On the bike he won four editions of Paris-Roubaix, three editions of the Tour of Flanders, a rainbow jersey, and six stages of the Tour de France, and now Tom Boonen is enjoying success in his new sporting career – motorsports.
After winning the CN prototype class in the Benelux-focused GT & Prototype Challenge race series at the end of October, the Belgian compared his victory favourably to the big wins he took during his pro cycling career.
"It was great! Even better than any victory as a pro rider," Boonen said in an interview with Sport/Voetbalmagazine.
With a victory at the motor racing circuit in Assen, Netherlands on October 30, the 40-year-old secured overall victory in the series, which he also won back in 2019.
Boonen took three victories during the 10-race season, winning at the opening round in Hockenheim, Germany and at Zolder in the Netherlands before confirming overall victory in the final round Assen with 196 points.
The ex-QuickStep rider secured his motor racing license in 2017 and has since raced in VW Beetle-based Fun Cup and NASCAR Europe series before moving to sports car/prototype racing.
"Winning at Paris-Roubaix for the third or fourth time didn't even give me the same 'kick' as my first victories as a rookie racing driver," he told Sport/Voetbalmagazine.
"The pleasure of winning is certainly not proportional to the importance of the race. You get used to it. That's why those first steps are the most fun – also in my second career."
Boonen compared the sensation of racing cars versus bikes, which he did for 16 years between 2002 and 2017. He said that motorsport has been less chaotic than the bunch sprints he used to take part in on the bike.
"A bunch sprint, that's an explosion of hormones," Boonen said.
"After a chaotic final in which you find your way, shoot forward like a bolt, and then put your hands in the air. Bam!
"In my car there is less chaos, I have more control. You stay hyper-focussed and never go over the limit, even in a direct duel with another car. Once you cross the finish line, the joy is immense."
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