When the 2020 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series finally kicks off, it will see its largest grid in history with thirty-three full-time cars run by seventeen teams. The season is currently on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has already forced the original opener at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in April to be postponed to the fall; the American SpeedFest 8 at Brands Hatch in June became the new first round until that was also moved following Motorsport UK‘s suspension of permits.
“The competition will be outstanding and there have been several big names already announced,” Roy Hendriks, owner of 2019 champion Hendriks Motorsport said. “I think it will be harder in 2020 than it was last year. Beside ours there are a lot of good drivers joining the other teams. The cars are ready to race and also the whole team and all drivers want to get back to the track as soon as possible. But we fully understand that it’s not responsible to go racing during this crisis. We make the best out of it, as we have more time to think about strategies and setups right now.”
Hendriks will field a trio of drivers in 2020, including defending champion Loris Hezemans. Hezemans, who won four races en route to his maiden title in 2019 and made his NASCAR Xfinity Series début that year, will be partnered with Martin Doubek and Giorgio Maggi. Doubek split time in the now-EuroNASCAR Pro and EuroNASCAR 2 divisions, while Maggi finished runner-up to Lasse Sørensen in the EuroNASCAR 2 championship.
Sørensen, who scored three wins in 2019 with DF1 Racing, moves up to the Pro division as part of a four-car effort for DF1. His team-mates will be Henri Tuomaala, who finished fifteenth in the 2019 pro standings, Justin Kunz who has raced in 2, and three-time Euro champion Ander Vilariño.
“I really think the upcoming season will be the strongest one in the history of NWES,” DF1 head Norbert Walchhofer said. “Our drivers are well prepared and we’re looking positively to the 2020 season despite these difficult times. We are looking forward to hitting the track again soon and continuing our winning streak from 2019.”
Two other four-team operations will be CAAL Racing and FEED Vict Racing. The former, fielding cars for Mauro Trione and Italians Gianmarco Ercoli and Gianni Morbidelli, also formed an alliance with Solaris Motorsport to run the #12 for Francesco Sini. Vict Racing, owned by longtime motorsport veteran Jacques Villeneuve, will also run the likes of Patrick Lemarié and Dario Caso.
“It’s great to see so many entries because it shows that there’s a lot of interest in the series,” Villeneuve, who began racing in the Euro Series in 2019 with NASCAR Cup Series team Go Fas Racing, commented. “There are also many important names joining. The races are exciting, the cars are fun to drive, the tracks are great and the drivers are hungry for pure racing. There’s a place for everyone, from 16 to 70 years old. We all can’t wait to go back racing, but now it’s the time to be smart and focus on going through this difficult moment, hoping to return to the track soon.”
Two-car organisations include Alex Caffi Motorsport, RDV Competition, PK Carsport, 42 Racing, and Braxx Racing. Memphis Racing, Mishumotors, Marko Stipp Motorsport, and Team Bleekemolen will run one-driver teams, as will series débutant TC Motorsports.
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