Community sits at the very heart of Walero. We love hearing the many stories of success from those who wear and champion Walero across the globe. In this series, we check in with our athletes in all corners of the world to find out what drives them to Get The Edge.
This month’s edition sees us catch up with two budding drivers from Scandinavia, Lasse Van De Ploeg and Oscar Schroter, a driver pairing looking to make a name for themselves in the Danish Endurance Championship and make their way to the very top of sportscar racing across the country and beyond.
In a region where hurtling along narrow tracks and rally stages on four wheels is second to none, many young racing drivers look to pursue a career in rallying rather than the seemingly more tame world of circuit racing. But for two talented racers, the world and appeal of a firmer, more predictable racing environment proved to be even more attractive! Lasse Van De Ploeg and Oscar Schroter represent another wonderful portion of the grassroots community in the ever growing Walero family, and with it, give us a unique insight into the competitive nature of endurance racing in a country where the phrase ‘if in doubt go flat out’ is second to none.
Kickstarting his first steps into a racing career at the youthful age of six, Lasse’s journey into the daunting world of motorsport took some persuasion, a memory that he looks back on very fondly!
“I had always looked up to my uncle who had been racing in both karts and cars when I was younger and taking the trip to watch him compete in a race, made me realise that this was something I wanted to dedicate some time to trying.”
“I remember begging my mum and my dad to let me have a go and eventually, with some effort, they agreed! They bought me my first kart and I vividly look back on my first attempt at driving it around a parking lot close to home, with my dad hurriedly running along beside me to make sure I didn’t crash into anything or cause any trouble!”
From that very moment, it became clear to Lasse that his sights were set on entering the world of motorsport and the first outing at the local karting track could not come soon enough. Alongside Lasse, Oscar would also start his fledgling career at the age of six, with his first steps into the world of karting courtesy of his father and uncle, whom both had racing experience across Denmark and International karting competitions.
“I had always been inspired by the efforts of my father and uncle,” Oscar explained. “Growing up watching them race both across Denmark and Europe in various karting events gave me an immense sense of curiosity into the sport and as ever in motorsport, having family that can help you get going, is always a massive bonus, I didn’t need to persuade my parents as much as Lasse,” he jokes!
With the pair’s introduction into karting well and truly underway, they both soon set about getting the daunting task of the first race under their belts.
“To compete in Denmark, there was a minimum age of eight, so I spent the first two years in karting really trying to get used to the kart and making myself more comfortable,” Lasse recalls. “I practised and practised on the local track for days on end and by the time I reached eight, I felt as ready as ever to get stuck into the competitive races.”
Lasse’s first race, in his words, was an eye-opening experience and one that he looks back on with a big smile on his face as he details being slow and careful but it was an experience that he will never forget.
“It was fantastic to get out on the track for the first time, yes I was slow and yes I got beaten quite badly, but I came back into the pits with a huge smile on my face and that was the most important thing. From that moment on, I knew I had made the right choice and I just couldn’t wait to get back on track again and be even quicker than before.”
With every passing weekend, Lasse would get quicker and quicker, emerging as a fast and consistent racer with ample ability to challenge those around him for wins and podiums. With this new found speed and natural ability, Lasse would go on to challenge for multiple national crowns across Denmark and in 2018 he would take the honours to become the Nordic Champion, a fantastic achievement.
After his triumph as the Nordic Champion, Lasse would soon be recognised by the Ginetta Scholarship programme, a prestigious initiative that looks to provide up and coming racing drivers with a unique opportunity to take on Britain’s iconic tracks, and compete for the overall glory of being crowned scholarship champion.
“To get the opportunity to travel to the UK and compete against the best drivers that Ginetta had selected to take part in the championship was an honour and an experience that I will never forget. It was my first step into the world of cars and a big step up from the world of karting, which all of a sudden seemed very far away!”
“The biggest challenge for me was learning the balance of the car, how to correctly apply the throttle or lean on the brake without locking up were the main challenges to overcome. But I felt fast and had belief in myself that I could perform, it was a wonderful experience for me.”
