Earlier today, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series announced that 2017 Renault Clio Cup Benelux champion and veteran GT racer Sven van Laere is set to make his NASCAR Whelen Euro Series debut for Braxx Racing in the 2019 season finale round at Circuit Zolder this weekend.
Van Laere is scheduled to accompany Marc Goossens as the Elite 2 driver of Braxx’s No. 78 Ford Mustang for his debut weekend, and the No. 78 team will be bringing new sponsorship from automotive wholesale solutions specialist Anecars.
Coincidentally, the news of van Laere’s incoming Euro Series debut was announced just one day before his 46th birthday tomorrow.
“I have been following the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series since 2013, when the series was racing in Dijon and I was there with another championship. Since then, I always followed it and looked for an opportunity to try it out, but it just never happened. Now the opportunity came and I couldn’t miss it. It’s a sort of long-lasting love relationship,” said van Laere to euronascar.com.
“Marc (Goossens) is a good friend of mine on the track and outside, we know each other since 22 year. He’s a great professional and has a lot of experience in NASCAR. Braxx also has great knowledge of the series and the car, so this is definitely the ideal moment to jump in the car and I am really looking forward to race with them this weekend.”
Sven van Laere (born in Gent on 1 October 1973) have been active in racing since 1997 and has achieved numerous accolades. He achieved his best racing accomplishment in 2017, where he was crowned as the final Renault Clio Cup Benelux champion. He also previously finished 3rd in the Club class of the 2013 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Benelux and finished 3rd in the Belcar Endurance Championship last season.
According to his driver profile in GT4 European Series’ website, he also has scored multiple class victories in the 24 Hours of Zolder, multiple Tourisme class victories in the Belgian Racing Car Championship, and has taken part in the Spa 24 Hours twice.
Van Laere has also previously raced together with PK Carsport’s Stienes Longin in the 2016 24 Hours of Zolder alongside fellow Belgian Thomas Piessens and Qatari driver Amro al Hamad. Driving a Wolf GB08 for Bas Koeten Racing, van Laere’s team finished 17th overall and 3rd in their class after completing 658 laps.
Van Laere will be driving the EuroNASCAR car for the first time on the Friday Practice sessions and is hoping that he can work on a deal to compete in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series for the 2020 season.
“I will drive the NWES car for the first time in practice and I’m really curious about it because in the past few years I only drove cars with electronic aids,” said van Laere on his expectations for the weekend. “In the past I used to drive in Formula Ford so I think I know what to expect, but it will be a big challenge. The level of the competition (here) is so high. I know Zolder very, very well and it makes this the ideal occasion to have my first go at EuroNASCAR also for next year because I’m looking at the possibility to do the full championship in 2020.”
“Racing for me is a hobby and I want to live a nice weekend when I’m racing. I have two sons which are 7 and 10 years old and they know the NASCAR events from the past years at Zolder and they can’t wait to be there. When you can combine what you love most in life – your family and racing cars – it’s just perfect and you can’t miss the opportunity.”
In related news, Alex Sedgwick has also confirmed in his official website that he will be returning to the No. 90 Braxx Camaro in the Elite 1 class after a three-round absence for the young Briton. This would mean that Braxx Racing will be returning to field two cars for Zolder after the team only fielded the No. 90 Camaro for Scott Jeffs and Callum Cripps at Hockenheim.
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will be returning this weekend for the season finale round of the 2019 season, the American Festival NASCAR Finals at Circuit Zolder. All qualifying and race sessions will be streamed live on Fanschoice.tv, Motorsport.tv, and the official Facebook page and YouTube channel of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard.