Teenage racer Dilano Van ‘T Hoff dies following FREC crash at Spa

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The Formula Regional European Championship organisers have confirmed the death of 18-year-old racer Dilano Van ‘T Hoff following a crash in a race at Spa-Francorchamps today.

The MP Motorsport driver was involved in a multi-car collision at Kemmel following a restart shortly before the end of the race.

The incident occurred in poor visibility due to wet conditions at the track as drivers accelerated out of Raidillon following the restart. While no footage of the crash was broadcast during the coverage of the race, video filmed by a spectator appeared to show Van ‘T Hoff struck the barrier on the left-hand side of the track in the right-hand kink after Raidillon.

Van ‘T Hoff had been running in 19th place in the 34-car field when the restart was given. His car slid into the path of oncoming cars and was struck by that of rival Adam Fitzgerald. Another driver, Tim Tramnitz, crashed separately at the exit of Raidillon.

“Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine sadly announces the death of MP Motorsport driver Dilano Van ‘T Hoff,” said the series in a statement. “The incident happened during Spa-Francorchamps race two.

“We want to express our sincere condolences to the family, team and friends.

“Royal Automobile Club of Belgium, the Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps and SRO Motorsports Group join Alpine and ACI in expressing their sincerest condolences to the driver’s family, team and friends.”

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The series is yet to confirm the condition of other drivers involved in crashes at the restart. Fitzgerald’s RPM team said in a statement he is “currently in a stable condition in hospital” and they “would like to wish Adam all the best over the next few months with his recovery.”

Van ‘T Hoff’s MP Motorsport team said in a statement it is “devastated at the loss of one of our brightest Dutch talents, who brought so much energy to our team during the years he raced with us.”

“Dilano has been a part of our racing family since his motorsport debut with MP back in 2021,” it continued. “We offer our sincere condolences to Dilano’s family and his loved ones, and are in full support of them and our team members who have lost not only a driver but a friend as well.”

Van ‘T Hoff, from Dordrecht in the Netherlands, was in his third year of competing in racing cars after moving up from karts. He won the Spanish Formula 4 series in his first year of full-time racing, taking 10 wins. He also finished runner-up to Enzo Trulli by a single point in the Formula 4 UAE championship that year, before moving up Formula Regional in 2022.

The FREC races were part of the support events for this weekend’s Spa 24 Hours. The promoters have said all pre-race start line entertainment has been cancelled and a minute of silence will be held before the race begins.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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33 comments on “Teenage racer Dilano Van ‘T Hoff dies following FREC crash at Spa”

  1. R.I.P & what a sad coincidence that his fatal accident occurred in the same circuit section as Hubert’s.

    1. @jerejj agree, though I’m not fully certain that the location is a coincidence I hope that’s looked at more closely.

    2. @jerejj I think it occurred a bit further down the road at the kink on the straight rather that at Eau Rouge/Raidillon.

      1. @bosyber – The problem is that changes were already made to runoff area space among others around that portion, so I don’t know what could be done to further minimize or eliminate risks there.
        PeterG – Seemingly, yes, from the one footage I’ve seen, but close enough.

        1. Yes. Sadly, racing involves risk no matter how much runoff, how safe the barriers, etc. Ironically, much, more more risk in both lower formula levels and even amateur racing because they typically don’t have safety cars for gravels or wet weather and they don’t have anything like the protection of F1 survival cells.

          1. Yes, was what I thought too: it can’t be a coincidence that all deaths are in minor formulas.

  2. Race in paradise Dilano
    This could have happened if F1 went racing 2 years ago

    1. Could have happened in spa 1998 too, and there were potentially dangerous accidents, for example fisichella, who ended up almost hitting the thing that separates the pit lane entrance from the track (don’t know how to call it) and he wasn’t able to steer the car to avoid it because he had already lost both front wheels, however full wet races are important for f1 history.

      And also there’s no comparison between the safety in f1 and other series, indycar, etc. you keep hearing of driver’s deaths now and then, in f1 there’s been the bianchi one, which could’ve been avoided by not sending a recovery vehicle inside the barriers and if it weren’t for that you’d have to go back 29 years now to find another.

  3. Damn….. Poor lad. With the amount of spray coming off the cars, I doubt anyone behind him even had a clue he was in the middle of the track until it was way too late.

  4. They wouldn’t have let F1 race in these conditions, can’t believe they let these guys race

    1. Why wouldn’t you race in wet conditions? F1 has become so restricted because it has lost its way and let people who don’t race decide what’s appropriate. We race in full wet conditions in both SCCA and my vintage racing series without Techpro barriers, kevlar survival cells and medical helicopters.

      It’s incredibly sad, but one of the reasons we race is because of the danger. Not for the danger, but knowing that doing it well involves in danger (you can race with no risk if you don’t care about winning).

      1. Mr Raymond Pang
        1st July 2023, 20:36

        There’s an enormous difference between SCCA (closed wheel) and open-wheel racing. Add to that the speed, and the difference in visibility caused by spray is probably an order of magnitude.

        Danger is one thing, but irresponsibility is quite another.

      2. some racing fan
        2nd July 2023, 7:37

        There is an enormous speed difference between SCCA modified production car racing and vintage racing (unless that vintage racing is vintage F1 or IMSA sportscars) and modern junior Formula racing.

  5. Those junior series cars have gotten way too fast. The F3 cars of today are faster than F1 cars of the 1970s, that’s just ridiculous.

