NWES • April 10, 2018
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series announced today a record-breaking entry list for the first event of the 2018 season, taking place this weekend in Valencia, Spain, at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo. 31 cars will hit the track, fielded by 20 teams and driven by 52 drivers across the two divisions, representing an unprecedented 18 countries on the grid of the most anticipated season in NASCAR Whelen Euro Serie history.
The battle for the NWES title gets tougher than ever
The ELITE 1 Division starting grid has never been so competitive. On the grid in Valencia there will be seven drivers with a NWES division title in their resume: Alon Day will chase back-to-back championships with CAAL Racing, two-time champ Anthony Kumpen and PK Carsport are looking for a record-tying third crown, Lucas Lasserre and Wilfried Boucenna both won the series respectively in 2010 and 2009, while ELITE 2 champions Thomas Ferrando, Stienes Longin and Gianmarco Ercoli are all chasing the glory of being the first to wear both NWES crowns.
Last but not least, a NASCAR Legend. 2000 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Bobby Labonte announced yesterday he will go for the European NASCAR title at the wheel of the #18 YACCO RDV Competition Toyota.
The list of race winners and therefore title hopefuls is, once again, record-breaking and testifies the extreme parity ruling in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. From the last winner of 2017 Marc Goossens, whose Braxx Racing team is expanding to three cars, to perennial title-contender Frederic Gabillon, from last year’s Valencia dominator Borja Garcia to returning Romain Iannetta – the Frenchman will lead the European division of the American NASCAR team Go Fas Racing – 12 drivers will start the first ELITE 1 round with at least one NWES win in their palmares.
The many new entries are further adding to Euro NASCAR’s status as one of the most exciting touring car series in Europe: Francesco Sini and his Solaris Motorsport team come from GT racing, Julien Schell and Pegasus Racing from endurance competitions, Hendriks Motorsports will field Loris Hezemans and multiple Swedish V8 Champion Alexander Graff will make his NASCAR debut with Scandinavian powerhouse Memphis Racing.
A new champion in the ELITE 2 Division
The 2017 season proved once again that the ELITE 2 Division is among the most exciting and unpredictable competitions in motorsports and the upcoming season promises to live up to this reputation.
Only four drivers – Felipe Rabello, Ulysse Delsaux, Wilfried Boucenna and Guillaume Deflandre – start the season with a win and are poised to take advantage of their experience to score important points in the first events. The same will be true for returning contenders like 2017 runner-up Guillaume Dumarey or Marconi Abreu, Justin Kunz, Maciej Dreszer and Gil Linster.
The ELITE 2 Division field will have the chance to race against veteran NASCAR driver Jennifer Jo Cobb, who will cross the Atlantic to join NWES in Spain and also compete for the Lady Cup.
A record 12 rookies will make their NASCAR debut in Valencia and among them there will be Cycling World Champion Tom Boonen, who chose the European NASCAR series to follow his passion for racing on four wheels. 17-year-old Florian Venturi will come from Formula 4 to lead the charge of the ambitious crop of drivers joining the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series for the first time.
Trophies: a race inside the race
Trophies are always a great source of close battles and fascinating stories.
In the ELITE 1 Division, with 2017 winner Stienes Longin out of the equation 7 drivers will go for the Junior Trophy, rewarding the best driver aged 25 or less. The Challenger Trophy will see 8 drivers take on defending champion Marconi Abreu for the crown.
In the ELITE 2 Division, the Lady Cup will see defending champion Carmen Boix Gil and Arianna Casoli take on Jennifer Jo Cobb for the win in Valencia and write a new chapter in their rivalry for the final goal. Two-time winner Jerry De Weerdt leads a group of 7 drivers chasing the Legend Trophy, while the 12 newcomers battling for the Rookie Cup will make this special trophy an highlight of each weekend.
Valencia will also see the debut of the highly anticipated Nations Cup. 18 countries will have at least one driver on the grid, with France being the most represented with 12, followed by Belgium with 10 and Italy with 9.
Race fans, start your engines!
Copyright Whelen Engineering Co, Inc 2017