Nascar Whelen Euro Series
Ricardo Tormo Valencia 14 – 15 April 2018
I am sitting at home with a glass of good red wine, thinking about the past weekend’s racing and how much fun I had, whether it be in the paddock, garages, pit lane, grid formation or at the track edge with the cars passing me within inches at over 140mph and what I could relate, so let the fun begin!
The first round of the EuroNascar series was again held at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia. Let me say from the outset that EuroNascar is what we ‘petrolheads’ call real racing. Noisy Chevy V8s with 400bhp engines and four speed manual gearboxes. Very old school. As Bobby Labonte told me, ‘it’s like driving a NASCAR from twenty years ago’. EuroNascar was the main event with thirty cars entered for four races, two races for Elite 1 drivers and two races for Elite 2 drivers (who have three lady drivers, Carmen Boix, Arianna Casoli and a newcomer Jennifer Jo Cobb).
We have a new series starting this year the Copa Kobe which are Toyota Aygos with a 3 cylinder 998cc race prepared cars. A very good start to racing. Twenty cars and drivers took part in the practice sessions, qualifying and the two races. Great fun and excitement to see the close racing achieved in this series.
In addition, there were CER/GT endurance cars which had a two hour race. What a great selection of fantastic cars including Maserati, Porsche, Vortex, BMW, Peugeot. Obviously there were different classes going from those with the big fat Chevy 5-litre engines to those such as the Seat Leon or Ford Fiesta ST. What heaven at the start of the race to see and hear around fifty cars roaring down the main straight.
So, there you have it: one hundred race cars were testing, qualifying and racing. The organisers of the event did not forget the smaller race fans or their families as in the paddock there were the usual stalls selling everything from car parts to clothing, plus there were the bouncy castles, food and drinks’ vendors. A really good, fun weekend for all the family.
To my surprise and most others there was a 2004 Jaguar F1 car (ex-F1 driver Mark Webber). The owner/driver, Klaas Zwart from Team Ascari was going to try to beat the lap time from the last F1 winter testing in February 2011 set by Robert Kubica in his Lotus-Renault. The target was 1.13.144 seconds. Unfortunately he was unsuccessful this time. As Klaas told me the track conditions were not good with all the loose rubber from the NASCAR cars so he did not have the grip. Perhaps he will try again!
As I mentioned earlier the main event for the weekend was EuroNascar. We had some excellent close racing. Both Elite 1 races were won by the defending 2017 champion Alon Day car #54 CAAL Racing. He certainly not was allowing the rest of the field to sit back. While in Elite 2 class the both races were won by Wilfried Boucenna #37 Knauf Racing.
I was privileged to interview some of the drivers including Bobby Labonte, Jennifer Jo Cobbs and Alex Sedgwick all rookies for the EuroNascar 2018 season. As usual I had great fun representing iberianmph.com at NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.