With the help of one of his sponsors, Lasse would challenge for the final spots of the scholarship programme and narrowly missed out on securing the all important first place and with it the ultimate reward of Ginetta support for his fledgling career. However, Lasse would remain undeterred and flew back to Denmark with a new ambition, sportscar racing, firmly on his mind.
Whilst Lasse had been competing in the UK, Oscar had been continuing to push on with his school studies after a brief period of involvement with karting, finally stepping back into the seat of a kart at the age of 14.
“It felt good to finally get back into the world of karting and to experience what I had been missing during the time spent away from the sport. The feeling of being back behind the wheel was unforgettable and it really gave me the motivation to want to push on with my career, but also make sure that I could balance it with my school studies! If I hadn’t made the decision to dedicate my time to karting, then I wouldn’t have met Lasse, and this amazing journey for the both of us would never have happened.”
With his return, Lasse had his sights set on racing cars and he would finish his season in karting before deciding to take the step into cars with a brief period racing in a Danish one make series called Aquila, where he would gain some vital experience, before the pandemic scuppered his plans of progressing further for the majority of 2020.
“Although the pandemic halted things, I’m extremely thankful for it giving me the opportunity to meet Oscar! We both worked at the local karting track and soon got to know each other more and more as the months went by. I started out by helping him with his own karting journey as I became his mechanic for several races and we soon became best friends.”
“In the winter of last year, we finally decided to take the plunge and I wrote a letter to him and his family asking if he was interested in forming a team together and exploring the possibilities of racing cars across Denmark. Of course he said yes!”
“I was more than happy to let Lasse give me some help, it gave me a great confidence boost as we became closer as friends and having someone who understood what I was thinking and feeling with the unique setup demands of the kart was a welcome addition,” Oscar reflected.
After combining forces for several successful seasons in karting competitions across Denmark, Lasse and Oscar would join forces to not only form a driver pairing, but secure the funds to buy their first ever racing car, a VW Scirocco that would be carefully converted from roadcar to race car! With the team formed and the car purchased, the stage was set for the pair to tackle the Danish Endurance Championship head on in 2022.
“The team would be our project together, I would handle the sponsorship and economic side of things, whilst Oscar would look after the mechanical components and general maintenance of the car,” Lasse explained. “Teaming up with Oscar was a great opportunity to not only develop our own careers but our skills and communication both on and off the track as teammates and best friends!”
“Having the ability to share our experiences together is unique,” Oscar also added. “To get out of the car and know that Lasse will have a good understanding of what we need to achieve with the setup or balance of the car helps me to push my own ability mechanically. I always feel that we are constantly learning together as a team and that is all that matters moving forward.”
With their first season in the Danish Endurance championship, Lasse and Oscar got up to speed quickly on track, figuring out the best setups and ensuring that navigating traffic was as efficient as possible to establish themselves as a consistent front runner in their class.
They would secure their maiden victory as a driver pairing in the final round of the 2022 championship at Padborg Park, a momentous occasion as it marked a fantastic achievement in a closely-knit series full of action packed racing.
“To grab that first victory was an incredible feeling for both of us,” said Lasse. “We had all our family there supporting us at the final race and to round out the season with a victory showed how far we had both come in achieving our goals and the motivation was sky high as a result!”
“Yeah that first win was something special!” said Oscar. “It felt like all our hard work together had been rewarded, we had come so far in the championship – from our very first steps on the track in the midst of the quicker cars being a bit scared to now battling it out confidently amongst our fellow class competitors was testament to the effort we put in!”
With 2022 in the books, the pair have made a fantastic start to the 2023 season, already securing a class win at the opening round of the championship in the middle of May!
Lasse and Oscar are the perfect example of dedication and passion in motorsport, two friends that have joined together for the love of the sport they compete in and preserved to achieve their ambitions. We echo this here at Walero and are delighted to have them as part of the growing Walero community.
You can follow both Lasse and Oscar on Instagram as they look to continue their amazing progress in the most prestigious endurance championship in Denmark!