Guillaume de Ridder will join the Nitrocross field from the season finale in Las Vegas in March.
The 2021 RX2e champion will join compatriot Viktor Vranckx at VMV Racing which is expanding to two car team for the first time.
“I’m really excited to be back behind the wheel, and I’m even more excited to be back behind the wheel in Nitro,” de Ridder told RACER. “I’ve been around now for a few races, not driving but working with both OMSE and VMV Racing with Viktor now and it’s been amazing.
“It’s an incredible show and coming from Europe, it’s something really special. Nitro is something like we’ve never seen before so I’m really excited, and on top of that, coming to Vegas will be even better because they will be stepping up the show even more.”
De Ridder was a frontrunner in the World Rallycross-supporting RX2 category, finishing second in 2018 and 2020, before taking the title in 2021, the category’s first season as an all-electric class. Since then, however, he has been focussed on his off-track engineering roles with Nitrocross teams Olsbergs MSE and VMV, as well as Alpine in Formula 1.
“It’s been a long time away from racing for me — two years now. The last time was 2021 when I got the RX2e title so I’m a bit rusty,” he admitted. “I hope it’s not too much, but no, I think the expectation for Vegas is trying to get comfortable in the car.
“It’s quite difficult to know where I stand within the field because all of these drivers have one full season, or even more, in the car and on top of that they’re really good drivers, really top level. I’ve driven against a few of them in Europe and I know that I can compete with them, it’s just my knowledge of the car is quite small.
“I would say our objective is being in the final and trying to see what we can get from there.”
Guillame’s addition to the VMV stable comes as part of a rapid expansion for the VMV team, which only debuted at the last event at Glen Helen Raceway in mid-December. As someone who Vranckx has been working with off-track for some time already, de Ridder’s entry is being seen as a move that will help the team become championship contenders in coming seasons.
“A two car team is always stronger than a one car team, so it’s going to be easier to find the perfect setup and get on the podium together,” Vranckx said. “Having Guillaume by my side since I started my professional career…has helped me to get here and now to give him the chance I had is really awesome and I think he’s the guy that deserves it the most. He’s proven he’s really fast but just didn’t have the luck always, but now he can prove himself again and I’m sure he will be fighting for the championship.
“I think we’re both going to help each other when we find some small tenths. We’re going to [communicate], which is going to be hard because you always want to beat your teammate, but me and Guillaume — our relationship is professional, but we have an amazing friendship as well outside of the racing, so I think that’s just going to grow. I’m going to learn from him and he’s going to learn from me, hopefully.”