As you watch the group walking through the paddocks towards the garage building, it’s clear that they all know the drill, they’ve done this before… a lot. The whole family walks together to the lineup of trailers, and then the group stops; it’s time for one big group hug before the family takes on their assigned roles. The kids will walk back to the team trailer to pick up the grandparents, and from there, they will hop in a golf cart that will carry them off to one of the racetrack turns where they can watch Dad race, sharing their seating area with the other team guests and sponsors. Mom and Dad will walk to pit lane as Dad (Derek) gets ready for the race and Mom (Brooke) prepares to follow the race from the pit tent with the team.
It’s a ritual this family has done many times, everyone has a job to do, being right where they need to be and making sure that Derek has everything he needs to win. Welcome to Race Day routine for the De Boer family.
Derek De Boer is a racecar driver for The Racers Group, TRG, a team out of Petaluma, Calilfornia, owned by Kevin Buckler. The team competes in the IMSA and PWC circuits with Aston Martin, Lamborghini, and Porsche. Derek’s wife Brooke is a filmmaker, writer, and producer of the show FastlifeTV, now in season 2 on Amazon Prime Video. The show is really a video diary of everything that goes on in the life of a racecar driver, on and off the racetrack.
The De Boer’s have made an important lifestyle (and educational) decision, which was to include the whole family in their professional activities, and document their life in racing through victories and struggles, whatever else happens. They take teaching moments from anything that comes along, good or bad, to help their children learn about racing, sports, and life in general.
In addition to racing (which you’d think would be already a full-time job), Derek has a ‘day job’ in the automotive industry with his Chevrolet dealership, and also spends a considerable amount of time participating in many community initiatives. If you looked closely at the livery of Derek’s cars over the years, you’d find logos from “Racing For Cancer”, “Pictures of Hope”, and many other causes he supports through racing. Despite the hectic schedule of a race weekend, you will often find Derek speaking in schools, at children’s athletic camps, and anywhere else he can inspire the new generation with his story.
Team TRG was in the IMSA spotlight in 2014 with James Davison, and then in 2015 when Christina Nielsen and Kuno Wittmer were in contention for the GTD Championship for several weeks but they came up a few points short at the end of the season. With the new season, Nielsen moved on to Scuderia Corsa Ferrari and went on to win the IMSA GTD championship back-to-back with Alessandro Balzan, before moving on to Porsche.
When you visit the team tent in the paddocks, Team TRG gives you the feeling of an atmosphere of tightness, loyalty, and family, that doesn’t go unnoticed. With our company hashtag line at Earchphoto being #becauseitsallaboutloyalty – it was just a matter of time before we’d cross paths with Team TRG and the De Boer family. I was able to catch up with Derek and Brooke at two of this year’s races, Circuit of the Americas and Portland International Raceway, and absolutely enjoyed working with them and Team TRG on this feature story.
In past seasons, TRG was mostly racing Aston Martin Vantage cars, and occasionally a Lamborghini or a Porsche. After several successful races with the Aston, including a few double podiums last season, the new PWC Racing season brought considerable change as Derek is now racing a Porsche Cayman GT4 for the 2018 season.
With a new car come a number of variables and unknowns – which means spending some of the races trying to dial in the car setup and adapting to the new conditions. For as much as change is a constant in life, those big changes in racing can be frustrating, after you and the team have put in so much work with one car and finally got it where you want it, changing setup completely makes you feel like you are pretty much starting over from scratch.
These difficult moments are one reason that the FastlifeTV show exists: to remind you to keep going. The show is an honest and open representation of what the life of a racecar driver is – from the glory of the win and it’s corresponding podium celebration, to the frustration of something not working and even the occasional aggravating DNF (Did Not Finish).
In Season 1/Episode 9 of FastlifeTV, Brooke says something that many of us should try to remember if we aim to live a lifestyle of freedom, “Everybody wants to do what makes their heart sing.” which is another reminder that all of us that we are put on this earth for a purpose-driven life, which includes spending our days doing something we love.