Dutch teen Rinus VK joins Carlin for ’17

Dutch teenage karting driver Rinus van Kalmthout (who goes by Rinus VK) will make his debut in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda in 2017 with Carlin Racing as the powerhouse team makes its series debut.

"We have spoken with several teams in the last few months, but when the opportunity to join Carlin Benik came along I didn't have to think long," said Rinus, who is just 15 years old. "Making the deal with Carlin Benik is an important step for us. Having secured the seat I now feel I truly am an USF2000 driver."

Carlin is one of the winningest teams in the history of junior open-wheel racing, having won 15 championships, scored over 300 race wins and 800 podiums. The team has worked with several drivers across the motorsports universe, including Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power as well as race winners Josef Newgarden, Charlie Kimball and Takuma Sato. They've also had a crucial role in the development of F1 drivers such as Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Rosberg.

"I started to follow Rinus and soon knew he would be the perfect young talent for our new USF2000 team at Carlin Benik," Trevor Carlin said.

Carlin has joined forces with U.S. karting team Benik to create a strong package for the team's debut in USF2000 in 2017. Owned and operated by long-time karting industry members Ben Cruttenden and Nick Mitchell, Benik Kart operates out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, close to Carlin's US base in Delray Beach, where the team's USF2000 cars will be prepared. Carlin will provide all personnel and technical expertise.

Rinus is one of three Dutch drivers on the renowned KNAF Talent First development program. The program has seen drivers such as Max Verstappen rise through the ranks en route to the top levels of the sport. He is also supported by Holland's largest supermarket chain, Jumbo.

Rinus and Carlin Benik will begin their off-season preparations at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course at the Chris Griffis Memorial test on October 8-9. The date will mark the first opportunity for teams and drivers to sample the all new Tatuus USF-17 racecar that will be utilized for the 2017 USF2000 season.

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