As reported by Vincent Bruins yesterday at Dutch NASCAR Fans (DNF), defending NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Teams Champion Hendriks Motorsport is ready to enter five cars to the series’ new EuroNASCAR Esports Series virtual championship, which was scheduled to start on 21 April with the season-opening exhibition race at iRacing’s virtual road course layout of the Daytona International Speedway.
After both the Valencia NASCAR Fest and American Speedfest was postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Team FJ NASCAR Whelen Euro Series announces the formation of the EuroNASCAR Esports Series that will be held on every Tuesday night for the next 8 weeks. The Esports Series, which controversially includes the rule where teams are capable of scoring points for the real-life Teams Championship, will be held on iRacing and featured tracks such as Brands Hatch, Zolder, Watkins Glen, and the Charlotte Roval.
“Usually we would now be busy preparing the cars for the opening weekend in Valencia”, says team manager Roy Hendriks to DNF. “Unfortunately, the season has been postponed until further notice and we are now busy arranging everything for the new Esports Series. The team takes this championship seriously as well, which is evident from the number of drivers who will participate in the EuroNASCAR Esports Series. If we compete in something, we also want to win.”
As previously mentioned, Hendriks will field five cars in the Esports Series and with the exception of Martin Doubek, all of the Hendriks’ actual drivers will be competing in the series. Loris Hezemans and Giorgio Maggi will be driving their usual No. 50 and No. 18 Fords respectively, while Doubek’s crew chief Jeffrey Roeffen will be replacing Doubek in the Hendriks No. 7 Ford entry.
“Obviously we all would rather see motorsport return to the track as soon as possible”, said defending series champion Loris Hezemans to DNF. “But in these difficult times, we will make sure to still create excitement with the EuroNASCAR Esports Series. This new championship will undoubtedly bring excitement and close door-to-door racing to the fans!”
I think the ESeries is a fantastic idea”, said Jeffrey Roeffen to DNF. “The great thing about the ESeries is that we drive with a fixed setup, which means all drivers race with the same setup, so it really comes down to the driver. It’s also a great opportunity for me personally to show everyone what I can do behind the wheel. It might be virtual, but it’s still racing.”
As for Tobias Dauenhauer and Vittorio Ghirelli, Hendriks made the decision to add the number 1 in front of car numbers, meaning that Dauenhauer and Ghirelli will be driving cars No. 150 and No. 118 respectively for the Esports Series.
I think it’s great that the EuroNASCAR Esports Series has been established and I’m looking forward to the upcoming sim races”, said Dauenhauer to DNF. “Of course I would rather drive laps in a real NASCAR car on a race track, but unfortunately that is not possible given the current situation. Therefore, the Esports Series is ideal to offer drivers, and especially sponsors and fans as well, motorsport. I look forward to this new challenge in the coming weeks, but I’m all the more looking forward to going back into a race car in the real world!”
All five of Hendriks’ entry will be retaining the same sponsors and livery as their real-life counterparts with one sole exception for Hezemans’ No. 50 and Dauenhauer’s No. 150 entries, as both drivers will be sporting a different primary sponsor for the Esports Series. Hezemans will be having Rhode Island-based R1 Indoor Karting and his family’s Hezemans Indoor Karting (www.hezemans.nl) as his primary sponsors, while RZOIL will be sponsoring Dauenhauer in the No. 150 Ford entry.
The EuroNASCAR Esports Series will kick off next Tuesday night with an exhibition race at iRacing’s Daytona Road Course before starting its “regular” season at iRacing’s Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on 28 April. Just like with the real-life events, the virtual races will be streamed live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel.
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of Dutch NASCAR Fans / iRacing.