Toine Hezemans is a famous Dutch touringcar and prototype racing driver of the late sixties and early seventies.
He was the European Touring Car champion of 1970 and 1973.
He won the 1971 Targa Florio with Nino Vaccarella in an Alfa Romeo 33/3. It was Vaccarella's second Targa victory. A legendary battle unfolded between the nimble 908s (550 Kg, 360 HP) and the more powerful but heavier Alfa 33s watched by about half a million people. Redman and Rodriguez started well with their Porsches and both crashed out. Ironically, Rodriguez lost control in the town of Collesano, driving over the sign "Viva Porsche" painted on the asphalt. Meanwhile Vaccarella passed the leading Porsche of Larrousse and handed over to Hezemans. Meanwhile Vic Elford was flying through the Madonie Mountains when a flat tire forced his Porsche to retire. So Alfa Romeo took the Targa Florio again, finishing first with Vaccarella-Hezemans and second with De Adamich-Van Lennep.
Late in 1973, the Cologne works Ford team sent a two-car RS2600 Capri team to the Fuji Tourist Trophy race in Japan. The drivers were to be Jochen Mass, Dieter Glemser, Toine Hezemans and Allan Moffat.
The race was started in a modified Le Mans style. The co-drivers had to run across the track and touch the car, before the car could start the race.
Hezemans did not wait for Allan to touch their car before taking off and was black-flagged. The stop/go penalty cost him dearly and he fell well back from the leaders.
By pushing hard in the early stages Hezemans/Moffat were in third place by lap 34. The Mass/Glemser car had a lead of two minutes over the rest of the field. At half distance the Capris pitted and temporarily surrendered their lead to the Japanese. Unfortunately for Toine and Allan a wheel bearing failure put their car out of the race on lap 71 but Mass/Glemser went on to win.
At the ETTC round at Jarama in 1974, ETTC, he was first in a Capri and second overall in an Escort overall winning both classes!
George Loos Gelo Racing Team hired Hezemans in 1975, to race in the European GT championship in Porsche Carrera RSR. The Dutchman finished on the podium 4 times and finishing third in the championship.
In 1975 Boy Hayje joined forces with Toine Hezemans when he wanted to contest the European Formula 3 championship. Hezemans wanted to start his own Formula 1 team and decided that F5000 was the way to go instead. They chose to enter an ex James hunt March 731. Hayje finished second at Zandvoort but crashed heavily at Thruxton at round three of the championship, when he spun of and hit a marshalls post, which was effectively the end of the car.
Gelo Racing aquired a new porsche 934 RSR turbo for Toine for a full season in 1976 taking in all seven rounds.
In 1976 Hezemans tried to hire the Penske PC3 in that year for Hayje's to race in the Dutch Grand Prix. Unfortunately for them Penske won the race before in Austria, so the cost went skyhigh. They decided to buy the car instead - quoted at 78.000 pound sterling, including a fresh DFV engine.
Cooling problems meant limited testing and predictably Hayje didn’t qualify the recalcitrant car. Officially, that is. Hezemans and Fagel did the impossible when the latter distracted the timing-official, while Hezemans quickly changed Hayjes qualifying time on the officials’ sheet. And so Boy started his first ever Grand Prix, which came to an end when the driveshaft broke on lap 63.
Afterwards, they managed to sell the car, and made a little profit, just enough to pay for the Zandvoort weekend.
He also won the Daytona 24 hour race, as well as the Nürburgring 1000 km. race twice.
In the 1977 Nurburgring 1000 Kilometers' race he drove a Porsche 935 with Rolf Stommelen to victory. Finishing a lap ahead of the 935 of Kremer Racing driven by Bob Wollek and John Fitzpatrick. Then in 1978 race he led a clean sweep of Porsche 935 driving with Klaus Ludwing and Hans Heyer. the race was determined on the aggregate of two 22 lap heats around the 14.18 mile Nordschliefe circuit. 935s finished first through fifth.
During 1997 he entered two Lotus Elises V8 in the GT1 class of the FIA GT championship, both for his son Mike and former Le Mans winner Jan Lammers. The project wasn't successful, but Toine thought there was some potential.
After Lotus stopped funding the team he wanted to continue and started developing his own car under the name of Bitter, an exotic car manufacturer who wanted to establish its name in racing. It was then called the Bitter-Chrysler GT1 and in 1998 it took part in a few races unsuccessfully. Funds ran out and Toine had to stop the project.
His son Mike is also a successful racing driver.