Speculation of Thomas Ferrando competing this year arose after his name is spotted in the No. 88 CAAL Racing Chevrolet during CAAL’s most recent pre-season testing. Max Lanza confirms that Thomas Ferrando, who won his first PRO class race with CAAL Racing last year, is going to be racing in place of Gianni Morbidelli for 2020.
Days before CAAL Racing’s most recent pre-season test at Vallelunga at the end of last month, CAAL Racing showcased their new livery design in physical form for the first time as ABBA Car Wrapping came to CAAL’s headquarters in Todi to apply the livery wrap for three of CAAL’s 2020 cars. Photos of the wrapping process reveals that CAAL Racing will be undergoing a driver change for one of their cars in 2020.
The change itself was first made known on August 22 after Max Lanza, CAAL Racing’s EuroNASCAR 2 class driver for the No. 88 car, posted several photos of the No. 88 Wakala/KO2 Chevrolet SS being wrapped on social media.
The photos showed that Thomas Ferrando’s name is listed as Lanza’s PRO class teammate in the No. 88 instead of Gianni Morbidelli, leading to speculation that Ferrando is going to be racing in Morbidelli’s place for this year.
The driver change speculation was further reinforced by Mauro Trione, who posted photos of the livery wrap of his No. 31 Chevrolet on social media the following day. One of the photos shared by Trione (shown above) showcased the list of cars and drivers that CAAL will be fielding in the 2020 season and in the No. 88 car section, Thomas Ferrando’s name is listed instead of Morbidelli.
With evidence strongly suggests the speculation’s truth, we asked Max Lanza to ask about the No. 88 PRO class driver change and he confirmed to us that Ferrando is indeed going to be racing the No. 88 car for this year.
“Yes, I confirm that [Ferrando is going to replace Morbidelli this year],” said Lanza. “I’m very sad that Gianni Morbidelli will not participate in the championship this year, but I am happy that in his place there will be Thomas, a very fast driver and a wonderful person, with whom I immediately got on very well.”
“From the first test we had an excellent feeling, and we immediately agreed on the sensations on board the car … this is fundamental when sharing the same car! I’m sure we’ll be great teammates.”
The change confirms the return of Thomas Ferrando, one of the series’ most veteran drivers despite being only 23 years old (Ferrando celebrated his 23rd birthday at the writing of this article). Ferrando made his series debut in 2014 at the age of 16 in the Elite 2 class and instantly made a huge impression, securing 2 victories and 5 podiums on his way to finish 3rd in the final standings.
Two more 3rd place finishes in the championship standings would follow before Ferrando won the 2017 Elite 2 championship title in a dominating fashion, scoring 7 race wins and 10 podiums on his way to the title.
In 2016, Ferrando began competing in the Elite 1 class and while he showed initial promise with two podium finishes in his debut season in Euro Series’ top class, he only finished inside the Top 5 three times for the next two seasons.
His 2019 season looked to be a struggle initially with only a single Top 10 finish in the first six races, but the No. 27 team’s mid-season ownership change gave Ferrando the boost of performance he needed. He scored a podium on his first race with CAAL on the first race at Most and would secure another podium finish at Hockenheim Race 1 before he secured his first win in the top class at Zolder, leading flag-to-flag despite intense challenge from home crowd favorites Marc Goossens and Stienes Longin.
With nearly 100 races in his belt and a record 12 wins in what is now the EuroNASCAR 2 class, Ferrando is looking to improve the results that he achieved in 2019 on his first full-season campaign with the Todi-based team.
The social media posts also revealed that the No. 31 team will be receiving a new primary sponsor in the form of Italian technology and cyber security firm NSR – who will become the title sponsor for the upcoming season opening round at Vallelunga along with Delphix – and it is also confirmed that Giovanni Trione will be racing with a Swiss license instead of an Italian one, just like his father.
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Max Lanza / Mauro Trione.