NASCAR GP of Italy will be having a new home for the 2020 season as NASCAR Whelen Euro Series announced yesterday that ACI Vallelunga Circuit will be hosting a NWES race for the first time in 12-13 September 2020 as part of the 2020 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Playoffs.
Located just 20 miles north of the Italian capital city of Rome, Vallelunga will be replacing Autodromo di Franciacorta’s position in the schedule and is scheduled to become the fifth Italian circuit and 17th track overall to host a NASCAR Whelen Euro Series race.
“We are very happy to bring the NASCAR show to the Roman fans and I’m sure this event will become one of the highlights of the championship, especially with a double-points Playoffs race!” said NASCAR Whelen Euro Series founder, CEO, and President Jerome Galpin. “The track layout is amazing to provide a great racing experience to both fans and drivers and the facilities are at really high standards! NASCAR has found a perfect new home is Italy!”
ACI Vallelunga Circuit, or the Autodromo Vallelunga Piero Taruffi by its full name, was first inaugurated ias a sandy 1.8 km oval that was originally intended for horse racing activities. The first motor racing activities at Vallelunga took place in late November 1951, first by motorcycle racing before car racing visited the track shortly after.
The sandy oval continued to host races until 1957, when Vallelunga was turned into a purpose-built motor racing venue after Italian racing legend Piero Taruffi – 1932 500cc Motorcycle European Champion, one-time Formula One Grand Prix winner, the winner of the last ever Mille Miglia, and the namesake of the circuit – initiated the project to pave the track with asphalt.
The project, which was funded by both the Automobile Club of Rome and the Italian Motorcycle Federation, was completed in the summer of 1957 and the first official race held at the “new” Vallelunga took place on 1 December 1957. The track was expanded in 1963 when Vallelunga’s 3.226 km layout was first inaugurated and the track hosted its only Formula One race, the non-championship Rome Grand Prix, on the same year.
Vallelunga became a property of the ACI in 1967 and was expanded again in 2004 to extend the Itrack to its current length of 4.085 km. The extension has allowed the track to receive homologation by FIA that allows Formula One teams to use the track as a test circuit. The circuit currently host races for the local Italian racing championships, the upcoming inaugural edition of the FIA Motorsport Games, and serves as the home for Kunos Simulazioni, the developer of Assetto Corsa and Assetto Corsa Competizione.
“We are really happy and honoured that Vallelunga is entering the “NASCAR world” with the first edition of a new event,” said ACI Vallelunga Circuit President Carlo Alessi. “We want it to be a true festival celebrating North American culture and US motorsports, full of passion, music and unique colors. We are sure fans from Rome and all around Italy will answer with great enthusiasm and we will be ready to welcome them.”
Vallelunga is the fourth track to have confirmed its spot in the 2020 calendar after Valencia, Most, and Venray previously announced their contract extensions with the series, although Vallelunga becomes the first to reveal its date. The full 2020 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series schedule is expected to be released in the next few weeks.
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard.