The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will unveil their 2016 calender at the final round of their 2015 season this weekend at Circuit Zolder in Belgium, as well as taking the wraps off a brand new car and aero kit for 2016.
As if the Zolder Finals didn’t have enough riding on it, with nine drivers going in to the weekend with a shot at the ELITE 1 Championship – read our preview here for the full rundown – the circuit will also host the presentation of the 2016 EuroNASCAR schedule and the unveiling of the 2016 car, featuring a brand new body and other improvements.
The 2015 calender featured several new rounds, most importantly a second oval date as the series visited Raceway Venray for the first time. And after a very entertaining debut at the Dutch circuit, enthusiasm for oval racing in Europe has only increased, with rumours circulating that the Venray round may in future become a marquee EuroNASCAR 250-lap single race, bringing it in line with touring series race formats in America, Canada and Mexico.
However, this would be provisional on the basis of facility upgrades, so all eyes will be on this weekend’s schedule announcement to see if this rumour has any legs. Meanwhile, flagship events at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Brands Hatch and Tours Speedway are expected to remain.
As for the new car, the new “game changing” body is described as ‘”esigned to bring to the next level one of the European fastest growing Series. 2016 will mark the biggest step forward in the championship’s history, with an exciting new body engineered with better aerodynamics, improved safety and increased cost effectiveness as the key concepts.”
It will be fascinating to see the direction taken with the new bodyshell and car style; the existing EuroNASCAR race car, known as the Euro RaceCar originally, was designed primarily for road course racing, with a chassis well-suited to conventional road course racing but not quite as adept on high-banked ovals.
And with a growing oval presence on the calender, and with the winners of the series going on to get mostly oval-based opportunities in America, a car that can handle both high banks and twisting turns would help propel the series further both in European racing and NASCAR.
It’s also worth noting that whilst the NASCAR Mexico and Canada series also have tailor-made cars specific to their series, the K&N Pro Series – seen as the pinnacle of the touring series and one step below the Truck Series on the NASCAR ladder – recently switched to a bodyshell that much more closely resembled the Gen-6 car currently used in the Sprint Cup Series.
Both the 2016 schedule and the new NWES body will be presented on Friday, October 2, at Circuit Zolder, Belgium at 19:00 CET.