IMSA: Johannes van Overbeek looks to retire a winner in Saturday’s Petit Le Mans

Johannes van Overbeek will retire after Saturday's IMSA season finale. Photo courtesy IMSA

IMSA Wire Service

Last month at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Johannes van Overbeek and co-driver Pipo Derani were celebrating an IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory following the America’s Tire 250.

At the end of Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, van Overbeek will retire as a full-time driver.

“I thought about retiring last year, and then in discussions with (Patrón Spirits President/CEO) Ed Brown, he said, ‘Hey things are going to be different at the end of next year,’” said the 45-year-old driver of the No. 22 Tequila Patrón ESM Nissan DPi. “Patrón’s not going to sponsor this anymore, so why don’t you just wait one more year?

“’You started with the team and then you can say you ended with the team and bookend the entire program.’ It seemed like the smart thing to do. I love the group that (ESM owner/driver) Scott Sharp has put together. It’s a fantastic program. We have great partners, we’re still competitive and I think we get more competitive as we learn more about the car.

“The second part is, I’m 45. I’ve been doing it at a high level for 22 years, and it just feels like a good time to make a lane change in terms of career. I can do it another few years, but I couldn’t do it another 20 years, so I just figured now’s as good a time as any to step away and pursue other opportunities.”

Among the opportunities the resident of Oakland, California is looking to pursue is in the mobility and autonomous car industry. It makes sense to him geographically and in other ways.

“At the moment, I’ve been pretty busy managing a very valuable car collection for a Silicon Valley guy,” van Overbeek said. “With my proximity to Silicon Valley and having a lot of linkages to Silicon Valley – and then with this sort of new wave of mobility and specifically, autonomous cars – being able to work for a manufacturer or supplier in that space is something I’m very interested in. Because transportation as we know it – big and small – is changing. I’d like to be a part of that in some way, shape or form.”

While this will be the end of his full-time driving career, van Overbeek hasn’t ruled out a return to the cockpit for selected events. He’s got too much love for the sport to totally walk away.

“My love for driving remains,” he said. “I will still do the occasional race. If the right opportunity for an endurance ride comes along, I’d certainly take a look at it. I’ve been spoiled. I’ve had the luxury of being in top-end cars. It’s really from a safety perspective. When I go out on track in a Patrón Ligier, I don’t have to worry that it’s got an old part on it.

“My interest is only in equipment that is good and properly maintained by a good team. What I’m really retiring from is racing at a full-time level. Doing it on the side or for fun, occasionally, I’d still like to be involved because I still love the sport.”

The WeatherTech Raceway victory was van Overbeek’s 15th IMSA win. That total also includes an overall victory in the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona and two overall wins in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts, which rank among many career highlights.

“I started out pretty late as a driver,” van Overbeek recalled. “Although I raced go-karts, it was kind of when my dad had extra time and money and it was always kind of a bit of an afterthought.

“But the first thing that sticks in my mind was sort of putting the pieces together and realizing, ‘Well, if I could raise the money to go race and then find a team and basically create the opportunity.’

“So, I would say the first big memory is being successful in raising money to start racing back in ’96. That was a win like no other, when your dream becomes reality, again, through hard work and effort.

“On the track, you always remember the wins. The first win with Flying Lizard’s, sort of, career as a team at Mid-Ohio with Darren Law in 2004 against a factory Porsche team was very rewarding.

“But I have to say, winning Daytona overall and Sebring twice overall are probably highlights. Those are two races that were just outside my realm of possibility when I started racing because I started off racing GT cars.

“I just didn’t have the imagination to think I could win one of those races overall. Being able to do it and win Sebring twice, it’s truly a dream come true.”

Van Overbeek will look to add one more win – which would be his third Motul Petit Le Mans victory – in the No. 22 Nissan DPi alongside co-drivers Derani and Timo Bernhard.

Live television coverage of Motul Petit Le Mans begins Saturday, Oct. 13 at 10:30 a.m. ET on FS1, with continuing coverage on FS2 from 12 p.m. ET through the checkered flag. Live IMSA Radio coverage also will be available on, and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius 119/XM 202/App 972).

Jett Lawrence wins Hangtown Pro Motocross, remains perfect in 450s

Lawrence Hangtown Motocross
Align Media

Jett Lawrence remains perfect in the Pro Motocross series after recording another perfect round at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California. In his second start on a 450, Lawrence won his second National with his fourth consecutive moto win. It is getting increasingly difficult to find the right superlatives to describe the exploits on the reigning 250 West Supercross champion.

“The track was so brutal out there,” Lawrence told NBC Sports Jason Thomas. “The bike handles amazing even when it’s not too friendly. You had to be really patient; you couldn’t take too much. I didn’t eat enough before that second moto. I kind of lost energy halfway through, but luckily I could use technique and balance and just keep that flow going.”

Lawrence leaves Hangtown with an 18-point advantage over Ferrandis in the 450 Motocross standings, but perhaps more importantly, he climbed to 19th in the SuperMotocross standings and should he stay there, he has an automatic invitation to the Main events in the SMX Championship.

“On this track, you just have to manage,” Lawrence continued. “If you try to take too much and not respect the track, it will bite you very quickly. It was humbling on the first few laps. I got kicked on the cutout at the start of the third section, the tabletop going to the left. I had to get my focus because the boys were coming.”

Still in his first few races since returning from a concussion suffered at Houston in the Supercross series, Dylan Ferrandis finished second with results of third in Moto 1 and second in Moto 2. While Ferrandis was happy with the result, he remains hopeful that he will contend for victory shortly.

“The first moto was very hard for my physically, Ferrandis said. “I got arm pump and when you get arm pump your body gets tired. But I’m very happy because we made a big change for the second moto. We tried stuff every session today and in the last moto the bike was much better, but unfortunately I wasn’t sure what I could do with this bike because the track was very hard and difficult to pass.”

RESULTS: How they finished in the 450 Overall at Hangtown

With the rash of injuries at the end of the Supercross season, the podium was filled with heartwarming stories. Cooper Webb returned to action last week in Pala and failed to make the podium. He is steadily improving with a third-place finish in Hangtown. after finishing with a 4-2.

“It’s incredible what seven days can do,” Webb said. “Last week I felt like I was going to get lapped in the second moto. This week, I could see the leader. It was nice. I fought hard, learned how to suffer again there and that felt nice.

Moto 2 wasn’t pretty for Lawrence. On several occasions in the opening laps, he nearly high sided as he rode the front wheel through the ruts. The reward was worth the risk. By the halfway point, Lawrence had 4.5-second lead over Webb, who was embroiled in a tight three-rider battle for second with his teammate Aaron Plessinger pressuring him and Ferrandis ready to take advantage if those made contact.

It took 20 minutes for Plessinger to get around Webb and once he did, he trailed Lawrence by four seconds. But then, with three minutes remaining, Plessinger crashed and had difficulty restarting the bike, handing second back to Webb who has seven seconds behind Lawrence. Plessinger fell to fourth with results of third and sixth.

Adam Cianciarulo rounded out the top five with a 5-4.

Last week Hunter Lawrence won the overall with a 3-1. He repeated that feat in Hangtown in an exact replica of his Fox Raceway results last week. In Moto 1, Lawrence got off to a slow start and lost 10 seconds in the opening laps. Forced to overcome a sixth-place position in the race at the end of Lap 1, he once again caught the riders ahead of him when the field hit heavy traffic. For the second week, scored another 3-1 for the Hangtown National win.

“The start was crucial’ I knew I had to go,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Jason Thomas. “They laid a lot of water down, so I didn’t want to be behind any longer than [I was]. First hot one of the year, was a bit of a wakeup call, so I’m happy to get out of here safe and healthy.”

Lawrence’s third-place finish in Moto 1 featured a fierce battle for final spot on the podium when he caught Spain’s Guillem Farres and France’s Tom Vialle. With Lawrence hailing from Australia, the international nature of the sport was highlighted.

Lawrence left Hangtown with a 10-point advantage over Haiden Deegan in the Pro Motocross championship battle.

Click here for 250 overall results

Justin Cooper finished second in both motos to finish second overall. Hangtown represented a huge improvement from Fox Raceway where he finished fifth overall with a 5-4 finish in the two motos. Cooper pressured Haiden Deegan in the second half of Moto 1 and he earned the holeshot in the second moto and stayed within three seconds of Lawrence in that race.

“He was following me a little bit, checking out my lines, seeing where he was better,” Cooper said. “It’s disappointing to give up the lead like that but it was way better than last weekend. I will definitely take two seconds. I want to be on the top of the step. I feel like I get close to the top step but I never get it done. That’s building up the frustration – the fire. I really want to get one of these wins, so it’s time to start digging.”

Haiden Deegan earned the first holeshot of his career in Moto 1 and rode away from the field, building a four-second lead in the opening laps. Cooper trimmed the lead at the halfway point and for a while it leveled off at two seconds. Then Cooper made another charge with three to go and closed to within a second. Deegan was biding his time, however.

“I was saving a little. I knew at the end Justin was going to try and put a charge on. I let him get up close and then sent it super hard at the end to break him a little at the end.”

Deegan’s first moto win comes in only his fourth National and he remains perfect in regard to podiums this year.

“This was a dream since I was a little kid, to win,” Deegan said. “And in my fourth race, it’s gnarly. I was just sending it. I was getting a little tired at the end becasue I left my mouth open the whole time. It’s unreal; I’m so hyped. I wanted to win bad and I proved it to you guys.”

Chaos erupted in turn 1 in Moto 2 Jeremy Martin went and another rider ran over his arm. Michael Mosiman crashed further down the track on that same lap. Both riders were helped off course by the Alpinestars Medical team.

2023 Motocross Race Recaps

Fox Raceway: Jett Lawrence wins in first 450 start

2023 Supercross Race Recaps

Salt Lake City: Chase Sexton ends the season with win
Denver: Chase Sexton wins, takes points’ lead with Eli Tomac injury
Nashville: Chase Sexton keeps hope alive; Cooper Webb out
New Jersey: Justin Barcia wins muddy race; first in two years
Atlanta: Chase Sexton is back in the championship picture
Glendale: Eli Tomac wins 51st, breaks tie with James Stewart
Seattle: Eli Tomac wins and ties Webb for first
Detroit: Chase Sexton inherits win after Aaron Plessinger falls
Indianapolis: Ken Roczen gets first win in more than a year
Daytona: Eli Tomac extends Daytona record with seventh win
Arlington: Cooper Webb wins for second time, closes to two of Tomac
Oakland: Eli Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael with 48 wins
Tampa: Cooper Webb gets first 2023 win
Houston: Eli Tomac bounces back from A2 crash to win third race of 2023
Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Eli Tomac wins opener for the first time

More SuperMotocross coverage

Chase Sexton is out for Hangtown
Enzo Lopes re-signs with Club MX for 2024
Record Supercross attendance reported in 2023
SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Pala
Results and points after Pala
Jett Lawrence wins Pala in his first MX start
450 Champion Chase Sexton takes back what he gave away
250 West Supercross champion Jett Lawrence ends dream career
250 East Supercross champion Hunter Lawrence overcomes doubt and injury