Two separate announcements from NASCAR Whelen Euro Series yesterday has revealed that 2020 NWES Drivers Recruitment Program participants Yevgen Sokolovskiy and Francesco Garisto has secured themselves a seat to compete in the 2020 season.
Sokolovskiy, the former motorcycle racing team owner-turned-oval racer from Ukraine, will be making his full-time debut with Marko Stipp Motorsport in the EuroNASCAR PRO class while Garisto, the standout driver from Lotus Cup Italia, will be racing for the 42 Racing team in the EuroNASCAR 2 class.
Born in the former Soviet Union, Sokolovskiy’s motorsport career started in motorcycle racing when he competed in Russia and Ukraine’s Supersport 600 championship, riding for his own team Vector Racing Team. Competing mostly in the regional Supersport championships, Vector briefly made the jump to the Supersport World Championship in the late 2000s with Vladimir Ivanov, where they achieved little success in the World Championship scene.
Vector also competed in the inaugural Moto2 season in 2010 as one of the sponsors for the Kiefer Racing team. Partnering future Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl in the Viessmann Kiefer squad, the Vector Kiefer team scored several points with Michael Ranseder riding Vector Kiefer’s Suter MMX, with riders such as Vladimir Leonov and Mattia Pasini also rode for Vector Kiefer in the 2010 Moto2 season.
After his motorcycle racing career ended, Sokolovskiy made the switch to oval racing in 2018 when he began to compete in Raceway Venray’s LMV8 Series. A full-time campaign in LMV8 and participation in the Drivers Recruitment Program would follow in 2019 before he signed a full-time contract with Marko Stipp Motorsport to compete in the 2020 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season.
“I’m entering the new season with a very good feeling,” said Sokolovskiy to euronascar.com. “Of course it is my first year in a new series. Nevertheless, I think that I can already score good results this season. But at the same time, I see it as a kind of preparation for my second season in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. I think the fact that I know some of the tracks from my time in motorbike racing will be an advantage for me.”
“I think it’s a very interesting series, with drivers on a very high level. I also have a decisive advantage. I drove at Raceway Venray in a Late Model in 2018 and 2019, I understand cars with these concepts very well and think that I can transfer this knowledge to EuroNASCAR.”
Marko Stipp, owner of MSM, is looking forward to see Sokolovskiy competing full-time with his team in 2020.
“With Yevgen we have found an experienced, performance-oriented and reliable driver for the 2020 NWES season. He has everything it takes to be successful in the series. He will certainly stir up the field in the Challenger Trophy and we hope that he will be on the podium a lot of times. The first year is of course a learning year, but due to his experience the learning curve will be steep, I’m sure. I am looking forward to welcoming Yevgen to our team,” said Stipp to euronascar.com.
As for Garisto, the switch to NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will follow upon the announcement he made on his Instagram on 10 March, when he officially announced his plans to compete with 42 Racing in 2020. Garisto enjoyed a successful Lotus Cup Italia season in 2019 where he scored one victory and 6 podium finishes on his way to finish 3rd in the championship.
Switching from little Lotuses to big NASCAR stock cars will not be an easy jump for him, but he’s excited for the prospect of competing in the 2020 season.
“It’s a great honour for me to be announced as official driver of the 42 Racing team and to be driving in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series for the upcoming season”, said Garisto to euronascar.com. “I want to thank NWES President – CEO Jerome Galpin and the EuroNASCAR organization for selecting me for the NWES Drivers Recruitment Program. After the tests I made in Fontenay Le Comte in November, the series gave me the possibility to receive an important scholarship.”
“For me it’s a dream come true and I’ll give my best and work hard in order to fight for top results. I’m really pumped up, motivated and looking forward to racing all around Europe in those amazing and pure American V8 beasts.”
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.