Tony Hall of Fame Presents: VALENCIA NASCAR FEST, 23 – 24 April 2016


NASCAR Whelen Euro Series @ Circuito de Ricardo Tormo

The Circuit de Ricardo Tormo in Valencia has certainly done it again, a weekend full of motorsport fun and serious racing but great for all those fans who attended. A ‘big thumbs up’ to the organizers of this event.

The weather was just what was ordered, sunny, dry and hardly a cloud in the sky.

Anybody who knows me or reads what I write and looks at my photographs will know that I love the garages, cars, pit lane, talking to the drivers and mechanics and even getting a team owner to take a picture of me with the late, great James Hunt’s son, Freddie Hunt. He was driving car number 66 and sharing it with none other than Niki Lauda’s son, Mathias. I had a talk with Freddie (what a likeable bloke) and he sounded just like his father. Freddie said he enjoyed the Euro NASCAR series but his main aim is to drive in the Le Mans series.

For this event I had the privilege of having press accreditation and even had my own photographers jacket, that is a first (the first of many). It gave me access to pit lane, pit wall and around the circuit, so hopefully some good photos. A big thanks to the press office at Ricardo Tormo for permitting me to represent

Now, what was on offer for those fans who dare venture to the track? Basically, a weekend full of noise, burning tyres, smoking engines and happy faces. Besides four Euro NASCAR races, there was drifting, truck drifting, drag type racing over a timed quarter mile, decorated lorries, burn-outs, BMX and a skatepark for the kids, bouncy castles, refreshments and much more.

My main interest obviously was in the Euro NASCAR. The teams can elect to choose a Chevrolet or Ford Mustang bodywork but the engines are Chevrolet V8s giving about 450bhp, four speed manual gear boxes, strengthened space frame chassis and obviously roll cages. Basically, everything is standard for all teams. No computers to control anything. The only electronic device is a data collector and sensors that teams can plug into once the car is in the garage. Set-up for the car is suspension ride height, steering geometry, tyre pressures and engine timing. It comes down to the mechanics and drivers.

Euro NASCAR is sponsored by Whelen Engineering Co. Inc., an American company who make various lighting equipment for many types of industries, but particularly the automotive.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the Saturday sessions but I am sure they were just as much fun as Sunday’s for which I made sure I was there to watch and report.

During the morning session there were two safety car periods for cars that had gone off the track into the gravel. Good close racing and the rolling starts are unbelievable, everyone wants to arrive at the first corner in first position and we know that’s not going to happen. The race was won by car number 11 driven by Bert Longin, team PK Carsport. Second went to Spaniard Salvador Tineo of Caal Racing. Freddie Hunt, driving car number 66 and a rookie driver this year, came in 8th and not forgetting the only female driver Arianna Casoli who finished in 18th place.

The second Euro NASCAR race got underway at 2.30pm with all cars making the first corner, although there were a few incidents that required some cars to pit either to remove dragging bodywork or change flat tyres. Towards the end of the race the safety car was deployed because of quite a big accident on the main straight. Fortunately, the driver was uninjured although taken away by ambulance to the medical centre for a check-up. The race finished under the yellow flag with safety car out.

No sooner had the NASCAR race finished, the drifting cars were out on the inner circuit making smoke and having a great time. In the paddock area lots of kids were having fun, either watching the BMX bikes or having a drive on the go-karts. For those who wanted to buy T-shirts or team wear the stalls were there to cater for them.

For me another fun day at the track, sunburnt face and tired legs but what the heck, I had fun.

I look forward to my next visit to the Circuit de Ricardo Tormo. Enjoy.

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