Ander Vilariño will not fight for a fourth NASCAR Whelen Euro Series title in 2020. On Friday, DF1 Racing announced the three-time series champion informed them that due to family and business concerns spawned by COVID-19, he will not be able to travel to the races.
“After publishing the new 2020 Nascar Whelen Euro Series schedule, where the dates are completely different from the usual calendar, Ander Vilariño contacted the team principal, with the information that he has serious issues to run the full season,” read a team statement. “Due to the COVID-19 situation and to minimum his own and his family risk Ander Vilariño has decided not to take an airplane in the coming months. As an owner of a business company it is not feasible for him to be away from home for 6 or 7 almost complete weeks or more – plus testing days.”
The 2012, 2013, and 2015 champion, Vilariño joined DF1 for 2020 after spending the 2019 season with Racing Engineering. Racing in the series for the first time since 2015, he scored two wins and finished fifth in points.
DF1 confirmed in the statement that Vilariño “has a long term contract with the team and we fully understand our DF1 Tiger’s situation.”
The pandemic has thrown a massive wrench into the 2020 season, with numerous races being postponed; the season opener shifted through two locations—Circuit Ricardo Tormo and Brands Hatch—before settling on the Autodromo Piero Taruffi of Vallelunga. The full, revised schedule was revealed in early June, with the NASCAR GP Italy being planned for 12–13 September.
Despite the news, the Spaniard is not ruling out a potential one-off at his home race at Ricardo Tormo. The NASCAR GP Spain, won by Vilariño to kick off the 2019 campaign, is planned for 5–6 December.
“CODIV-19 [sic] has a tremendous impact in the region, where I live in Spain and I have to concentrate on my family and my business, although in my heart I am still a racing driver,” Vilariño said. “I thank the team for understanding my situation and for giving me free time in 2020 and I am also happy being back in 2021 with DF1 Racing. But I will continue to train and if the opportunity arises to race in Valencia or somewhere else in a 2 to 3 days basis I will take this opportunity to keep in shape for the next season.”
With twenty-two career wins to go with his titles, Vilariño is the winningest driver in Euro Series history.