Before we start this article, World of EuroNASCAR would like to wish our readers Happy Holidays for this year’s Christmas and New Years eve. We’re proud of the progress that we have reached this year and we’ll be continuing our commitment to report and bring you the latest updates on the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, Europe’s premier stock car racing series for years to come.
As we’re entering the holidays for Christmas and New Year’s eve, news came out from German-based website Leadlap on the last few days that several drivers who participated in the 2020 Drivers Recruitment Program have expressed interest to compete in the 2020 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season.
German driver Alex Lambertz was reported to have expressed his interest to compete in the series on 23 December, while earlier today reports surfaced that Late Model V8 Oval Series drivers Gordon Barnes and Yevgen Sokolovskiy have also expressed interest in competing in the series next season.
Alex Lambertz, a proven young talent who scored race wins in the GT4 European Series this year and had finished 7th in the overall 2019 standings despite missing half of the season, took part in the December 12 Test Day session that also featured NASCAR Pinty’s star Julia Landauer.
Speaking to Leadlap after his participation in the Drivers Recruitment Program, Lambertz said that the car was nice to drive and he liked the fact that the EuroNASCAR stock car’s lack of driving aids will emphasize the driver’s skills as an important factor to achieve success in the series.
“The test in France was positive,” said Lambertz to Leadlap. “It was nice to drive those cars, but it’s nothing compared to a GT4 car because of the missing aero and other things. I had to adapt to them in the beginning. It reminded me of our old BMW that we built up by ourselves.”
“If the offer is good enough, I’m interested in starting in the series. I was positively surprised by the people that are working there. Everybody was friendly and the communication with the engineers worked pretty well. There are no driving aids and you have to work hard in those cars. I really like that and it puts the driver’s skills in the spotlight,” further adds the 22-year old German in his interview to Leadlap.
Yevgen Sokolovskiy and Gordon Barnes took part in the December 13 Test Day session, which was initially scheduled to be the final Test Day session for this year’s Drivers Recruitment Program before the series announced that they will expand the Program with an addition of a new Test Day session on 27 February 2020 due to the high demand from drivers that wants to test out the EuroNASCAR cars.
Sokolovskiy, the owner of former World Supersport team Vector Racing Team, made his debut in Raceway Venray’s Late Model V8 Oval Series this year. As for Barnes, he is a veteran in the European late model racing scene and last competed in the LMV8 series driving the No. 24 Chevrolet SS entry fielded by the defending NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Team’s Champion Hendriks Motorsport several years ago.
Both drivers expressed interest to compete in NWES next season, with Sokolovskiy hoping that he can do double duty in both NWES and LMV8 next year whilst Barnes plans to compete in the regularity-based Club Challenge plans due to a lack of international racing license.
“The car felt very good and I felt comfortable right from the beginning,” said Sokolovskiy to Leadlap. “Even in wet conditions it was nice to drive this powerful EuroNASCAR car. I’m considering driving both, the NWES and V8 Oval Series, but I have to sort some things out before I make a decision. I hope that I will be able to sign a contract in the beginning of the new year,” further adds the 41-year old Russian.
“I was surprised by the amount of grip the car has,” said Barnes to Leadlap. “In a Late Model you just let the car roll while the EuroNASCAR cars are way more responsible. When you turn the wheel, the front grips immediately. It was a lot of fun to step on the throttle and hear the V8 sound of the car. I thank Jerome Galpin [NWES founder, President, and CEO] and the whole organization for this opportunity.”
“I have to find the budget and get my international license. I always wanted to give those cars a try. It was an enjoyable day with some surprises and some similarities to the Late Model car. In the end the EuroNASCAR car is a proper European road course machine,” adds the Briton in his interview to Leadlap.
The 2020 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season will start on 25-26 April with the Valencia NASCAR Fest at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Spain and is scheduled to end with the first ever EuroNASCAR Finals at Hockenheimring, which is scheduled to be held on 17-18 October.
Disclaimer: All photos are courtesy of their respective sources.