Yesterday, news came out from both the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and ThreeWide.de respectively that Jennifer Jo Cobb and Lasse Sørensen will make their Elite 1 debut for this week’s American SpeedFest at Brands Hatch. Jo Cobb will drive for Alex Caffi Motorsport in the No. 1 Mustang, while Sørensen will do the double duty in Dexwet-DF1 Racing’s No. 66 Camaro.
For Jennifer Jo Cobb, the weeks leading up to American SpeedFest has been a very interesting one. After taking part in the season opener at Valencia in Racing-Total’s No. 10 Camaro in the Elite 2 class, she had to miss the previous round at Franciacorta due to a clash in schedule with the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. Jo Cobb was scheduled to make a return in the No. 10 car for Brands Hatch, but complications would arise after Racing-Total and Marko Stipp announced the break-up in their partnership on May 18.
On the initial announcement that Marko Stipp released regarding the rebranding of Racing-Total’s Euro Series operations into Marko Stipp Motorsport (MSM), Stipp mentioned that while he’s continuing to field the No. 10 and No. 46 car for the rest of the season, but he doesn’t mention anything regarding Racing-Total’s existing partnership with Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing and AmD Tuning. Thus, when the initial Entry List was released, it became known that MSM had continued the partnership with AmD Tuning, but not with Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing.
Speaking to us after we approached Jo Cobb due to concerns that we may have misreported our initial report, Jo Cobb revealed that Hubertus Heyman – the owner of Racing-Total – had contacted her to drive the No. 10 Camaro even though Racing-Total and Marko Stipp had split, which left her confused as she thought that Heyman and Stipp had broken up their partnership.
Jo Cobb said to us that she would be in Brands Hatch this week to communicate with Heyman and Stipp to see what would be possible for her for the remainder of the season. For Brands Hatch, what would be possible for her would turn out to be a chance to drive in Elite 1 for Alex Caffi Motorsport.
Jo Cobb will become the third driver to drive the No. 1 Alex Caffi Mustang this season, after Mexico Series champion Rubén García Jr. and team owner Alex Caffi drove the car in Valencia and Franciacorta respectively.
“The opportunity is extremely exciting and quite honestly a bit surreal because I have always admired the Alex Caffi Motorsport team,” said Jo Cobb in the Euro Series article. “My number one goal is to have a safe race. Of course, stepping up to the Elite 1 Division is a bit intimidating but the first thing I can do is to take care of the equipment Alex Caffi Motorsport will give me and learn as much as I can about the track.”
“Of course I am ever grateful for the support of Racing-Total’s Hubertus and Regina (Riedel, co-owner of Racing-Total), who have made this possible. They are incredible! I’m still digesting this fantastic opportunity and I’m looking forward to an amazing weekend in the UK in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.”
As for Elite 2’s Franciacorta Race 1 race winner Sørensen, the Dane will replace the departing Christophe Bouchut in the No. 66 Dexwet-DF1 Camaro. Bouchut, who had been a veteran for the Dexwet-DF1 team ever since the team’s debut in the series back in 2014, had left the Austrian team just after the Saturday race in Franciacorta after he expressed his concerns on the safety side of the sport and losing his motivation to drive in NASCAR.
“After many years with DF1 I decide to stop racing definitely with them,” said Bouchut in a Twitter post on May 12. “For some safety reason I had already decided to not racing the second race in Spain, now in Italy my motivation is gone. Thanks to everybody, drivers and mechanics. About the NASCAR, it’s just a goodbye.”
Two days later, on May 14, Dexwet-DF1 Racing released a press release that confirms Bouchut’s release from the team after the Saturday race in Franciacorta:
“During the race weekend in Italy, Dexwet-DF1 Racing parted immediately with Christophe Bouchut on Saturday after the race for personal reasons,” said the team in the press release. “We note that our cars always passed the technical control of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. (The results of) Both the safety and the technical inspection of the No. 66 car after the victory of Sørensen were positive. Our racing cars are safe and fully comply with the EuroNASCAR regulations.”
After the No. 66 team was initially entered with just Sørensen in the Elite 2 seat, yesterday it was confirmed by the team that Sørensen will do the double duty this week as he has been tabbed by Dexwet-DF1 to become Bouchut’s replacement driver for Brands Hatch. Sørensen, alongside Max Lanza in the No. 41 The Club Camaro and Eric De Doncker in the No. 98 Motorsport 98 Mustang, will be the three drivers that are scheduled to do the double duty this week.
“Lasse Sørensen, debutant and winner in the Elite 2 in Franciacorta, will start in both Elite 1 and Elite 2 for the Dexwet-DF1 Racing Team in Brands Hatch during the American SpeedFest,” said the team in the Facebook post that confirms Sørensen’s Elite 1 drive. “The young Dane in the No. 66, who sensationally drove in the Victory Lane in his first race, will thus gain useful track experience.”
“Thanks to my fantastic management Flexlease.nu and great sponsors, I will be competing both in Elite 1 and 2 this upcoming weekend,” said Sørensen in his Facebook page. “I’m so happy for this opportunity. Looking forward (to) work with the great guys at Dexwet-DF1 Racing!”
Jo Cobb and Sørensen’s Elite 1 debut this week will continue the trend of having at least 1 driver making their Elite 1 debut in the 2019 season race weeks. At Valencia, it was Jacques Villeneuve, Ant-Whorton Eales, Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, Ellen Lohr, Simone Laureti, and Rubén García Jr. that made their Elite 1 debut, while Eric Filgueiras and Luigi Ferrara made their Elite 1 debut at the second race week of the season in Franciacorta.
The Elite 1 class of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will hit the track for Round 5 and Round 6 of the 2019 season on 1 June and 2 June respectively. The green flag for this year’s edition of American SpeedFest will be waved at 1:28 PM local GMT on Saturday for Race 1, and at 1:23 PM local GMT on Sunday for Race 2.
All races for this season are going to be aired live on FansChoice.tv, Motorsport.tv, and the official Facebook page and YouTube channel of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
Unless noted, photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard.