Wateringen The Netherlands, 23rd July 2021; The European FIA drag racing championship this year has been cancel due to obvious pandemic reasons. Since most of the teams are missing the championship actions, we decided to commemorate some of the actions by taking them through memory lane. We went looking for the story behind one of the three Dutch Pro Modified drivers. This is the story behind Marck Harteveld.
Text: By Marck Harteveld, edited by Benjamin Wefer
Picture: Pictures provided by Voodoo Hemi Racing Team/Arjan Plooi/Remco Scheeling/ Benjamin Wefer
It is 2002, Marck just bought a 1969 Dodge 440 six-pack Super Bee and took it for the first time to the airfield of Drachten in the North East of The Netherlands. He, and what later became the Voodoo Hemi Racing Team, went there with a friend to experience some races. After spending a whole weekend alongside the track, they loved it so much that they went home with the idea to start racing with the Super Bee that Marck just bought! Over the winter of 2002, they prepared the car and began competing in 2003 in the street machine class (12.1 sec at 112 miles per hour).
In the following years, Marck and the team continued to race several sportsmen classes at the airfield in Drachten. One day, they decided that it is time for more speed and more adrenaline! He was doing a complete restoration on a 1970 Plymouth Road Runner (body off) at that time but changed the plans to a drag car. He lowered a 1200 horsepower 636 Hemi engine in the Plymouth and ran 10.90 seconds in Super street. And before they even knew it, they were running 8.90 seconds (at 156 miles per hour) in Super comp. It was a stunning performance for such a heavy car. The team went in 2006 for the first time abroad to compete within Super Comp at Santa Pod Raceway (UK). It was a whole new adventure. One particular category caught their attention at Santa Pod; Pro Modified! They enjoyed watching pro mod door slammers going down the track, and from that moment, they knew that one day it would be them competing in Pro Modified. But they quickly realized that this class is at this stage too high on the ladder and it comes with serious cash flows and time.
Marck and the Voodoo Hemi Racing team continued their adventure with the Roadrunner until 2008/2009, where they decided that it is time to step up their game. Marck had an original Super bird and decided to use this model as their race car body. Marck ordered a 1969 Roadrunner fiberglass body and brought it to Chassis Engineering to put the chassis under the body. The original roof height was lowered by 2 inches, and they made the molds for the doors and front-nose to transform it into a 1970 Super bird. One-piece at the time, they assembled the car and put the 1200 HP 636 Hemi in it to race Super Pro ET for a few years with low 8 seconds.
At the same time, he builds the Little Green Wagon. An exact copy of the Little Red Wagon that Marck saw in the Don Garlits Museum in Florida (Bill Maverick’s wheel stander). Marck raced his Little Green Wheelstander for 2 years in Drachten, step by step a little higher, but unfortunately, he crashed in 2009. Marck just walked away with minor injuries, but the Little Green Wagon suffered severe damage. The wagon is nowadays standing in Marck’s backyard.
In 2014 he sold the 636 Hemi and trans, and bought a Keith Black Blown Hemi and a Lenco Transmission to race Super Pro ET in 2015 and went directly in the high 6 seconds.
In 2016 Marck and the team were finally ready for their ultimate goal of racing Pro Modified. Marck sold the KB and bought a BAE with a lot of know how from Pro-Dutch Racing, it came with a steep learning curve and a lot of headaches.
They had a good start in 2016 but the car was still 300 Kg too heavy! After putting the car on a diet and removing 225 kilos, the car’s performance improved significantly and went faster and faster and finally he went into the low 6 seconds zone. To finish as Runner up in the FIA final in Hockenheim with a 6.12 seconds.
Halfway through the 2016 season, Marck managed to buy a rolling chassis, the Dodge Daytona (ex Pete Farber car) out of Denmark. The previous owner had it sitting in the garage for two years. Marck and the team transformed it into a Superbird. After making some improvements to the engine and transmission, they debuted the current Superbird in 2017.
Marck and the team continued to improve themselves over the years to go into the 5 seconds and won the English Pro Mod championship in 2019.
Of course, I couldn’t resist asking him a series of detailed question;
Why did you want to race Pro Modified? In which he replies;
I started at the bottom and climbed the ladder to Pro Modified. We always enjoyed Pro Modified races. We always dreamed about it. So you understand that it was always in the planning, but it just costs time and a lot of cash!
Who usually builds your engine?
Well, team member, John van der Lans has always build our engines. He gained a lot of experience over the years. Ruud Schonhage is our clutch guy. He does all the clutch maintenance and sets up and maintains the Lenco transmission. Ferry Meijer does the electronics. Edwin de Vette and Ronald Berkhout do all the work on the rear end, rims, and tires. I am the all-around guy as soon as the helmet goes off!
Would you be interested in racing any other class?
No, I do not have the ambition to drive any other type of car or compete in any other category. To me, Doorslammer (Pro Modified) is the coolest. We have so much to learn so we can go faster.
What would be the best/ worst moment you ever experience within your racing career?
The most remarkable moment I would say is; our second place at Hockenheim in 2016. We sent Mats Erikson and multiple champion Mick Gullqvist home during elimination runs with the old heavy roadrunner. We raced the final against Johan Lindberg and ended up in second place. Of course, our first 5.9 seconds pass was another remarkable moment in our racing career. The worst moment would be the crash in 2018 during the Doorslammer event. It was horrifying. Marck lost grip due to tire shaking, shifting from first to second gear, but lost control and hit the wall above 150 km/hrs and caught fire. Marck walked away with just minor injuries.
What would be the biggest goal in your racing career?
My dream is to win the European championship and become the Pro Modified champion. That would be the ultimate achievement!
Marck and the Voodoo Hemi team did not stand still during the last two years. Tuner Joeri Woudenberg from Technomotion gave the engine an update. As the team didn’t race the last two years, they manage to save up some cash for a spare engine. Now, they are ready to show up at the staging lane in 2022!
So what does Drag Race means to Marck Harteveld?
To me, drag racing means a weekend full of adrenaline, passion, and speed! As soon as you arrive at the track, the party can start! Spotting the trailer Setting up the tent, ensure everything is at the right place, prepare the car for the technical inspection, and of course, do a warm-up and set up the car for the first qualifying race. And if everything goes well, you set an elapsed time of 5.9 seconds at nearly 400 km/hr. It is impossible to explain in words!
# PM222 car info:
Build-in: 2009 Pro Mod chassis build by Salemi with a full carbon body
Make: Plymouth Roadrunner Superbird
Year: 1970 model
Wheelbase: 116 inch
Engine: BEA 521 CI Hemi
Transmission: 3 Speed Lenco
Fuel Type: Methanol
Best E.T: 5.95 seconds at 243 mph/391 km/hr.
Marck and the Voodoo Hemi Racing team did climb the ladder over the years. They started racing in the street class and climbed their way up to Pro Modified. They won the 2019 UK Pro Modified championship after suffering a crash in 2017 and a ready for a challenge in 2022! Now you know the story behind; Marck Harteveld!