Our hero hoon: An interview with Rin Hortulanus

If you haven’t yet read the tale of Rin Hortulanus, you need to stop and head here: From Heartbreak to Hero. OK, ready to proceed now? Good, let’s jump past the break and dive into our interview with the man himself.

Hooniverse: How old are you?
Rin: I just turned 25, last week (born March 5th 1987).

H: Any other family members involved in motorsports?
R: Unfortunately not! My mom was a fantastic driver, but I suppose that doesn’t exactly count.  

Fun fact though (slightly off topic from the question) but my first word was literally: “Auto”, which is Dutch for “Car”.

H: Why the Volkswagen Polo?
R: The Polo has an equally massive story as the racing license weekend, but I’ll try and keep it short/condensed: 

The Polo was actually my step moms car. I worked my ass off for it when I was 18, making only €4.65 per hour at a go-kart track. I saved for months and months, riding my bicycle to work which was almost 1 hr away, while studying at college. After much savings, I bought it from her for only €3,000 with only 40,000km’s on the clock (was in perfect condition, always kept in the garage).

The following summer I had the choice of: Seeing my friends and family in NY (Long Island,where I grew up) or driving in the Student Gumball Rally. I chose for the Rally and saved up again for months and months. Unfortunately the engine mysteriously blew up (reason still unknown) 15 min after the start of the rally and I had to drive back to Holland on 3 cylinders.

This is what started the whole revolution of the car: My friends father (65 years old) loved working on projects and volunteered to put in a GTI motor into the car. 7 months of hard hard work and €3800 later, my car had gained 50+ horsepower and a lot more character.

Ever since then, I’ve been driving with it on the track with a stripped interior, uprated suspension and tons of little details (listed later on) to make the grocery-getter as tough as possible.

I still daily drive the car and use it to get groceries, drive on long trips across the continent, and have been driving on the tracks with it, confusing many-a-BMW driver for years now: Usually at Zandvoort/Nurburgring/Assen.

For a summary with photos, have a quick look through my first post on my build thread.

H: What is done to the car?

  • Stripped interior (890kg before rollcage)
  • Racing seat from a Renault Megan Cup car
  • Electronic throttle-by-wire
  • 1.6 16v ARC GTI motor (Good for around 145-150 hp) with standard 5 speed GTI gearbox
  • Ported and flowed cylinder head
  • Cat-delete, directly to only a 1.9SDI Backbox (no resonators etc)
  • Direct feed intake
  • FK 6 point adjustable coilovers
  • H&R 24mm anti-roll bar
  • Bonrath polybushings
  • 175/55/R13 racing slicks (Michelin Eurocup s210’s)
  • Rollcage
  • ATE grooved disks
  • Ferodo DS3000 brake pads
  • Fk Powerlook headlights
  • Mk5 Polo tail lights


  • Fiberglass body panels/doors
  • Pexiglass windows (rear doors and hatch)
  • Headers
  • Lots of savings to do..

H: Where do you want to go from here?
R: Great question! My dream would be to first race “casually” with the Polo this year and complete a few races with good results. Unfortunately, the costs are super high so I don’t see myself racing as much as I’d like to…but I’ll just have to save harder.

I am hoping to meet the right people this year, and some how join a team for a cup series or anything really. I just want to race and don’t care what it is, as long as its fun (pretty much anything). Maybe with a bit of luck I’d be able to find the right people and potentially sweet talk my way into a good situation.

Until that time, I’ll just have as much fun,learn as much as possible, film it all and enjoy every little moment and detail of competing with people who live and breathe motorsport, and do what they love!

H: Any choice words for your ex-girlfriend?

R: She’s a good girl and we got along great, I’m sure she’d agree. Its a shame she didn’t stick around for the ride, as she would have loved it (our future, etc).

A relationship is just like me and my car: sometimes its best to remain faithful and not give up, even when things get tough. The rewards in the end are great and there’s a better feeling of accomplishment, rather than choosing the “easy-road”.

Times can be difficult but over the years you get stronger and better, as cliche as it sounds.


There you have it. Rin Hortulanus is a young man with a passion for racing, and a person who decided to take a step off the edge and follow his dream. We promise to stay in touch with Rin and update you as he finds his way into the world of motorsports. Oh… and we’re sending him two Hooniverse decals to stick on that Polo.

Thanks for your time Rin, and good luck!

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