NASCAR Whelen Euro Series’ 2019 champions Hendriks Motorsport and DF1 Racing visited Hockenheim on 15 July to do their first post-lockdown testing as they continued their preparation to defend their titles in 2020.

As NASCAR Whelen Euro Series teams and drivers continues their preparations for the upcoming 2020 season, defending Teams Champion Hendriks Motorsport and DF1 Racing conducted their first post-lockdown tests on 15 July as both teams logged their first laps of 2020 on a rainy day at Hockenheim.

For Hendriks, the Dutch team brought the No. 18 infitto.eu/Lucerne Wristwatches Ford Mustang and the 2019 Teams Champion No. 50 RZOIL Ford Mustang along with their drivers Giorgio Maggi, Vittorio Ghirelli, Loris Hezemans, and Tobias Dauenhauer to the test at Hockenheim.

Given that they haven’t had an opportunity to test their cars and get acquitted with their new teammates until recently due to the pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns, it is no surprise that everyone at Hendriks enjoyed the successful test they have at Hockenheim despite rain hampered their chances to test the 2020-spec General Tire slick tires.

“It was a really good test and it was great to see the whole crew back together and especially to meet my new teammate Tobias Dauenhauer,” said reigning series champion Hezemans to euronascar.com. “We worked a lot on him getting acquainted with the car and the team and I’m really happy with the progress we made. We ran smoothly all day.

“We wanted to test the new General Tire slick tires but the weather didn’t cooperate. We’ll have to do that later, but it was just great to be back in the car for the first time since the 2019 Zolder Finals and work all together as a team.”

“It was a great day. I couldn’t wait to be back in a real race car after the last few months. The whole team enjoyed it a lot, even if it was raining all the time. I have to get used to the car as quickly as possible and this was my first full test day. I missed that V8 sound and I can’t wait to be back in a EuroNASCAR car and I really hope we can bring home some good results like we did on iRacing,” said Dauenhauer after the test to euronascar.com.

“It felt amazing to be back in the car. I was so excited to finally get on track and to see the team and start working with them again,” said Maggi, who will be promoted to the PRO class in 2020 after a highly successful debut season in EN2 last year. “The V8 sound and the raw NASCAR feeling really put a huge smile on my face. It took me a few laps to get the feeling for the car back, but we managed to have some good runs and even do some setup work. I’m really looking forward to the season opener in Vallelunga.”

“It was a long, long nine-month wait but we’re finally back on track! Hendriks Motorsport’s results speak for themselves, they are very professional and I found myself immediately at ease with them. It was a very productive test. Despite the rain, we were quick and very consistent at Hockenheim and that gives me even more confidence for the upcoming season. I can’t wait for it to start,” said Ghirelli, who will be making a full-time switch to Hendriks this year.

As for DF1 Racing, the Austrian team brought the No. 22 Grapos Soft Drinks Chevrolet Camaro, the No. 66 Grapos Soft Drinks/Strojer Tegl Chevrolet Camaro, and the No. 99 veevii/American Fan Fest Chevrolet Camaro for their own private test, the first of a series of tests that the team is doing this month as they will visit Autodrom Most next week to test all four of their cars.

DF1’s No. 66 and No. 99 team’s drivers Lasse Sørensen, Andreas Jochimsen, Justin Kunz, and Marcel Lenerz took turns in driving the three DF1 cars at Hockenheim while Andre Castro, now the sole remaining driver of the No. 22 team after Ander Vilariño was forced to withdraw his entry due to the effects of the pandemic, was unable to take part in the test as all Americans are currently banned from visiting European Union countries due to their high COVID-19 rate.

“It’s good to be back in the car. It was a long time since last, so it was good to be back in the car. Everything was running well and the car was good, it was a good day!”, said reigning EN2 champion and DF1’s superstar driver Sørensen. “We are ready to test in Most. We need to find the next small adjustments in the car and I think we should be all good for the new season. The car is fast and doesn’t have any problems.”

“It was really nice to finally be in the car in real life after this long time. Although the EuroNASCAR Esports Series, which the EuroNASCAR came up with to keep us drivers in training, was a nice thing. But it couldn’t replace the real driving. So it’s just nice to be back on the track”, said Kunz, now returning to the PRO class in 2020.

“I hope that the season can take place as it is planned right now, despite all the news. I’m in a good mood and looking forward to the next test in Most where we will be able to show our speed. The cars are working quite good, something we can build on. I guess we are ready for the new season.”

“It felt very nice to finally get in touch with the car after a long wait. It was super nice to finally be in the car and it felt pretty familiar to what I’ve been driving in the past. I just need more laps from now on,” said Jochimsen, No. 66 team’s rookie driver. “It’s nice to be back, now it’s just about getting more laps and experience. Everybody in the team has been super nice to me and has given me a good welcome. I expect to keep even better friendships in the future.”

“I have a background in GT racing, so I have to get accustomed to the car first. We had some issues, but taking into account that it was the first roll-out, it was ok. I’m looking forward to the test in Most. There we’ll have real test conditions and we will see where we stand with the car”, said Marcel Lenerz, No. 99 team’s rookie driver in the EN2 class this year.

Both teams have now joined FEED Vict Racing and CAAL Racing as teams that have returned to the track as they, along with the rest of the grid, continues their preparation for the season opening round on 12-13 September with the American Festival of Rome at Vallelunga.

Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of Wolfgang Koepp, Nina Weinbrenner, and Mario Schlimper.

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