Skip to content

Driver Database News

The latest news from the world of racing


Tag: Chris Vlok

Chris VlokFollowing up his recent podiums at Mont Tremblant and Trois Rivieres, New Zealander Chris Vlok captured the win at the ICAR circuit located in Mirabel Quebec. From his 4th starting spot Chris quickly moved forward and within a few laps was running a solid second place behind recently named Team Canada Scholarship driver Xavier Coupal. When Coupal ran into mechanical problems Chris grabbed the lead and held off the hard charging Olivier Bonnet and Nathan Blok.

The win propelled Chris to 5th in the points and closing fast on the 3rd and 4th drivers in the standings. The team was making its first visit to the circuit and was learning more each session what Chris and his car needed to improve.

With the win under their belt, the team was anxious to get to qualifying for the Sunday event. Chris put the car on the outside pole just 7/100 of a second off the flying Coupal. The race was much like the Saturday version with Coupal being too strong for everyone and Chris leading the pursuit with a train of cars all fighting for position. Chris held second until the final laps when he was forced wide in turn one. While trying to counter and get the spot back, he lost momentum and was passed by the next couple of cars, dropping back to 5th in the blink of an eye. Refusing to give up he quickly attacked and retook a spot and then another as the field raced past the stopped car of leader Coupal, who had a second straight race win disappear only corners from the flag. Crossing the line in 3rd place, Chris moved into 4th in the standings and leads the Rookie points with just two rounds remaining.

“We had high expectations for Chris this weekend as he improves every time he gets in the car and we were not disappointed”, commented team principal Brian Graham. “It was our team’s first visit to ICAR so we knew we would be under pressure to figure out the track quickly so we could give Chris the car he needed to perform to his best. The car was flawless and our engineer made all the right adjustments and the results proved it. We are very excited about the final event at Mont Tremblant and are now focusing on getting the Rookie of the Year locked up and going for a top 3 position in the Championship.”

While BGR Team Grote has put more drivers in the winner’s circle than any other team in OFFC history, this is the first full season for the team to compete in the Formula Tour 1600. The team has now won with two different drivers this season, Trent Hindman who won the support event at the F1 weekend and now Chris Vlok with his win at ICAR. BGR Team Grote currently leads the Rookie points in both the OFFC and the Formula Tour 1600 series. While striving to be the best environment for Karters looking to make the transition to the open wheel ranks, BGR Team Grote encourages interested drivers to contact the team through the team website at to learn more.

Originally published at Flagworld.
Photo by Flagworld.

Chris VlokBGR Team Grote was back in action last weekend with New Zealand Driver Chris Vlok putting on a stunning performance for his first time at the second oldest street race in the world and taking his second podium of the season at the famous Trois Rivieres Grand Prix. The Trois Rivieres GP is the second oldest street race in the world to the Monaco GP. Taking a prominent fixture on the podium this past weekend, Chris now leads the Rookie Championship and is coming 6th overall.

The BGR Team Grote entry of New Zealander Chris Vlok was contesting the always exciting Trois Riviere Grand Prix in his first visit to the event, Vlok delighted the team with a very competitive opening round of the doubleheader. Progressing with every lap and learning what the car and Vlok needed, the team improved every time they hit the track. After Qualifying his car P7, Vlok managed to fight his way to 5th place in the first race, but it was when the group hit lapped traffic that Chris was held up in the wrong place and fell back to P7. “It was a tough race”, said Vlok, “The lapped traffic really held me up toward the end, it couldn’t of happened at a worse spot in the circuit and cost me two positions”. “We only had one practice session before qualifying so we didn’t have a lot of time to set the car up properly, and on top of that it was my first time at this track and also on a street circuit”. “So between learning the track and the ins and outs of my first street circuit, we were trying to get the most out of our track time”

The feature race for the Formula Tour 1600 saw Vlok battle his way up to the leaders from 8th as he got faster with every lap, and in the end he was rewarded with an excellent third place and his second trip to the podium this season. “Race two went all to plan, and the changes we made to the car really paid off” Commented Vlok, “I ran in 6th from the end of the first lap, and was slowly left behind by the leading pack, until my tires came in” “From there on in the car was a rocket, and i was able to work my way back up to them” “Lapped traffic again held me back, this time coming after the 2nd safety car as the 1st and 2nd duo pulled away from the two lapped cars in front of me, but with the yellows still out i was stuck behind them, not for long, but the damage had been done and the gap was to big to chase in the two remaining laps” “Another great weekend though and am very happy with the outcome, a big thanks to BGR, Mark, Eric and my sponsors for all the hard work over the weekend.

“We are so pleased with our performances this past weekend and our stable of excellent young drivers,” noted team owner Brian Graham. “We have a great group of mechanics and engineers and were not nervous about our ability to run in two places at the same time, we are just that confident in our crew. Chris gets better every time he gets in the car, for a first timer at the GP3R he did an outstanding job, a podium at the GP3R is so special, he deserved it. Watching our cars run at the front is what we strive for at each race and we are lucky to have such talented drivers in our cars.”

For more information on Chris Vlok, please visit You can also follow his progress on

Chris VlokBGR Team Grote was back in action at the Beautiful Le Circuit Mont Tremblant last weekend, contesting round 3 of the Quebec Formula Tour 1600 Series in Canada. New Zealand driver Chris Vlok was eager to get back in the car from the huge 5 week break after round 2 at the Canadian F1 GP in Montreal. The Friday test day went well and Vlok posted some impressive times putting him in the top 5 by the end of the day. Qualifying for Race 1 on Saturday also went well and with a wrong turn in setup the 18 year old rookie managed to line up 9th for the first race. Making some adjustments to the setup for Race 1 made for a great first few laps which saw Chris move up to 6th and then another pass putting him into the top 5. A full course caution halted his progress and unfortunately the race ended under caution but a solid top 5 was a nice result.

Sunday was filled with excitement as the cars took to the track for qualifying 2 and improving on his Saturday starting spot by 3 grid positions had him line up 6th. The race was a high speed pursuit with the top 10 cars staying in close contact as positions constantly changed every corner but all the while Vlok made steady progress and ran in 4th as the last lap board was displayed. The lead duo just meters ahead of Vlok and the 3rd place car of veteran Didier Schraenen came together only 4 corners from the finish and they both retired with damage promoting Didier to the lead and Chris to 2nd, they remained that way to the flag as Chris earned his first podium of the season. The two top 5 results also promoted Vlok to the lead of the rookie points championship. “It’s nice to finally get some good finishes in the bag after all the hard work that were putting in”, commented the young New Zealander Vlok. “We’ve had good speed since the start of the season and it was unfortunate that we incurred all the bad luck that we did, so this is a real confidence boost for me and the team that couldn’t have come at a better time”, “It puts us in a good position for our next meeting at the Trois Rivieres GP3R street circuit, which is going to be tough considering the limited amount of track time that we get and with me having no experience there, so its a good position to enter that event in”.

“What a great weekend for BGR Team Grote and our rookie driver Chris Vlok, commented team principle Brian Graham. We were close here in the spring and this shows that Chris is a real contender and as he learns the new tracks and gains knowledge he will continue to fight for podiums for the remainder of the series. The rookie of the year is something we are really trying hard to come away with as we have won that crown in Ontario for six straight years and hope to start that tradition here in Quebec. They guys did a great job this weekend in the heat and had the car perfect for the Sunday feature. We are very excited about the GP3R and know Chris will love that venue.” BGR Team Grote has put more drivers in the winner’s circle than any other team in OFFC history and continues to strive to provide the perfect environment for karters to make the transition to the open wheel ranks. The winners of the past 6 consecutive years of Rookie of the Year will be looking to continue that tradition this season.

Chris VlokChris Vlok continued his great pace at Round 2 of the 2011 Quebec Formula Tour 1600 last weekend. Vlok, who took part in the 41 car field support races at the Canadian Grand Prix, bounced back strongly from his bad luck over the opening weekend at Mont Tremblant to finish the weekend with a some good points onboard.

Brian Graham Racing returned to the GP with the last visit being in 2007 with Kyle Marcelli and Conor Daly. With 41 cars set to contend with and three of the five team drivers having never seen the track before, it was a steep learning curve. Two of the teams drivers were there last season so they had some, but limited knowledge of the Circuit Gilles Villenueve. A very short qualifying session did not help much, as a total of six laps were run to learn the track and get a handle on setup, putting the team under pressure to figure things out in a hurry. The approach to Saturday’s race was to keep learning and use it to get further up the grid for the Sunday feature.

Chris Vlok lined up 15th in qualifying suffering through gearbox issues the whole session. “It wasn’t the best qualifying session i’ve had to say the least, but never the less it was a great introduction to such an amazing circuit and we came away from it having learnt a lot”

The first race went green the whole distance and the group enjoyed a 16-lap event, with Vlok improving six spots to ninth. “It was a pretty nerve racking race for me as the weekend before saw me with a pretty slack points finish. I didn’t qualify as best i could and starting 15th in such a big field didn’t help the feeling either. My goal for the race was to finish. So i knew i had to put my head down and work hard. I thoroughly enjoyed it though and it was nice to finally get some decent points beside my name”

The Sunday race was what the BGR squad had been working towards, and when the team arrived to a rain soaked track it was obvious it would be a wild affair with very tricky conditions for everyone. Vlok had another solid run with another ninth place finish, despite being pushed off the road for the second straight weekend in a row and losing a couple of spots on the final lap. “I’ve always loved racing in the wet, and seem to be at my best when it is. The visibility from 12 cars in front of me off the start was something else how ever and it was a miracle no one went off at turn 1. My goal for Sunday was once again to finish with some solid points, and it was unfortunate that i lost out on 7th by being cut off yet again. An awesome experience this weekend though one that i wont forget. Big thanks to the team but also for all the organisers and circuit staff for being so helpful and welcoming to me”

All in all a great weekend for Brian Graham Racing and all its drivers. “It was a great weekend for BGR Team Grote despite the troubles we had with Kieran’s elusive misfire and the bad luck that JC encountered,” stated team principal Brian Graham. “Trent did an outstanding job, and we are very excited about the rest of the season, as he will contend for wins from here on out. Chris did a great job as well. He has the speed, and as he becomes more familiar with the circuits and the competition he will definitely be on the podium soon. Ayrton did a good job, and would have had better results if not for a some evasive moves he had to make to miss cars and spin himself in doing so. It was our first weekend with JC, and he is a pleasure to work with. He was thrown into the deep end with the weather, as he had never driven a FF in the rain. Some more seat time would pay dividends and we hope to see him again soon. I have to thank all our crew for their hard work. Mark, Gibby, David, Christine, Kyle, and our engineer Eric Langbein provided great cars. The Formula Tour 1600 officials did a great job and worked through some difficult situations with the courtesy we have now become accustomed to with them. We were also very grateful for attendance of our guests from Grote, who were treated to a win by their own car!”

Photo by

Chris VlokIt was weekend of “Oh so close” for the BGR Team Grote squad this past weekend at the opening rounds of the 2011 Formula Tour 1600 Series. While weather played a major role in the weekends proceedings the action on track was fast and furious. New Zealand racer Chris Vlok took very little time to get up to speed at the beautiful Mont Tremblant track and with a talented field on hand qualified his BGR prepped VanDieman 5th for round 1. He ran in that position for much of the race but on the 8th lap of the 12 lap race he had contact with another racer that left him on the sidelines for the remainder of the race.

Rebounding nicely though, Chris continued to impress as he put in another excellent qualifying performance and lined up P3 for the Sunday feature. Learning the tricks of rolling starts for the first time this past weekend he ran 3rd for the first stint of the race holding onto the 2 lead cars and building a slight advantage over 4th. A full course yellow would wipe-out his gap to 4th and the restart saw him drop a couple of spots. He quickly regained his position and once again started to build an advantage over 4th. A second full course caution had a similar result, however with the last lap starting and Chris fighting for a potential 4th place he was hit from behind on the final corner and put into a spin. He recovered quickly but the damage was done as he crossed the line in 12th position.

“Not the results we wanted or deserved but we know we have a very competitive driver for the remainder of the season. Without the yellows we would have had a likely podium but we are still proud of Chris and the job he did this weekend. He has a tough road ahead of him to continue to learn new tracks and build his knowledge but we are very confident he is up to the task.” commented team principal Brian Graham.

Chris and the rest of BGR Team Grote return to action for the Canadian Grand Prix FF support race June 10-12. To learn more about BGR Team Grote visit the team website at

Chris VlokBGR Team Grote is pleased to welcome New Zealand FF driver Chris Vlok to its expanding 2011 driver line-up for the upcoming Formula Tour 1600 Championship.

The Quebec-based Formula Ford season kicks off on May 27 with a open test day prior to Rounds One and Two of the 12-round series on May 28-29 at Mont Tremblant’s picturesque Le Circuit. Vlok will be competing in the full Formula Tour 1600 Championship with the OFFC title-winning team as they expand their programs to include the Quebec series, as well as the new US-based F1600 Formula F Championship Series.

“We are happy to have Chris join the team and will have a bigger presence at the second event in the series for the supporting race at the Grand Prix of Canada, where Chris will have several teammates,” commented team principal Brian Graham. “The FTour 1600 has assembled a very nice schedule and we are looking forward to it.”

