Yesterday the biography of Gijs van Lennep was published. The book could of course only be presented in one place: at Pon, between the Porsches.
"It's not a Porsche book," says compiler Mark Koense, "but Gijs van Lennep's racing career is of course inextricably linked to Porsche. In the book, however, you also see the other cars he was racing with, whether they were Alfas or Volkswagens. " However, the biography appears quite late, because it has been more than 45 years since Gijs van Lennep achieved his greatest success, his first victory over Le Mans. He later won again, but the 5.335 kilometer that Gijs van Lennep and his teammate Helmut Marko covered in 1971 remained in the books for almost four decades as a record distance. "Gijs van Lennep is not the man to shout his successes off the roofs," says Koense. "Moreover, the time is different now. Now that motorsport is much more popular, also due to the successes of Max Verstappen, people are only beginning to understand. When Gijs van Lennep came second in Le X in the 70 with a half-broken car, people said he was getting old. Only now do people understand what a formidable achievement that was. "
Koense did not write the book, he emphasizes. 'At one point Rob Wiedenhoff approached Gijs van Lennep with the question whether it wasn't even time for a biography. They started with that at the time, but of course the book still had to be published. After a while they came to me because I have experience with that. " Koense is doing a bit of that, because he has indeed spent three or three regular visits to the Gijs van Lennep house to sort out photos and view other material.
Incidentally, Gijs van Lennep himself does not think the book appears rather late. 'I am actually happy that the book has only just been published. Because when you get older, you sometimes look at things differently. So in the book my view of things is now also incorporated, all those years later, and I think it gives a better and more complete picture of how I experienced it. '
More on the way
An advantage of the late publication of Gijs van Lennep's biography is that the book describes his complete motorsport career. Koense: 'We were also working on a book about Jan Lammers, but he will be riding Le Mans again next year. So we just put that project in the refrigerator. Not that I have nothing to do now, because other books are coming. The biography of Toine Hezemans is almost finished, we will be working on that of Arie Luyendijk for a while. "
But first there is the biography of Gijs van Lennep that is ready to be read. The 296-page book contains hundreds of photos and looks beautiful. It costs 50 euros and can be purchased at specialty stores and via the webshop from RTL GP Magazine.