    1. Speed isn’t the problem. The cars and circuits are also about a billion times safer than the F1 cars of the 70s. The problem today was the conditions they were racing in.

      1. No, the conditions wouldn’ve have been a problem if the cars ran 50kph slower – the consequence of the crash wouldn’t have been death.

        1. It would’ve been the same result. He was hit side on at full speed because they couldn’t see anything. The drivers are more than capable of those speeds at every other circuit in all other conditions.

          How would drivers ever be able to handle formula one if all the previous series were toned down to eliminate all danger?

          1. @hunkulese
            “He was hit side on at full speed because they couldn’t see anything.”
            Well whoopty doo, captain obvious. If the speed was 50kph less, it would not be as severe!

            “How would drivers ever be able to handle formula one if all the previous series were toned down to eliminate all danger?”
            All danger?! You can’t eliminate all danger. That’s nonsense.
            Formula 1??! LOL, what Formula 1? Firstly, none of them will get to F1 except for a lucky few, like 0.01% of them. Secondly, you learn to handle an F1 car by…. driving an F1 car. Non-talented private amateur drivers get to drive F1 cars in driving schools directly after driving a Formula Ford car for an hour on the same day and they manage. You make up a problem that doesn’t exist.

    2. some racing fan
      2nd July 2023, 7:46

      The F1 cars of the 1970s were way more dangerous, less forgiving and mentally more difficult to drive than these cars are. With respect to this fatal accident F1 cars of the 1970s were largely made of aluminum (carbon didn’t come into use until the early 1980’s), had fully manual gearboxes with no engine limiters, Ferrari still ran with a tubular spaceframe chassis, you could still put the fuel tank bags in between the driver and it wasn’t illegal to put the driver’s feet in front of the front axle- that wasn’t illegal until 1988. Take a look at the 1982 Ferrari and Brabham cars of that period. The driver sits so far forward that his feet are practically jammed up against the front bulkhead. Whereas these F3 cars are made of carbon fiber and are subjexted to crash testing (which clearly needs to be improved) and are built much, much safer than F1 cars of the 1970’s were- and no, 1970’s cars were not required to be crash-tested. But they were required to have deformable structures, like today.

  6. Death number 49 at Spa Francorchamps since 1925.

    He was a great talent.

  7. RIP Dilano.
    What a horrific crash :(

  8. Hard to believe they’d let them race in those conditions. Visibility was atrocious due to the rain. Formula Regional European Championship should be investigated for the outcome. RIP Dilano.

  9. Sad news, RIP.

  10. We shouldn’t be doing wet weather racing at Spa any more, I think that to me is pretty clear. The Kemmel works as a ‘tunnel’ (minus the roof) – the forest/hills seem to ‘hold’ the rain and spray, twinned with the fact the track isn’t particularly wide, and on top of that, they’re being catapulted blindly up a massive hill and crest.

    FYI – I just took a measurement – Spa is only 10m wide (FIA minimum requirement is 12m)

    1. @ecwdanselby Sadly you’re probably right.

    2. It was the same with the old Hockenheim layout, and they continued racing that for over 30 years after Jim Clark’s fatal accident in similar conditions in ‘68.

    3. I’d say that’s up to the drivers to decide. Should we arrest people for free climbing or ban the Isle of Man TT?

      1. some racing fan
        2nd July 2023, 7:35

        First off, the riders of the IOM TT don’t do those races in any kind of adverse conditions or other conditions out of their control. It’s unfair for them to do the world’s most dangerous closed-circuit race in conditions outside their control.

        Secondly, the IOM TT is not part of any championship round (and hasn’t been since 1976, the last year it was part of what is now called MotoGP), so the riders have the option of not doing it, even with all the sponsorship they have. That’s the risk these sponsors take- they don’t pay them much, so they can afford it.

        Thirdly, the junior Formula guys had to do this race because they all signed contracts where they agreed to do every round that is part of said championship the team they drive for is competing in. That’s why genuine street/public road races like the Isle Of Man TT and also the Targa Florio for sportscars (even though the Targa was way less dangerous for competitors than the IOM TT) went by the wayside, because it was outrageously unfair to riders (and drivers in the Targa’s case) for such a dangerous race to be part of a scenario where riders were contractually forced to compete in it- the likelihood of being killed in the IOM TT was way higher than any other race in those days. That’s why the IOM TT had no place on the calendar then and now. And this was when safety at MotoGP races was effectively non-existent and in addition to the TT they used to race at tracks like the old Nordschleife, the old Spa, the old Brno street circuit, Montjuic Park, Imatra in Finland and Opatija in Yugoslavia- and the TT track was still way more dangerous than any of those tracks.

  11. Rest in peace T

  12. some racing fan
    2nd July 2023, 7:15

    There is an enormous speed difference between SCCA modified production car racing and vintage racing (unless that vintage racing is vintage F1 or IMSA sportscars) and modern junior Formula racing.

  13. some racing fan
    2nd July 2023, 7:48

    RIP Dilano. Such a young kid, only 18 years old and his while life ahead of him.

  14. There’s no immediate Red Flag alert automatically transmitted to all the cars as soon as one of the cars has a high G impact. This isn’t difficult to do. I don’t know how expensive it would be to implement, but I don’t think it would be a substantial cost. It could be such an alert system wouldn’t have made any difference in this instance, but after looking at what appears to be video related to this crash on Youtube, an immediate alert sent to all the cars behind Dilano’s car might have made a difference.

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