BGR Team Grote is known for producing outstanding drivers, having captured the OFFC Rookie of the Year award for five consecutive years, as well as the CASC Rookie of the Year the last four years. Having captured championships in both A and B class titles in the Ontario Formula Ford Championship, this will be the first full season with the Quebec Formula Tour 1600 Championship.

Article originally published at

f1600A gathering of nearly 40 drivers, that will include a mix of seasoned veterans and young hopefuls, will once again line up on the starting grid of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, next June 10, 11 & 12, for a round of the 2011 Formula 1600 Series schedule. Octane Racing Group, promoter of the event has announced today the return of one of the Montréal crowd favourite open-wheel series at the Grand Prix du Canada. Besides the familiar names of the Bonnet family father and son team, Didier Schraenen, and other stars of the Québec-based series, several top drivers from Ontario, the United States and even a young hot shoe from New Zealand are expected in Montréal that weekend.

“We are happy to announce today the return of the Formula 1600 Series at the Grand Prix du Canada. It is always a pleasure to realize that these Quebec and Ontario race programs are doing so well that it enables us to attract a large group of racers able to put on a great show during our event,” said Mr. François Dumontier, President of Octane Racing Group and President of Grand Prix du Canada. “Speaking of doing well, we are happy to hear that Didier Schraenen, one of most popular drivers on the Quebec Formula 1600 Series circuit, has totally recovered following his health incident last year, and that he will try once again to capture his first series win in Montréal. Some of the greatest drivers in the world made their debuts in this type of series. So, we are happy to continue the trend by showcasing these young stars in front of the Montreal crowd.”

Among the up-and-coming drivers expected in Montréal, Quebec drivers Charles Leclerc and Xavier Coupal, Nathan Block and Aaron McCauley from Ontario and Chris Vlok, an 18-year old from New Zealand, are among these worth mentioning. Even though he has graduated to the American Star Mazda Series, Jeremy Daniel, another fine young Quebec driver, could join the fray during the weekend of June 10, 11 & 12.

“We are excited to return to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the third year in-a-row, and for a second consecutive time at the Grand Prix du Canada,” commented Marcel Lafontaine, a former series driver who has retired from competition this year to dedicate his time as President of Formula Tour 1600. “It is always an incredible opportunity for our drivers to be able to showcase their skills and know-how. The technical challenge of the track and the unique ambiance of this event are unparalleled. Once again, I am convinced that the drivers will put on a great show.”

With Lafontaine no longer competing against his old pal Didier Schraenen, Formula Tour 1600 Series champion Michel Bonnet and runner-up Olivier Bonnet, will be facing their Ontario counterparts Steve Pickering, Matt White and Dean Baker for top honours in Montréal. Last year, 42 drivers showed up for qualifying and 40 of them made it to the starting grid.

The open-wheel Formula 1600 goes back 40 years in the motor racing history book. Mika Hakkinen, Damon Hill, James Hunt, Nigel Mansell, Jody Scheckter, and Ayrton Senna have all made their marks in this series, as did current Formula 1 drivers Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button, Mark Webber, and Adrian Sutil who will be competing at the Canadian stop of the World Championship. The current Canadian version of the F1600 championship uses spec engines and tires. The wingless open wheel car chassis of the series are manufactured by CMV, Crossle, Magnum, Mygale, Reynard, Swift, Vector, and Van Diemen.

As a reminder, those wishing to buy grandstand and general admission tickets can contact the Grand Prix du Canada box office seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 514 350-0000. They can also order online anytime at

Organizers are also offering a variety of corporate packages for both small and large companies and other groups who wish to attend the 2011 Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada. To make a reservation or to obtain further information on corporate packages, contact Julie Rioux-Paquette at 514 350-4731.

A Canadian company established in Montreal, Octane Racing Group Inc. is the promoter of the FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DU CANADA by virtue of an agreement made with Formula One Administration Limited and Formula 1 World Championship Limited (together the holder of commercialization rights to F1).

Originally published:
F1 Grand Prix du Canada

Chris VlokMortimer Racing is pleased to announce that has Chris Vlok to compete in the 2010 edition of the Quebec-based Formula Tour F1600 series.

As part of a multi-car effort in the Formula Tour 1600 series, Ottawa-based Mortimer Racing has added New Zealand racer Vlok to its 2011 driver line-up. The 18 year-old Vlok joins the former Formula Ford championship-winning squad having begun his racing career two years ago, and most recently competed in the 2010-11 New Zealand Formula Ford Championship.

Vlok will make his Canadian motorsports debut with Mortimer Racing in the spring, with the yet to be finalized 2011 Formula Tour F1600 schedule slated to begin at Le Circuit Mont Tremblant in Quebec.

Originally published: