Miguel Gomes is set to become the first Portuguese driver to compete full-time in NASCAR Whelen Euro Series after it was announced that Gomes will make his Euro Series debut in EuroNASCAR 2 with Marko Stipp Motorsport’s No. 46 Chevrolet.
Portugal will have its first full-season representation in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series after it was announced that Miguel Gomes will be joining Marko Stipp Motorsport for a full-season debut campaign in EuroNASCAR 2 with the team’s No. 46 Chevrolet Camaro.
Gomes became the second driver that has confirmed their plans to compete with the German-based team this year after Evgeny Sokolovsky announced that he has signed a contract extension with the team a few weeks ago.
Gomes, a former participant of the Drivers Recruitment Program, also became just the second Portuguese driver to compete in the series on the NASCAR era after Joao Teixeira – no relation to the Portuguese footballers who shared the same name – made a one-off appearance with Pole Position 81 in 2012.
“NASCAR has been my passion since I was a small child and to be able to race in an official NASCAR series is like a dream come true,” said Gomes to euronascar.com. “I look forward to getting in that great looking V8 car and finally be part of NASCAR! Also, I look forward to getting to know everyone at Marko Stipp Motorsport and find out how we can improve together from race to race.”
Gomes, the 41-year old driver from Lisbon, came from a unusual racing background as he started his racing experience from the world of sim racing. Having raced offline in various sim racing games in the 90s and early 2000’s, he started to race in online lobbies with NASCAR Racing 4 and has since competed in various online leagues on NASCAR Racing 2002 Season, NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, and iRacing.
Gomes made the transition to real-life racing in 2007 when he received a chance to test a VSR V8 Trophy car at the British Rockingham. He made his debut as a racing driver in 2009 when he competed in the European Late Model Series, a now-defunct series that was formed when VSR V8 merged with CAMSO V8 as a result of dwindling entries the previous year.
Gomes has received two chances to drive a Euro Series car, the first of which was done via a private test at Brands Hatch in 2016. It wouldn’t be until 2019 that he had a chance to test the Euro Series cars again after he was selected as one of the 11 drivers that took part in the first Test Day session of the 2020 Drivers Recruitment Program.
Gomes reveals that he had been in contact with Marko Stipp since early last year and while he didn’t received a chance to compete in 2020, the two parties kept themselves in touch as they worked on the deal for 2021.
“I’ve been in contact with Marko Stipp since early 2020 but then I wasn’t able to race last year,” said Gomes. “We kept in touch and I watched their performance during the season. Besides being a very competitive team, they also have the #46 ride available, the number I always run with. So that was a sign to choose Marko Stipp Motorsport as soon as the conditions were met to do a full season in 2021.”
MSM team owner Marko Stipp believes that Gomes’ experience with stock cars on the simulator would allow him to shine in 2021 despite his considerably old age.
“As a team, we are always excited to help fresh talents in extracting the most out of their performance and to nurture them,” said Stipp on Gomes. “In terms of age, Miguel is obviously not the typical young rookie. However, that comes with the benefit of him already being experienced and having a stock car racing background. After all, it didn’t take long for us to be on the same page. We really look forward to getting the season started with him!”
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Miguel Gomes Racing.