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Thomas ten Brinke quits racing with immediate effect

by Craig Woollard

Photo: FRECA

Formula Regional European Championship rookie Thomas ten Brinke has announced his retirement from racing at the age of 16.

ART Grand Prix driver ten Brinke sits 13th in the FREC standings at the halfway point of the season with five points finishes from eight starts. It was just his second season in cars, after he came third in Spanish Formula 4 last year.

The son of Dakar racer Bernhard ten Brinke had graduated to single-seaters from a stellar karting career in which he won the CIK-FIA World Karting Championship in 2019, and the German title for OK Junior karts in 2018.

“Dear all. For the past few years, I’ve been extremely dedicated to racing. I’ve been go-karting for five years, became world champion and finally made my move to autosport. I loved the first races in F4, the racing, the competition and moved my way up to Formula Regional soon after,” ten Brinke said in the announcement of his racing retirement on social media.

“During the weekends of FRECA, I started feeling a pressure I didn’t know before. How badly I would’ve wanted to compete, I struggled mentally to perform. Together with the coaching of [former Formula 1 driver] Giedo van der Garde and Ken de Meester, I tried to turn things around, but the past weekend in Zandvoort it became clear to me. There was no joy.

“I know that driving race cars is a dream for a lot of people – and that thought also makes this decision even harder – but I have to stay true to myself and admit that racing doesn’t make me enjoy my life the way I want.

“Therefore it’s with a heavy heart that I’m writing that I will stop my racing career immediately. For all the people that helped me along the way: a big thank you. I don’t know what the future will bring, but I know I’m taking the right decision. All the best, Thomas.”

ART responded to ten Brinke’s post shortly after, stating that it was “informed of Thomas ten Brinke’s decision to stop his racing career immediately. It has been a huge pleasure to work with you, Thomas. We respect your hard decision and we wish you all the best for the future.”

Ten Brinke’s team-mates Gregoire Saucy and Gabriele Mini are currently first and sixth in the FREC points.