Duplo's first racing win! "Realising a boyhood dream of winning a car race. Dreams do come true"


After just two months on the track Duplo have had their first win!

On the 19th of June the Duplo race car took on the Spa Circuit, in Stavelot Belgium, and finished first place. We have got you all the details from the driver himself, our CEO and Chairman Robin Greenhalgh.

Robin caught us up with the race series so far:
The Supercar challenge is a racing series that takes place over 7 w-e’s. The tracks include Magny Cours, Zolder, Spa-Francorchamps, Zandvoort and Assen. After a fire at Magny Cours that destroyed all the wiring, electronics and electrical parts the car was re-built in time for testing for Zolder. During testing there, we discovered a crack in the cylinder which meant an engine rebuild, and worst of all, no racing at Zolder. Despair was beginning to set in! However, Johan Kraan, our fabulous team manager, reassured us all would be perfect for Spa. And indeed it was, but we weren’t to know at the time!

So, we arrived at Spa on Thursday in preparation for sign on and driver briefing at the crack of dawn Friday morning. Spa holds a a special place in my heart as my grandfather on my mother’s side was the Mayor of the town (I’m half Belgian) and we spent Christmas, Easter and part of the summer holidays there every year since I was a baby. Going to see the races at Spa was one of the activities that was always on the calendar. In fact my grandfather presented Jim Clark with the winners trophy for the 1963 F1 grand prix. As a kid growing up around racing cars, my father was an amateur saloon car racer, driving at the mythical Spa track became a childhood dream, winning there was a wild fantasy! So onto free practice on Friday, the car indeed was perfect, Johan and his fabulous team of mechanics had done a fine job. The car was working perfectly, in fact, we set the 2nd fastest time in our category, happy days. After a few minor tweaks 2nd practice went well too. We were ready for qualifying Saturday morning and proceeded to get the fastest lap time 2 minutes before the session ended but we developed a gear selection problem, so had to abort the final quick lap to come into the pits. The issue was quickly identified but couldn’t be fixed in time to go out again, so our rival's car no.303 pipped us to pole but we would be alongside them for a rolling start. Very happy with that! As a team we decided I would start the 1st race on Saturday and Jerome, my eldest son, would start the 2nd race on the Sunday.

As you can see from the in car footage, I was a bit slow and was sneakily overtaken before the green lights by another competitor. Happily, I was able to overtake him and set off after our pole sitter. Things were going well as we were trading similar lap times until we had a slight brake problem. Late into the race the left front locked up and put me into a spin that pushed me down into 3rd place. The 2nd placed car then crashed, so we were back into 2nd at the time of the pit-stop and driver change. Jerome went out and was doing a fine job until the gearbox got stuck in 3rd gear, we were lapping but at 20 seconds a lap slower than the leading car, until the final minutes when they ran out of fuel, we overtook them one lap before the chequered flag and were extremely lucky to have won that race. The mechanics spent the rest of the day fixing the brakes and the gearbox sensor in readiness for the 2nd race!

Onto Sunday...

As we were winners on Saturday, 30 seconds was added to our pit stop time as a handicap (2nd place gets 25 seconds and 3rd place gets 20 seconds). This is quite a lot of time to make up and makes sitting in the car waiting to go seem interminable, especially in the heat. The temperature inside the car reaches a warm 46 Celsius, with the fireproofs, crash helmet and adrenaline coursing through the veins it makes it nice and toasty! Add to that a heart rate at 140 and it makes concentrating challenging!

Anyway, Jerome was set to start on Sunday, and having learnt from my slow start that he needed to be stuck to the back of the car in front, he made a great start and led our class from the off building a nice 8 second cushion by the time he came in to hand to me after 30 minutes of our 60 minute + 1 lap race(this sentence is weird to me- maybe I'm not understanding the jargon?). As you might see from the film of our pit stop it isn’t an elegant affair. In order to help the outgoing driver I grab him by the shoulder straps and pull him out and drop him on the ground so I can jthen ump in and prepare to drive. Only when I’m in the car and the door closed can they fill the tank with fuel. While they are doing that I’ve got to strap myself up with the 6 point harness, make sure the shoulder straps go over the hans device (this stops your head going too far forward in case of a frontal crash), hard enough without a crash helmet and gloves on with them and knowing that you have to be expeditious, makes it a challenge. They’ve finished the fuel, I’ve finished the seat belts, Jerome then opens the door to say the tyres are causing oversteer under heavy braking, something Johan told me before the race : Robin, beware with this heat, the tyres are going to be very slippery when it is your turn! And with our 8 second lead whittled down to nothing I rejoin the track with one thought, bring her home! I was very cautious for the first few laps and promptly got the hurry up from the pit wall waving me on eagerly each time I went by!

