Born in Purmerend, Holland on March 16, 1958, Nierop was exposed to motor sport through his father Klaas who took Kees to races in Europe before immigrating to Canada . It was after the Nierop family settled in Kelowna , BC that Kees , at the age of 18, attempted his first motor sport event, the Knox Mountain Hillclimb. Success never comes easily--Nierop rolled his Datsun 240z on his way up the hill.
Undaunted, Nierop repaired the 240z and proceeds to achieve greater success, finally winning the Canadian GT-1 Championship in 1978. It was also that year that a Formula Atlantic ride was obtained for his home track at Westwood , BC . The North American Formula Atlantic Series was still hotly contested. Gilles Villeneuve had just moved to Ferrari and the likes of Tom Gloy, Howdy Holmes, Danny Sullivan, Keke Rosberg and Jacques Villeneuve were looking for their big break. Nierop, never having driven a Formula car of any kind, qualified a remarkable sixth. Mechanical problems forced him out of the race.
The next year, in '79, Nierop's love affair with the Porsche marquee began in earnest.
After driving the "hairy" Kemp Cobra II at the Daytona 24 hr, Nierop secured a ride with the Dick Barbour Porsche 934 team for IMSA races at Portland and Road-America.
Nierop again returned to the Daytona race in '80 in a Porsche 911, but without the desired results. For Sebring, Barbour offered the Apple Computer Porsche 935, and along with Bobby Rahal, the team brought the car home sixth. Later that year, Nierop teamed with Bob Akin in his Porsche 935 at the 6 hr race at Mosport and again a sixth place finish rewarded the crew for their efforts.
For the next two seasons, 1981-82, Nierop, with private backing from two prominent Canadian businessmen went to England and competed in the British Formula 3 Championship. Although the effort produced no noteworthy results, Nierop gained a great deal of experience learning new racetracks and driving at 10/10 ths. in very close company.
In 1983 the young, now only 25, returned to North America and secured a ride with WLB Racing's 934. Perseverance was finally rewarded. The WLB Racing Team won, outright, the 12 hr of Sebring in a GTO class car-- the only time this has been done in IMSA history. In April the team won again, this time the GTO class at the 6 hr race at Riverside . Lady luck is cruel and while again leading the GTO class at Mid-Ohio, the team suffered a DNF.
The year 1984 looked promising for Nierop. After a couple of abortive attempts to drive a Porsche 935 at Daytona and Sebring, disappointment was slowly attacking the Nierop psyche. In early June the phone call that he know would come eventually materialized, and he instantly agreed to drive the Kremer Bros. Porsche 956 at the World Endurance Championship race at Mosport. Nierop worked diligently with the promoter of the ride, attended media receptions. and did media interviews to assist the sponsor Sperry Inc. achieve publicity for their efforts. The experience of driving Turbo Porsches and a knowledge of Mosport certainly helped Nierop. After practice and qualifying, less than one second separated the three drivers. The Kremers were pleased, as their car was fifth fastest behind the Rothmans and Skoal Porsche 956's. Depending on steady driving, the Sperry 956 worked it's way up to second place after almost four hours. But then the rough Mosport track and extreme heat caused gearbox oil cooler failure and eventually gearbox failure. The Sperry Porsche 956 was not counted as a finisher.
In 1985, Kees ran the IMSA Daytona 24 Hrs, with Bob Akin Racing 935 Turbo Porsche to a 5th place finish over all.
He then joined Electrodyne Porsche Racing 934 Turbo for the rest of 1985 to compete in GTO Finishing 2nd at Atlanta and Elkhart Lake, 4th at Watkins Glen and 7th at the Pocono 500 km. race. (1 DNF due to crash at Riverside and 1 DNF due to engine problems at Daytona.)
In October he joined the Carlsen Racing team to drive the 24 hr. Firehawk race with Walt Maas, John Milledge and Drake Olsen to finish in 1st place overall with a Porsche 944.
With Carlsen in '86, Kees continued to excel with the Porsche marquee. In the SCCA Escort Endurance Challenge at both Sears Point and Portland , he finished second in class. At the Nelson Ledges 24 hour, he took 4th overall, 4th in class in the Carlsen 944T and at Atlanta , back in the 944, first in class. In the Budweiser 24 hrs at Mosport, Kees was selected to drive on the same team as Al Holbert and Derek Bellin a Rothmans/Porsche 944T. The car finished a credible 8th after spending 3/4 hour in the pits with a brake malfunction.
Another highlight of the '86 season was the offer from Bob Akin to share an IMSA GTP ride in the Coca-Cola Porsche 962 at Road America . In this, his first opportunity to race a Porsche 962, Kees showed that he was up to the task by finishing 3rd in the grueling 500 miler.
Interestingly enough, it was back in Canada that Kees was finally able to establish himself as such versatile young driving talent to his peers. Against the top driver in Canada , and some of the best Showroom Stock drivers from the U.S. , Kees captured the prestigious Rothmans/Porsche Challenge Championship. The series consisted of seven 1/2 hour sprint races in which 32 competitors drove virtually identical Porsche 944s against one another. Names like Scott Goodyear, Bill Adam, Richard Spenard, Ludwig Heimrath Sr. and Jr. were amongst the competition faced by Kees in his MCL/Field Motorsports entry.
As a result of his successful competition year, Kees also has the distinction and honor of being among the top ten in a field of 150 competing for the Porsche North American Cup.
1987 Was a year Nierop would rather forget. Although during his visit at the Porsche factory because of the 10th place in the Porsche North America Cup, he was asked by Mr. Peter Falk to join the factory race team at LeMans for the 24hr race in June of ’87. Nierop was to drive one of the three Rothman’s Porsche 962’s with Price Cobb and Vern Schuppan. Unfortunately the car was crashed beyond repair before Nierop had a chance to drive it. The factory then switched Nierop from the 962 to the 961. The 961 was the racing version of the 959 Porsche supercar. Nierop had already driven the car at Daytona Beach , FL the previous year. While a top 10 finish was in the works, unfortunately the car became a DNF after mechanical issues caused the car to brush the wall at high speed on Sunday morning.
Nierop continued to get rides (one was with Brian Redman in a 962 at the Daytona 24 hr race-DNF) and also a season with the Rick Hurst Racing 944 in the American Firehawk series. Again he showed well, finishing first several times.
In 1988 Nierop got the invitation from Cam Champion to join his team of two 944 Turbo cars to run the Canadian Rothman’s 944 Turbo Cup. The season turned out to be a challenge, however, Nierop did manage to have several top finishes and ended up 5th in the Championship. Not what Nierop had hoped for. However, Nierop also ran some endurance races with the Saleen Mustangs. Finishing 2nd at Mosport and 3rd at Brainerd. This got him the invite to join Steve Saleen for 1989 to do the full season.
1989 was again a typical racing year, there were many good times but also some less then enjoyable moments. Nierop at this point didn’t feel that his career was going where it was intended to go. He loved the high horsepower IMSA machines and the opportunities to drive them were far and few between.
Nierop relocated to Vancouver BC and got involved in the transportation industry. Nierop always felt that he carried a big responsibility towards his family and soon found himself looking for a more secure income. The summer of 1990 brought yet another invite from Porsche Canada to drive a 944 Turbo at the Vancouver Molson Indy, Nierop accepted and drove the mechanically challenged car throughout the weekend.
Racing still in his blood, he decided to run his own 280Z again the next year (1991)at the same Vancouver Molson Indy weekend. This time he qualified on the pole and won the race.
Nierop continued to drive in some amateur races in his Datsun through the 90's. He kept his racing license up because the need to go racing was not leaving him. Then in early 2000 Kees was contacted by the late Bob Carlson from Porsche Cars North America. Mr. Carlson invited him to join the team of past and current Porsche driving champions to instruct and showcase new Porsche models as they were being released to the public. Nierop accepted this immediately and joined the elite pro driver team of Hurley Haywood, David Murry, David Donahue, Patrick Long. This would see Kees at the wheel of the latest Porsches (Carrera GT, 997, 997 Turbo etc.) driving at speed at several North American racetracks.
Nierop also joined Vancouver based Morrisport Advanced Driving as an instructor. The new decade would be all about cars and Porsches and instructing for Nierop. Late 2008 he also joined Porsche Sport Driving School in Birmingham as an instructor.
Then in 2007 Nierop was asked to be the driver for the Canadian entry for the TransSyberia Rally. This is a 7200 km "off road", two week, live in a tent, rally from Moscow, Russia, to Ulaanbataar, Mongolia. Porsche North America had entered three Cayennes and Nierop drove the Canadian entry. His co-driver/navigator was Laurance Yap. Rallying was not something Nierop had done much of in his carreer, but Kees never backs away from a challenge. The rally would end up being great publicity for Kees. Not for his finishing position, but for how he walked away uninjured from a totally destroyed Cayenne in the middle of the Gobi dessert in Mongolia.
Nierop's driving performance was worthy of being invited again for 2008. This time a rare mechanical problem with the Porsche put him out of the race after only two days.
Kees continued to be busy doing several coaching days and appearances. It was at one of the coaching days where Steve Paquette (owner of Bullet Racing) approached Kees to try out one of his Koni Porsche 911's at Mission, BC racetrack. As he drove the racecar 911, Nierop knew he had to do more real racing again. Later that year he drove Steve's 930 Turbo racecar. A 600+ hp car much like the 935's he was used to from the early 80's. It was after driving this car that he was invited to join Bullet Racing as a team driver for the Rolex 24 at Daytona Beach in January 2010.
Nierop proved to be a worthy endurance driver still at the age of 51. A 25 year break from Daytona did not seem to bother Nierop, may be he isn't the top qualifying driver (he'll leave that to the 20 year olds) but when it comes to steady, fast, consistent, easy on the car laps, Nierop is still very much up to it.
Nierop continued with Bullet Racing for 2010 entering the Westcoast Sportscar Championship. Driving the Bullet Racing Porsche GT3 he went on to win the Championship, he was also voted "Driver of the Year" (2010). 2010 Proved to be a busy year as Nierop also continued his duties as a Porsche Canada instructor and also continued as a Porsche Sport Driving School North America instructor. Nierop was involved with the introduction of the Porsche Panamera, Porsche Cayenne Hybrid and of course all the regular dealer visits.
2011 looked promising for more racing, but once again budget issues kept that from materializing. Instead Nierop totally focussed on instructing for both Porsche Canada (World Roadshow at Calabogie) and Porsche Sport Driving School North America. A bright moment was the invitation to drive Jim Edwards' 1977 Porsche 934 Turbo (Ex Wollek LeMans winner) at the Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV at Laguna Seca, CA. Nierop took full advantage of this opportunity as he qualified the car as the top 934 in the field.
In 2012 Nierop continued to show his enthusiasm for the Porsche brand. He was send to Finland early on in the year to be an instructor at the Porsche AG Camp4. A somewhat (did the ice racing back in the 1980's) new experience with the all wheel drive Porsche C4S which he enjoyed a lot. As a Porsche Canada instructor he did the Canadian Grand Boxster Tour to introduce the all new Boxster and Boxster S. The US did the US World Roadshow Tour from coast to coast and Nierop enjoyed being a steady instructor on that tour. All in all a very busy year instructing for Nierop. Nierop considers himself now officially retired from active racing.
2013 is yet another busy year. Nierop loves being busy with Porsche events and the year started with the Porsche Canada Camp4 and Camp4S programs in PQ at Mecaglisse. Another Porsche Canada Grand Cayman tour and also a Porsche AG Canada World Roadshow at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Also Nierop is enjoying another full year being on the US World Roadshow tour. Later this summer Nierop will be an instructor at the dealer training for the Porsche Panamera S E Plug in Hybrid. No racing, but that's ok, Nierop loves creating fun times for new potential Porsche owners.
In 2014 Nierop again committed himself to Porsche 100%. Porsche Camp4 Canada in PQ was the first excitement of the year. Now a seasoned winter driving instructor as this was the third year doing so. After Camp4, Porsche Canada kept Nierop very busy doing the Western Canadian Macan Tour and then over to the Eastcoast and team up with Pierre DesMarais to finish the Canadian Macan Tour. All thru the year Nierop did several Porsche Canada dealer track days coast to coast and Porsche Travel Club events in Western Canada. Then Nierop also joined the Porsche USA Roadshow Tour. In between events Nierop also did several PCA guest appearances and also some Concourse d'Elegance events. Then later in the year Nierop was the lead instructor for Team Central dealer training for the new 2015 Porsche Cayenne and Cayenne S E Hybrid introduction. November was a fun time as Nierop did the Canadian Dealer/Principal 2015 Porsche Cayenne event including some off road demonstrations.
2015 is already promising to be a great year. Again it starts of with Camp4 Canada during the month of February and then there are many other plans after that. Also Nierop has secured his 2015 FIA racing license and hopes to get some driving time on the track again. Remember that in Oct (9-11) there is Rennsport Reunion V at Laguna…….Have license and is willing to travel……It's now Fall/Winter 2015 and I am happy to report that 2015 has been a very successful year! Camp4Canada was a success and then we did a Porsche Performance Tour West and East, Porsche Intelligent Performance Grand Tour and a few track days also. Late in the year I was invited to do a speech at the PCA UCR year end banquet. Loved doing all the PCL events and of course I was also an instructor for PSDS and the Porsche WorldroadshowUSA events all over the USA We did hotlaps in the Panamera Turbo and posted a lot of in car videos on the web. Love doing those hotlaps!
