Belgium is no exception when it comes to the automotive sector. Many Volvos are manufactured in Ghent and Audis in Forest. And Fords are developed in Lommel and Toyotas in Zaventem. In addition, the country has also produced famous drivers such as Stoffel Vandoorne, Thierry Neuville and Jérôme d'Ambrosio (among others).
And let’s not forget Olivier Gendebien, who was in the spotlight in F1 and at Le Mans in the 1950s and 1960s. Thierry Boutsen, for whom the Belgian national anthem was played three times in F1 between 1989 and 1990. As well as father (Jacky) and daughter (Vanina) Ickx who flew the Belgian colours on the track, with Jacky Ickx's 6 victories at the 24h of Le Mans.
The world of motorcycling has also been influenced by several Belgians. Belgium has no fewer than 52 world titles in motorcross! These include the legendary Joël Robert and Stefan Everts. Didier de Radiguès shone on the circuits and Xavier Siméon was able to compete with legends such as Márquez or Rossi in MotoGP.
Despite its small size, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is no less a country of passion. For example, Dylan Pereira made his mark in the Porsche Cup and at the 24h of Le Mans! And Goodyear tests its new tyres on the Colmar-Berg circuit.
But the talent is not just behind the steering wheel and handlebars and among the R&D engineers. Some Belgians have excelled in the most beautiful way at the drawing board.
A few gems
The Lamborghini Murciélago owes its legendary lines to Luc Donckerwolke! Pierre Leclercq revolutionised the industry by designing the first ever SUV coupé: the BMW X6! Have you heard of Dirk Van Braeckel? It’s to this genius designer that we owe the first generation of Bentley Continental GT and the latest generation of Mulsanne! Louis De Fabribeckers has been heading up the design department of Touring Superleggera since 2007. Under his leadership, the body shop produced one of the most beautiful cars of the 21st century: the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante. And then there’s Tony Gillet who developed and designed an unusual sports car called 'Vertigo' in Gembloux.
In short, car design owes some of its most striking lines to Belgian pencil strokes.
In terms of the design and manufacture of two-wheelers, the name Frédéric Bertrand and his Kurgger motorcycles come to mind. Single-handedly, he creates unique machines for rich and demanding customers all over the world! Belgium is clearly not just the country of chocolate.