After his surprise entry to the EuroNASCAR Esports Series’ Prologue event at the virtual Daytona Road Course last month, it was announced yesterday that Red Bull Tech 3 KTM MotoGP rider Iker Lecuona will be participating in the remaining six rounds of the Esports Series, once again racing for Team Fordzilla in conjunction with Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
One of the 48 drivers to compete in the Prologue, Lecuona finished 10th in his Heat Race to automatically advance to the Main Event in the No. 727 Team Fordzilla Ford Mustang wildcard entry. After an early incident forced him to have an lengthy stay in the pits for repairs, he eventually finished the Main Event in 28th place, one lap down from the leaders.
Unsurprisingly given his motorcycle racing background, he found the experience of driving NASCAR Cup cars to be very challenging at first.
“I never drove a race car in real life, so Daytona was my very first experience in car racing. I liked it very much!” said Lecuona, who will race the No. 427 Team Fordzilla Ford Mustang for his full-time entry. “This car is quite difficult to handle and at the beginning I made way too many mistakes, I didn’t even think I could finish the race, but in the end I had a lot of fun so it’s great to be back!”
“The event format is quite different compared to what I’m used to, but it’s very funny and challenging. I made it to the final race of the evening despite some mistakes, so I am training hard to be better already at Watkins Glen! I’m getting more and more confident with the car and I’m looking forward to the rest of the virtual season. I want to thank EuroNASCAR, the Circuit Ricardo Tormo and Fordzilla for this very nice opportunity.”
Just like his wildcard entry at the Prologue, his full-time ride for the EuroNASCAR Esports Series will be backed by Circuit Ricardo Tormo, his home track in the MotoGP calendar and also the track where he both scored his first World Championship podium and his first start in the MotoGP class.
“I love the Circuit Ricardo Tormo. I have a special feeling with the track because it is my home track, but also because I got my first Moto2 podium there in 2018, so when my friend (Circuit Ricardo Tormo’s press officer) Pablo Pernia told me about this opportunity, I jumped on it.”
Just like nearly everyone in the racing community, Lecuona is patiently waiting for the real races to be started again after the coronavirus pandemic brought the entire motorsport scene into a halt. Lecuona also expresses his interest to visiting the Valencia NASCAR Fest – Circuit Ricardo Tormo’s annual Euro Series event – at some point, citing that he has been unable to visit the races before due to being busy with racing in MotoGP.
“I can’t wait to go back to the track, of course. My first season in MotoGP will be very special. I’m one of the only 22 riders who can compete in the championship and obviously I am looking forward to being back with my team and at the track.”
“For now we have to wait, be responsible and enjoy some virtual racing. When the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series goes to Valencia I’m always somewhere else racing, but I like these cars and I hope to be able to visit the Valencia NASCAR Fest soon.”
Disclaimer: All photos used in this article are courtesy of the respective sources.