On 27 September, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series announced the launch of the 2020 Drivers Recruitment Program as the series confirms that they will continue their dedication to find and help the career of the best international talents.
The Drivers Recruitment Program is designed to not only give drivers an opportunity to test the EuroNASCAR cars, but it also offers the chosen talents with financial scholarship – ranging from the season entry fee to as much as the cost of running half a season – to help them have the funding needed to compete for a full season in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
The 2020 edition of the Drivers Recruitment Program is going to be third edition of the program and series organizer Team FJ has enhanced the program to allow the series to provide even more support to racing talents that wanted to build their career with NASCAR.
Just like the previous editions, there will be two Recruitment Test Days. The first Test Day is going to be held on 7-8 November, while the second Test Day is going to be held on 12-13 December. Something that will be changed for this year’s edition is the venue of the Test Days, as both Test Days are going to be held at the series’ official test track Fontenay Le Comte instead of being shared by Fontenay and Autodromo di Franciacorta like in the previous two editions.
For the drivers participating, the Test Days will be taking part in a “1-Day at Track Program” that allows the drivers to test the cars in two on-track sessions and earn the opportunity to meet and talk to the series technicians, coach and Euro Series veteran drivers, the media crew, and the series founder and CEO Jerome Galpin.
The chosen drivers will be offered with an opportunity to race in the 2020 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season via the Drivers Recruitment Program’s “scholarship” financial aid. Like in the previous editions, the scholarship will be attributed to 5 different driver categories:
- Top drivers with the ambition to make history and write their name in the NASCAR Hall of Fame
- Young talents that wants to build their career in NASCAR
- Female drivers that wants to compete for the title and Lady Trophy
- Gentleman drivers that wants to compete in a high-level series at an affordable cost, and
- Karting drivers without any previous car racing experience that is willing to enter the series’ own Drivers Development Program to improve their talents further
The 2020 Drivers Recruitment Program is going to offer 12 scholarships, the biggest yet in the Drivers Recruitment Program’s history. The 2020 edition is also going to offer the biggest scholarship financial aid yet, as the scholarship offers financial aid from €7,500 ($8,205) – the cost of the season entry fee – to as much as €45,000 ($49,234) – the cost that represents 50% of the approximate full season budget of €90,000 ($98,469).
The requirement to apply for the 2020 Drivers Recruitment Program is unchanged from the previous two editions, meaning that applying drivers have to meet the following requirements:
- Present a good racing experience in car or go-kart racing
- Eligible for a FIA International License
- Able to gather at least 50% of the full-season budget
- Have never participated in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series before
- Pay the participation fee of €900 ($985)
The Special Beginners Program, first introduced in the 2019 edition for drivers that are willing to enter the regularity-based Elite Club class, is also going to return and will provide scholarships from €2,000 ($2,188) to €4,000 ($4,376). Drivers wishing to take part in the Special Beginners Program must meet the following requirements:
- Open to everyone that wants to discover NASCAR racing without the pressure of having to race with other drivers on-track, regardless if the driver has any previous racing experience or not
- Eligible for any racing license
- Able to gather a minimum budget of €10,000 ($10,941)
The Driver Recruitment Program has proved itself to be a resounding success. Current championship leaders Loris Hezemans and Giorgio Maggi, who are chosen as the graduates of the 2018 and 2019 Program respectively, are all graduates of the Drivers Recruitment Program.
2018 graduate Nicholas Risitano has also scored a victory in the series while Francesco Sini and Andre Castro have scored podium finishes in the series. Other graduates such as Alex Sedgwick, Alexander Graff, Pierluigi Veronesi, Thomas Krasonis, Ben Creanor, and Naveh Talor have proved that they can compete against some of the series’ best drivers.
The Drivers Recruitment Program has also seen several high-profile drivers taking part in the previous editions. Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat and ex-MotoGP race winner and 2002 250cc World Champion Marco Melandri took part in the 2018 edition, while 1997 Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve took part in the 2019 Test Day at Franciacorta before he announced that he will compete full-time for the 2019 season just days after his test.
The tests done by Alexander Graff, Francesco Sini, and the Bleekemolen family of Sebastiaan and Michael also proved to be the key decision that would saw Memphis Racing, Solaris Motorsport, and Team Bleekemolen enter the series as full-time entrants.
Visit https://www.euronascar.com/recruitment/ for more information on the 2020 Drivers Recruitment Program.
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.