a start on the grid. He stalled on his first attempt in race one, plummeting down the order but recovering to sixth within a lap and making his way up to second by the finish. In race two later that day he showed what he had learned by mastering the start and taking a lights-to-flag win. He did the same in race three the next day, then finished fourth in race four.

A week later he claimed another two wins at Yas Marina Circuit, then on the return to Dubai made it nine poles in a row and added another win. Van’t Hoff claimed another two poles in each of the last two rounds, but no wins in the second half of the season meant he missed out on the title by a single point.

During the five-week campaign he also got a deal done to join MP in Spanish F4, a series it had dominated the previous year.

Photo: Spanish F4

Van’t Hoff continued the team’s success, with the all-Dutch combination winning their first race together and then claiming a further nine victories – including winning all three races at Jerez – and 13 pole positions. In 21 races there were only three instances where van’t Hoff didn’t finish in the top four, and he became champion by 130 points.

Before wrapping up the title, van’t Hoff penned another deal with MP: to drive for the team in the final three FREC rounds.

He took a best finish of 15th from those six races, and at the start of 2022 picked up more FRegional experience by racing in the UAE-based Asian championship for Pinnacle Motorsport. Although he missed qualifying and the races in round one, he rebounded with a podium and a pole later in the campaign to come 13th in the standings.

A return to MP and FREC beckoned after that, and he did the first three rounds before recovery from a shoulder injury meant he missed out on racing at the three rounds after that. Van’t Hoff was able to return, and made the podium at Barcelona then scored at Mugello.

When he signed again with MP for a third go at FREC earlier this year, van’t Hoff said “I’m very grateful that MP supported me even in bad times” and that “they nurture the family atmosphere in the team and show that you can also win while caring about your drivers”.

Van’t Hoff scored twice in the first three rounds prior to arriving at Spa-Francorchamps last week, where sadly his time came to an end in a fatal crash during Saturday’s race. MP led the tributes to a driver they had been with through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows:

“We are devastated at the loss of one of our brightest Dutch talents, who brought so much energy to our team during the years he raced with us,” the team said in a statement.

Photo: Spanish F4

“Dilano has been a part of our racing family since his motorsport debut with MP back in 2021. We offer our sincere condolences to Dilano’s family and his loved ones, and are in full support of them and our team members who have lost not only a driver but a friend as well.”

His FREC team-mate Victor Bernier said: “Yesterday, I lost more than a team-mate, a friend. Hard to find the words after such tragic tragedy…

“I still remember our moments together and our many side-by-side starts on the grid. I had the pleasure and the pride to have been your teammate, to know more about you, always smiling, with a good will, you never gave up anything 👊🏼

“We were a tight-knit team, we’ll miss you a lot, you’ll stay in our minds and hearts 🥹❤️ My thoughts, of course, are with the family, loved ones, and the whole family MP Motorsport 🧡 Rest in peace my Dilano 🕊️.”

Many other drivers shared their tributes online:

Mari Boya, 2022 FREC team-mate: Boya: rest in peace my friend, a lot of strength for the whole family.

Michael Belov, 2022 FREC team-mate: Never thought it’s going to happen. This is a huge loss for all of us.

Pepe Marti, 2022 FRAC team-mate: Dilano, you were one of my closest friends in the motorsport world, you always were charismatic and friendly. I was lucky enough to enjoy being your team-mate in two full championships and a rival in another.

I will always cherish our memories, podiums and laughs off the track, you will always be with me. I want to express my deepest condolences to the van’t Hoff family and send them all my love and support. Forever in our hearts ❤️

Photo: FRECA

Enzo Trulli, 2021 F4 UAE rival: Speechles for what happened today, it was great to fight on track with you in F4, I’ll remember for all my life.

Kirill Smal, 2021 F4 UAE team-mate: I just have no words…. It was a pleasure to spend all this years on and off track with you. Rest in peace my friend. This world is unfair and takes the bst ones away from us. It was a pleasure to call you my friend off-track and race side-by-side.

Laurens van Hoepen, 2022 FREC rival and life-long friend: I’m lost for words. I’m so incredibly sad that Dilano has passed away. We grew up together and I saw him become an incredible person and friend. My condolences to Dilano’s father Alex and his family.

Callan O’Keeffe, School of Send driver coach: Thank you for all the fun times, the fightbacks and all the new music. You will never be forgotten.