Dirk Vermeersch

founder, winemaker & rally car driver

The Story

Dirk GT Vermeersch, from "Gran Turismo" to... "Grand Terroir".

Incredibly enthusiast as ever, but without any diploma, without any prospect of a decent job, Dirk Vermeersch dreams, as a young taxi driver, chiefly about making a career in car sport racing. Barely two years after starting in local races with a street legal car, he wins the 24 Hours of Zolder and, that same year 1977, he is the reserve driver of the victorious car in the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. As of that moment, he becomes a professional racing car driver. After a long and successful career in car sport a serious rally accident in 1986 put an end on his racing activities. Dirk is down and out. He takes a step back and embarks on the operation of a petrol station, where he deals simultaneously in used cars. Three years later, his secret wishes to become the dealer of a top-ranking make of cars comes true. Dirk (DVA) becomes a official Lancia and Maserati dealer in Schilde, near Antwerp. In 1999, he manages to sell the dealership at a handsome price. Retirement is beckoning, but Dirk is unable to sit idle. Firstly, he gets hold of a ruin in the South of France, and then he starts a construction firm to renovate the wreck, turning it into one of the most beautiful and largest buildings in the region. A third dream comes true: Dirk, his charming wife Hélène and daughter Ann are running together a B&B in Provence. Next to the ruin, a small plot of old Carignan vines in winking. Dirk begins enthusiastically to prune and plough like an accomplished autodidact, before his family knows, he has become a full-time winemaker. Another dream comes true. His first LePlan-Vermeersch GT-S 2003 is awarded 2 stars in the Hachette Guide des Vins and Robert Parker, the famous American Wine Advocate, give his LePlan-Vermeersch GT-1 Chateauneuf-du-Pape 94/100 points.The rest is history…

Rally & Racing headlines:

Racing:1977 Winner of 24 Hours Zolder (A112 Abarth Corzy)1981 Winner of 24 Hours Zolder (BMW 323 Juma)1977 Winner of 24 Hours Spa-Francorchamps (BMW 530 Juma, Kinley) *1978 Second of 24 Hours Spa-Francorchamps (BMW 530 Juma, Carling)1980 Second of 24 Hours Spa-Francorchamps (BMW 530 Juma, Carling) **1981 Second of 24 Hours Spa-Francorchamps (BMW 530 Juma, Bastos) ***1978 Pole Position in 24 Hours Zolder (A112 Abarth Corzy)1980 Pole Position in 500 Km Spa-Francorchamps (BMW 530 Juma)

Rally:1982 Paris-Dakar, 3rd Diesel Group N (Mercedes 300 GD, EU University & Isocap)1984 1000 Lakes Rally Finland, 1st in Classe 1300 cc (Talbot Samba Rally, Mini-flat)1983 Belgian Rally Champion Group A (Opel Ascona/Manta 2.0, Zenex) 2 Victories1984 Belgian Rally Vice-Champion Group N (Toyota Corolla 1.6 GT, Avia) 9 Victories1986 Belgian Rally Vice-Champion Group N (Toyota Corolla 1.6 GT, Nieuwsblad) 5 Victories2018 Flemish Rally Vice-Champion VAS Historic Overall (Fiat Spider 1.6 GT, LePlan) 4 Victories

Winner of “Superstar on Wheels” 1989 Multidiscipline (Zolder circuit, 4x4, karting) inZolder beating: Eric Van de Poele (F1) Eric Bachelart (F3000/Indy) Philip Verellen (GT) and Patrick Snijers (Rally) First ever Flemish racing car driver in Paris-Dakar, 24 H Daytona (USA), 12 H Sebring (USA) …

Racing co-drivers:

Eddy Joosen, Jean-Claude Andruet, Bruno Giacomelli, Pierre Dieudonné, Marc Duez, Luc De Cock, Umberto Grano, Alain Cudini, Teddy Pilette, Jean-Pierre Van de Wauwer, Hughes de Fierlandt, Cor Euser, Jeroen Hin, Jacques Cleutjens, Frans Lubin, Daniel Herregods, Bernard de Drijver, Alain Semoulin, Bratislaf Enge, Zdenek Vojtech, Giovanni Fontanesi, Massimo Micangeli, Piere Honneger, Stiff, Danny Swyssen, Marc Mathay, Vincent Dupont, Danny Van Mieghem, Daniel De Canck, Hugo Minnebo, Rudi Frahm, Body Corbiau, Hugo Minebo, Ronny Descamps, Raymond Van Hove, Daniel Rombout, Jamie Vandenbalck, Jurgen Gulicher, Eric Weckx, Sam Dejonghe & Naomi Schiff...

Automotive:

  • Vice-President VAS (Vlaamse Auto Sportfederatie) in the eighties
  • Secretary General Nationale Autoclub Excelsior in the nineties
  • 1984 – 1991 Owner/Team Manager DVA Autosport, Tuning and rally/racing team
  • 1988 – 1994 Lancia Car Dealer DVA Schilde (Delta Integrale Specialist)
  • 1992 – 1999 Maserati Car Dealer Antwerp DVA Sport

Rally & Racing Cars:

Abarth A112, Audi 50, Audi 80 Quattro, BMW 316, BMW 323, BMW 325iX, BMW 528, BMW 530 US, BMW 635, BMW M3, BMW M235i, Citroen 2CV, Opel Ascona, Opel Manta, Opel Commodore, Toyota Corolla 16 GT, Toyota Celica 20 GT, Lancia Integrale, Lancia Integrale EVO, Mazda RX2, Mazda RX7 Imsa, Fiat 500, Fiat 125 Coupé, Fiat Punto, Fiat 124 Spider GT, Peugeot Talbot Samba Rallye, Porsche 944, Ford Sierra Cosworth, Mini Coper, Opel Kadet, Suzuki Swift, Daihatsu Rocky 4WD, Range Rover, Mercedes 300 GD, VW Polo, VW Sirocco, VW Fun Cup, Lola T29 prototype and Radical SR3 prototype ...

Rally co-drivers:

Christian Delferrier, Jacques Castelein, Daniel De Canck, Georges Van Oosten, Patrick Verheyden, Rik Darimont, Esther De Bièvre, Christel Bauwens, Naomi Schiff, Kim VanderVeken & Nina Samyn…

(*) The BMW won the 24 Hours, but Dirk was reserve driver and only driving in qualifying. For his first experience with the BMW 530 IUS on the very fast (old) track of Spa-Francorchamps, he qualified 4th without any pre-test sessions.(**) Dirk finished on both cars of the team (one driver sick) at 2nd and 8th place overall...and drove 14 hours in total.(***) Dirk was leading the 24 Hours in the morning, but because of an incident at the “bus stop-chicane” Dirk was disqualified illegitimate by the Stewards of the meeting. The pair Joosen-Andruet (without Dirk) finished finally at the 2nd place!