Valencia Super Speedweek’s Preliminary Entry List reveals that three-time series champion Ander Vilariño will return for NASCAR Euro’s season-ending doubleheaders as the Spaniard headlines the considerable amount of changes to the field, such as Not Only Motorsport’s second entry and the return of Zihara Esteban and Kenko Miura.
This weekend’s Valencia Super Speedweek doubleheaders at Valencia will officially close the action for the 2020 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season as the Preliminary Entry List reveals the teams and drivers that are scheduled to take part in both NASCAR GP de la Comunitat Valenciana and EuroNASCAR Finals Spain.
While there are 23 teams and 43 drivers that are scheduled to race at Valencia across all three classes, only 21 teams and 40 drivers would be able to take part as Shadow Racing Cars by 42 Racing has been forced to withdraw once again due to yet another positive COVID-19 test for its team members, as revealed by Francesco Garisto yesterday.
“Once again, my team Shadow Racing Cars by 42 Racing is unable to race in Valencia this week due to new mechanics being found positive to COVID,” said Garisto, who once again will race for Marko Stipp Motorsport at Valencia.
Garisto will be joined by Ander Vilariño in the No. 48 MSM car for the Valencia doubleheaders. Vilariño, the three-time series champion whose record for the most wins was tied by Alon Day at Rijeka, will be making his return at his home GP’s after he was forced to withdraw from the season’s full-time entry list early in the season.
Vilariño withdrew from the season’s full-time entry list in June, stating the need to minimize the risk of him and his family getting infected by the virus as the reason of his withdrawal. However, he didn’t rule out the possibility to compete at Valencia as he states that he will be competing in Valencia “if the opportunity arises”, and the opportunity to compete has certainly come for the Spaniard to make his return since last year’s finale at Zolder.
Vilariño’s return to the MSM-DF1 joint entry meant that Evgeny Sokolovsky will be transferred to the No. 46 team for Valencia. Sokolovsky initially was planned to compete full-time with the No. 46 team, but Gašper Dernovšek’s crash at Vallelunga necessitated Sokolovsky’s transfer to the No. 48 team for the first three rounds of 2020.
Another Spanish driver that would make their return to the series is Zihara Esteban. Esteban, who made history as the youngest female driver in the series on her debut in 2012, will make her return to Europe’s premier stock car racing series after seven years as she’s scheduled to replace Andre Castro in the No. 22 Grapos DF1 Racing team for Valencia.
Esteban’s return to compete in DF1’s No. 22 team would also see her reunited with her former teammate Nicolò Rocca. Both drivers were teammates at Scorpus Racing in 2013, with a young Rocca competing in the then-Elite class in the No. 9 car while Esteban competed in the then-Open class for Scorpus’ No. 19 team.
Castro, along with Andreas Jochimsen, once again were unable to take part in the Valencia doubleheaders due to travel restrictions, meaning that their 2020 season campaign would end at the second round at Zolder.
Another driver whose 2020 campaign is now confirmed to be over at Zolder is Jacques Villeneuve. JV, who missed the previous round at Rijeka due a clash with Canal+ F1’s Turkish Grand Prix coverage, will not be entering the doubleheaders at Valencia, presumably due to a schedule clash with Canal+ F1’s Sakhir Grand Prix commentary duty.
His PRO class teammate – and fellow FEED Vict Racing co-founder – Patrick Lemarié would return however, as the Frenchman is set to be returning to the No. 6 FEED Vict FJ seat for Valencia.
Another Frenchman, Thomas Ferrando, is also set to be returning for Valencia. With Max Lanza out for the doubleheader due to his wrist injury and CAAL Racing being one car short after the No. 54 car was totaled at Rijeka, the decision was made by the Italian team to withdraw the No. 88 entry and temporarily place Ferrando in Alex Caffi Motorsport’s No. 1 Remedica Ford instead.
This will mark Ferrando’s return to Alex Caffi’s team after one season. Ferrando had initially joined Alex Caffi Motorsport in 2019 to drive the No. 27 Ford before he and then-teammate Pierluigi Veronesi switched teams to CAAL Racing following CAAL’s acquisition of the No. 27 entry mid-season.
A surprise in the Entry List comes from Not Only Motorsport, as the Italian debutant team will expand into a two-car team for the doubleheaders. Not Only’s second team, the No. 10 Camaro, is scheduled to be fielding Finnish driver Leevi Lintukanto in the EuroNASCAR 2 class.
Lintukanto, who competed in Finland’s Legends Cars championship, is set to make his debut in the series after testing the Euro Series cars during the Summer Camp earlier this year.
Another change for Not Only Motorsport will happen with the team’s primary No. 89 Camaro as Alberto Panebianco, Not Only Motorsport’s junior driver, is also scheduled to make his debut in the EuroNASCAR 2 class. Panebianco will replace Igor Romanov, who isn’t scheduled to compete for this weekend.
Olivier Hart is also scheduled to make his debut in the series, as the 21-year old Dutch sports car and historic racer will replace Daniel Rowbottom in Hendriks’ No. 7 Orion/Cataclean team after the Brit once again is unable to make the trip from Britain to compete in the series.
For returning drivers, Kenko Miura is set to be making his return to the series after the Japanese driver was unable to enter the first three rounds of the season due to the travel restrictions imposed in Japan. Miura is set to drive the No. 99 DF1 Camaro as the teammate of Justin Kunz for the Valencia doubleheaders.
Eric Quintal, who had missed the round at Rijeka after he was tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the round in Croatia, is also expected to return to the No. 33 Tigha Camaro as the Mishumotors-Speedhouse alliance will continue to field both the No. 33 and the No. 70 cars for Valencia.
In the Club Challenge class, a total of 9 cars will take part in the sessions as Federico Monti, Alain Mosqueron, and Gordon Barnes will battle it out for the Club Challenge title at Valencia.
Julia Landauer, Vladimiros Tziortzis, and Francesco Garisto once again enters the Club Challenge sessions to gain extra practice time as Hart, Esteban, and Lintukanto are all scheduled to make their first outing in the Club Challenge sessions.
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard.