The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series continues to attract the attention of racing fans around the world, and this year is going to be no exception following the announcement that Jacques Villeneuve’s junior formula academy team FEED Racing and ex-K&N West star Julia Landauer will be competing in the series this year.
Outside of the roster changes that have already been confirmed or announced by the respective parties involved, there is still a lot of talking on possible driver moves, potential new teams entering the series, and expansion of existing teams in the first season of the new decade. And such, we have rounded up some of the rumors and news in the off-season to cover up in this special Silly Season article.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article can be deemed as speculative and unless there are official words that has been confirmed by the respective parties after we approached them, it has not been officially announced or confirmed by either the driver or the teams involved.
Alex Bacci Moves Up to EuroNASCAR 2 with Alex Caffi Motorsport
Back on 26 November 2019, approximately two weeks after Alex Caffi Motorsport announced that they will form a partnership with former Euro Series team Race Art Technology for the 2020 season, Italian driver and 2018 NasKart graduate Alessio “Alex” Bacci made a post on Instagram that featured the following statement (translated from Italian):
“2020! He started a new adventure… dreams are sometimes contagious (citation Enzo Ferrari). Guys, remember if you can dream it, you can do it… Thank you to all that have permitted me to make this dream!”
Interestingly, said post features Alex Caffi Motorsport’s No. 2 Toyota that is used in the team’s announcement of their partnership with Race Art Technology. Later, on the 12th of December, Bacci made another post on Instagram that says:
“Tomorrow we start with the first appointment for 2020 with the tests at the circuit of Nantes in France, ready for 2020. Thank you again all those who helped to make this dream come true!”
As shown above, this Instragram post also featured an image that says “NASCAR Whelen Euro Series – Elite 2 – Alessio Bacci – Stagione 2020”.
These two Instagram posts seem to indicate that Bacci, who competed in the Elite Club class with Racers Motorsport last year, has decided to move up to the EuroNASCAR 2 class to compete full-time with Alex Caffi Motorsport for this year.
While we have approached Bacci regarding the Instagram posts that he had posted so far, we have received no response from the Italian as of the writing of this article. Despite this, it is safe to assume that Bacci, who finished 4th in last year’s Elite Club championship, will be taking the opportunity to join fellow NasKart graduates Alessandro Brigatti and Moreno di Silvestre to compete in NASCAR Whelen Euro Series’ junior division.
Davide Dallara and Not Only Motorsport to Announce Their EuroNASCAR Entry Soon
After his participation in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Drivers Recruitment Program at Fontenay on December, it is safe to say that Italian G1 Series driver Davide Dallara became impressed with the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. It wasn’t just him that became impressed with the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series though as Dallara’s G1 Series team Not Only Motorsport has also taken an interest to the series, as shown by several social media posts made by both Dallara and Not Only Motorsport.
If Dallara and Not Only Motorsport’s social media feeds were an indication, it is highly expected that both Davide Dallara and Not Only Motorsport will be making a move to enter European’s premier stock car racing series in 2020, potentially making Not Only Motorsport the second new team to confirm its participation in NWES following the confirmation of FEED Racing’s addition to the EuroNASCAR grid this year.
The rumors of Dallara and Not Only Motorsport’s possible interest in joining the series started when a week before Dallara’s participation in the Drivers Recruitment Program, Not Only Motorsport posted a render of a 2015-2016 NASCAR Cup-spec Toyota Camry on its social media feeds. As shown in the picture above, the Camry render that they posted featured Not Only Motorsport’s logo, Davide Dallara’s name, and No. 8 on the side of it.
To add fuel to the rumors of Dallara and Not Only Motorsport joining EuroNASCAR in 2020, on the 30th of December, Not Only Motorsport made a post regarding Dallara’s participation in a virtual race with team partner TC Simulation Center Milano on Facebook. The post notably featured an image of a Euro Series race at Tours in 2016 and is accompanied with the following statement:
“The adventure of @davidedallara8 in the @euronascar starts with a virtual race in the center of our partner @tc_simulationcenter_milano.”
After we approached Davide Dallara and Not Only Motorsport to ask on the truth of the rumors, Dallara replied to us and states that it is indeed true that both him and Not Only Motorsport are planning to enter NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in 2020. Here’s what Dallara said to us in our email conversation with the Italian:
“The rumors are true, we want to join the EuroNASCAR this year, and we are working to make it. I’m really optimistic about it, I think that for the half of February we should confirm our participation. Obviously, until the budget is not 100% sure, I can’t give you a certain answer.”
With Dallara confirming that he and Not Only Motorsport is chasing the EuroNASCAR dream, all we can do now is to wait until the team officially announces their entry to the sport at some point later in the year.
Braxx Racing Confirms Their Stay in EuroNASCAR
Despite the possibility of Braxx Racing leaving the series altogether after the team sold the two EuroNASCAR cars that they were using last season, the team has confirmed on Christmas Day of 2019 that they will be staying in NASCAR Whelen Euro Series for the 2020 season.
And it wasn’t just that. Braxx Racing also confirmed that they will be competing in three other series as well this year – Belcar, Late Model V8 Oval Series, and Formula BRL.
“With 2019 coming to an end and 2020 just around the corner, we are happy to announce that Braxx Racing will be active in no less than 4 championships next season! Belcar, NWES, V8 Ovalseries and Formula BRL,” said the team in a Facebook post made on Christmas Day.
This news was further confirmed when on the 7th of January, team engineer Rudi Steylaerts went to Team FJ’s headquarters in France to pick up a brand new chassis that Braxx Racing will be using for the 2020 season.
As of right now, the team has no further words on their plans for the 2020 season, as confirmed by team owner Jerry de Weerdt who said “At this time we can’t say anything out plans this season. We are still working on getting the program ready, as soon as everything is ready we will communicate about it.” after we approached him regarding Braxx’s plans for the 2020 season.
Despite this, it is expected that the team’s veteran driver Marc Goossens and Alex Sedgwick to be in the running for a seat in the EuroNASCAR PRO class, while Jerry de Weerdt and Sven van Laere expected to be in the running for a seat in the EuroNASCAR 2 class for this year’s campaign.
DF1 Racing to Expand This Year?
On the 10th of January, DF1 Racing’s Facebook page changed their header image into the image featured above. The new header image features four of the team’s “Tigers” logo, with each of the Tiger representing a different color: Green, yellow, red, and blue. The header change is also accompanied with this statement:
“4 Tigers? Be prepared… No words to say now.”
Five days later, on the 15th of January, DF1 Racing posted an image of the chassis that will be used by the No. 99 team this year. Continuing with the team’s tradition of having a colorful chassis, the No. 99 team’s chassis this year will be colored blue. Curiously, blue is one of the colors featured in the four Tigers header image that DF1 currently uses.
Based on the four Tigers header image and the fact that the No. 99 team will be having a blue-colored chassis, it is possible that the Austrian team will be expanding their efforts in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series this year – potentially going from a two-car operation into a four-car operation, doubling the team’s efforts last year.
The idea of a possible expansion by DF1 has some support behind it. Back when Ioannis Smyrlis was announced to be competing in the No. 22 team that was ran as a joint effort between DF1 and Marko Stipp Motorsport at Hockenheim last year, Norbert Walchhofer – DF1’s Head of Motorsport – noted that the team’s decision to form a partnership with MSM was due to the team’s inability to field an extra car following the heavy start-line crash during the second Elite 1 race at Valencia involving one of their drivers Ellen Lohr.
The crash, which saw Lohr and Mauro Trione crashing heavily with the inside wall at high speed, destroyed the yellow No. 99 chassis that was involved in the incident and forced the No. 99 team to use a backup chassis for the remainder of the 2019 season.
Walchhofer also noted on his statement regarding the joint effort between DF1 and MSM that he also has several other drivers that were under contract with the team and he wants to offer them a chance to compete in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
“Since the big crash at Valencia, we have a destroyed car in our shop.” said Walchhofer back then. “We will rebuild this car during winter. We have several drivers under contract and we want to offer them a competitive car.”
Speaking of the No. 22 team, it was confirmed on 16 January that DF1 Racing’s new acquisition Ander Vilariño will be competing with the No. 22 team this year. The team itself will be solely ran by DF1 Racing, making it increasingly likely that DF1 Racing is indeed going to be expanding this year.
Red and blue were also colors that the team have already used in the past. Red was initially used as the team’s primary color for their cars and logo before the team recolored it to green following the addition of Dexwet as a title sponsor in 2018, while blue was the color that were used by the No. 99 team in 2017.
With the acquisition of three-time champion Ander Vilariño to the team, the previous confirmation that Justin Kunz and Alain Mosqueron will be staying with the team, as well as drivers such as Smyrlis, Lasse Sørensen, Guillaume Deflandre, and Ellen Lohr still in the running for a seat with DF1, expect 2020 to be DF1 Racing’s most ambitious year yet.
Disclaimer: All images used in this article are courtesy of the respective sources.