With some racing cars, after you go over a kerb or a rumble strip you have to pump the brakes in order to prepare them for the next braking session and to go fast you have to take kerb and rumble strip, so each time you have to tap the brake pedal to prime them. If you don’t disaster can strike, as it did in the first event; when my left brake locked on and threw the car sideways.

Coming into the chicane 3 laps from the end of the race I didn’t prime the brakes properly and so the car lurched left and put me into a spin. As I recovered I could see my 2 competitors drive past serenely. I knew I didn’t have much time to get ahead and build a lead, but putting in some 2’42’s I managed to catch and overtake them and build up a lead - enough to take the chequered flag and the limousine bus from parc ferme (place the cars go after the race) to the podium to celebrate our 2nd victory of the w-e! Realising a boyhood dream of winning a car race at Spa for the 2nd time. Dreams do come true!!!

Race awards

Photo: Roel Louwers

Robin and Jerome's next race is at the Zandvoort curcit on the 12th-14th July, so stay tuned on our social media channels for race and training updates. We look forward to sharing with you some more sucess from the Duplo race team!

Twitter Linkedin Facebook Instgram

stay connected with Duplo
Duplo Sites:
Copyright © Duplo International All Rights Reserved 2019

This site uses cookies. By continuing to access this site you are accepting the use of cookies by this site. 

Read more about cookies...

Our cookie policy -  a quick guide


Duplo International Limited is a company incorporated in England and Wales, registered company number [05692860], having a registered address at Automated Precision House, Hamm Moor Lane, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 2SD United Kingdom.

This is an easy-to-read guide describing how Duplo International Limited uses cookies to collect and store information:

  1. We use cookies to make our website easier for you to use;
  2. We use cookies to help stop our online-forms from being used to send spam-email;
  3. We use cookies to monitor usage so we can spot trends and make improvements;
  4. We use cookies to identify individuals in certain circumstances; and
  5. We do store some personal information in cookies such as name and email address.

For additional information about our privacy practices, please see our Privacy Policy.

We believe that our use of cookies is essential for the smooth functioning of our website (www.duplointernational.com). If you "disable" cookies, then the interactive functions of the website will not operate. For example, data-submission via forms, as well as user-login, and many other features of the website cannot work fully without using cookies.

By using our website without opting-out (disabling cookies), you consent to our use of cookies as described in this policy.


What are cookies?

A cookie is a small file, typically of letters and numbers, downloaded on to your device when you access certain websites. Cookies are then sent back to the originating website each time to re-visit the site. Cookies are also useful because they allow a website to recognise what devises visitors are viewing the site with.

Cookies cannot be programmed, cannot carry viruses, and cannot install malware on the host computer. However, they can be used to track users' browsing activities.

Cookies are used by most websites for a variety of reasons - often very practical reasons to do with the operation of the website. However, they are also used to monitor how people are using the website (e.g. which pages are visited and how long is spent on each page).

If you want to learn more about cookies, including how to control and disable them, please visit http://www.allaboutcookies.org.


How we use cookies

We may collect information about your computer, including your IP address, operating system and browser type. This is enables us to analyse statistical data about your browsing actions and patterns. This information will be deleted after 3 months.

We may obtain information about your general internet usage by using technology such as "cookies", which store information on the hard drive of your computer. This type of technology helps us to improve our site and to deliver a better and more personalised service for you. They enable us:

  1. understand visitor numbers;
  2. to store information about a user's preferences, and so allow us to customise our site according to your interests and offer you goods or services in which we believe you will be interested;
  3. to speed up your searches; and
  4. to recognise you when you return to our site.


What happens if you disable cookies (i.e. opt-out)?

When you visit our website, you will be asked if you agree to allow the use of cookies. If you decide to accept cookies, we record this so you are not asked the question again. If you do not accept our cookies, you may find that some of the website is not working as expected, this is because some of the website function rely on cookies are obviously disabled. These functions include using online forms (e.g. our brochure download form) or any feature that requires login. We use a cookie to remember your cookie preferences, so this has a couple of consequences:

  1. If you delete all your cookies you will have to tell us your preference again; and
  2. If you use a different device, computer profile or browser you will have to tell us your preference again.

You may refuse to accept some technologies such as cookies by activating settings on your browser which allows you to refuse the setting of technologies such as cookies. If you refuse all cookies, you may be unable to access certain parts of our site and some interactive functions on our site, such as forms, may not work properly.


What happens if you ignore the question about opting out, but continue to use our website?

If you ignore the above question regarding use of cookies but continue to use our website, then we will assume you accept our use of cookies and the website will continue to set cookies as necessary unless you otherwise block them.


That concludes the quick guide.

Want to know more? Here is the techy bit…

Strictly Necessary

"Strictly Necessary" cookies let you move around the website and use essential features like secure areas and online billing. These cookies don't gather any information about you that could be used for marketing or remembering where you've been on the internet.





The presence of this cookie is used to remember the fact that you have confirmed that you are happy to accept cookies

one "session" (i.e. until the browser is closed)


This is a Session Cookie (session cookies are temporary and are erased when you close your browser). It identifies you from one page to the next and is used, for example, to keep track of your logged-in status.

1 year from set/update.

UserID, account, password

These cookies are used to remember your login credentials for when you next visit our website. They are only created if you choose the “Remember Me” option on the login page.

1 year from set/update.


Used to store what locale is used (UK, French or International)

1 year from set/update.



"Performance" cookies collect information about how you use our website e.g. which pages you visit, and if you experience any errors. These cookies don't collect any information that could identify you – all the information collected is anonymous and is only used to help us improve how our website works.


Google Analytics

We use Google Analytics to monitor usage of the website. Google Analytics collects information anonymously. It reports website trends without identifying individual visitors (not by name or IP address). You can read Google's privacy policy here for further information [ http://www.google.com/privacy.html ].






This cookie is typically written to the browser upon the first visit to your site from that web browser. If the cookie has been deleted by the browser operator, and the browser subsequently visits your site, a new __utma cookie is written with a different unique ID. This cookie is used to determine unique visitors to your site and it is updated with each page view. Additionally, this cookie is provided with a unique ID that Google Analytics uses to ensure both the validity and accessibility of the cookie as an extra security measure.

2 years from set/update.


This cookie is used to establish and continue a user session with your site. When a user views a page on your site, the Google Analytics code attempts to update this cookie. If it does not find the cookie, a new one is written and a new session is established. Each time a user visits a different page on your site, this cookie is updated to expire in 30 minutes, thus continuing a single session for as long as user activity continues within 30-minute intervals. This cookie expires when a user pauses on a page on your site for longer than 30 minutes. You can modify the default length of a user session with the _setSessionCookieTimeout() method.

30 minutes from set/update.


This cookie is no longer used by the ga.js tracking code to determine session status.

Historically, this cookie operated in conjunction with the __utmb cookie to determine whether or not to establish a new session for the user. For backwards compatibility purposes with sites still using the urchin.js tracking code, this cookie will continue to be written and will expire when the user exits the browser. However, if you are debugging your site tracking and you use the ga.js tracking code, you should not interpret the existence of this cookie in relation to a new or expired session.

Not set.


This cookie stores the type of referral used by the visitor to reach your site, whether via a direct method, a referring link, a website search, or a campaign such as an ad or an email link. It is used to calculate search engine traffic, ad campaigns and page navigation within your own site. The cookie is updated with each page view to your site.

6 months from set/update.


This cookie is used with Google Universal Analytics. This cookie allows Google to track unique users via a client identifier that is randomly generated.

2 years from set/update.



"Functionality" cookies are used to provide services or to remember settings to improve your visit.


Third Party Cookies

Please note that third parties (including, for example, advertising networks and providers of external services like web traffic analysis services) may also use cookies, over which we have no control. These cookies are likely to be analytical/performance cookies or targeting cookies. "Targeting" cookies are linked to services provided by third parties, such as 'Like' buttons and 'Share' buttons. The third party often provides these services in return for recognising that you have visited our website.


Other cookies may be stored to your computer’s hard drive by external vendors when this website uses referral programs, sponsored links or adverts. Such cookies are used for conversion and referral tracking and typically expire after 30 days, though some may take longer. No personal information is stored, saved or collected.


CANDDi Tracking Cookies

We utilise a software platform called http://www.canddi.com/ to track individual users to our website. If you click on a link to the Duplo International site from an email we send you it is likely that that activity will be tracked by CANDDi and we may follow up with you.  Filling in an enquiry form on the Duplo International site will cause the tracking code to be activated as well.  Refusing cookies on our website will not stop these cookies from tracking your computer.