Talking about hotlaps....I was again invited by Jim Edwards to drive the 934 at Rennsport at Laguna this year … The 934 is a handful to drive but I love it and again I did a very satisfying job. The fastest lap with the car was within 0.1 seconds of my fastest lap 4 years ago. So......yes, I still can man handle that car around Laguna!!! No ABS or traction control on that car!
I finished my travels for Porsche late October and then did a gig for Toyota also. Did a three week tour with the engineers from Toyota, check it out on line http://www.toyotaeverbetter.com/ for Toyota.
2016 will be fun, I am getting ready for Camp4Canada 2016 at Mecaglisse this year and then there are several other tours planned also already. I am also teaming up with an ex coaching client to do some racing with his 996 Cup car in the NorthWest and then of course there will be the USA Porsche WorldRoadshow events.
Once again, I am really looking forward to 2016 and doing some racing again. I feel very motivated to do more driving and hope that sooner or later I can do some more vintage or historic racing also. Already received my 2016 FIA license in the mail.......I am ready!!!! Let's go racing!!!
So it’s been a while since I updated what I’ve been up to. Where does the time go? I am so busy having fun doing what I love to do. 2016 proved to be a very good year. I started the year as always these days….with a heavy coat on at Mecaglisse track near Montreal, PQ. Porsche Camp4 Canada is always a month long event that starts the year with big smiles from the participants. I continued of course with Porsche Canada’s Performance Tour thru BCand then the Porsche introduction of the 718 models. I found that I am actually very comfortable and excited when I stand in front of the class and explain the new models. Am I getting older? No, just like the new challenge now and then. I also continued on the road with the USA Destination Drive events for Porsche USA. Got to do all the fun stuff with my favorite car the Panamera GTS. Drifting all over the place on strange parking lots! Love them “hot laps”.
As mentioned one of my clients decisded to go racing with me also. Team Vitesse came together and we got a 996Cup car that is just awesome!! I have the car here in Kelowna and we maintain it here. It’s racing without pressure and 100% fun!! Boy do we look and feel good in our clean, shiny and fast cup car! It is so good for me to keep my hands at racing a little, not only do I still tell a mean story, I can still actually do a pretty decent lap in a racecar!
2017 Has been a different year. Yes, I started the year with Camp4 Canada. I was actually nominated to be the chief instructor at the track so I was very happy doing things my way. My Porsche Canada instructor partner was awarded the job of looking after all Porsche Canada driving events now so a few changes were in the air. I continue doing some Porsche Canada events but have branched out to doing events withthe two new racetracks in BC. Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit (islandmotorsportcircuit.com) and Area27 (area27.ca). I focus more now on doing the western events for Porsche Canada and will hopefully develop some new programs in the future as well. At VIMC I make guest appearances and love the smiles and glow of the participants. Late summer I was awarded the Chief Instructor job for Area27 also. We run several schools (Academy27) which is a very hot job…..Oliver, BC in the summer is around 38˚-40˚C.
The beauty of 2017 has been the comradery with everybody. All instructors I work with at Porsche, VIMC and Area27! Together we have created so many fantastic moments for our clients. Driving IS fun!!!
Unfortunately I have not been to the USA for any world roadshows or destination drive events, but no worries, Porsche Canada started their own PSDS Canada courses!! I instructed some at CTMP DDT.
There was a highlight of the year…..there was one day where I drove a 991Cup, 996Cup and a GT4Clubsport MR all in one day. Yes, I am still living the dream!
Team Vitesse is a great way to continue my private coaching and racing. We raced at The Ridge, WA, Mission, BC, Portland, OR and Spokane and we did a few days at Area27. Thanks to Jim Keller and Ken Stone’s hard work the car ran faultless and finished every session or race we started. 100% FUN!!!
Did I mention my OpenRoad shootout I was asked to organize? That was a great event to start the year with. A 2014 Porsche 991Cup (2016 Scott Hargrove car) and 5 young super fast drivers looking to get the OpenRoad racing seat for the Porsche GT3 Canada series. We did interviews and all the “selecting” stuff and ended up with our winner Remo Ruscitti.
Ok, I probable forgot to mention several things. It has been a great year and it’s not over yet. I’mstill scheduled to do several schools, do a Porsche Canada Panamera event at Whistler and have a trip planned to Daytona Beach with my little brother Bruce. Bruce broke his neck this Spring and actually recovered 95%!!!! I promised him if he gets better I’d take him. So he did and we are going!!!
I’ll try to update more often from now on……. Enjoy the new, fresh website at keesnierop.com. I left the old one at keesnierop.ca