NASCAR Whelen Euro Series returns to Brands Hatch for the first time since 2019 as American SpeedFest 8 welcomes 26 cars and 42 drivers from both EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2 for the second round of the 2021 season.
NASCAR Whelen Euro Series returns to Brands Hatch for the first time since 2019 after the highly popular American SpeedFest round was sadly cancelled last year due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With American SpeedFest’s prestige as one of the most popular rounds in the series with a rich history going all the way back from the series’ first season under NASCAR ownership in 2012 and a new date that coincides the American Independence Day weekend, it’s no surprise that there’s plenty of enthusiasm heading to the eighth edition of the SpeedFest as 26 cars and 42 drivers from the two main divisions are ready to bring up the action this weekend.
Unfortunately, some teams have opted to not make the trip to the United Kingdom for the second round of the season. Chief among which is The Club Motorsport, who were planning to compete in just three of the six rounds that are currently scheduled for this year. Vict Motorsport also opted to not make the trip to the UK along with Not Only Motorsports’ third car – still absent after it was withdrawn at Valencia – and Mishumotors.
Another change came from Academy Motorsport as the team will be bringing the No. 24 NBA 2K21 Chevrolet for Alex Sedgwick to the track this weekend in place of the No. 5 FJ car. While the No. 24 Chevrolet is technically a fourth car for the Academy Motorsport squad, the No. 24 team will be using the existing entry that had been used for the No. 5 team this weekend.
For the EuroNASCAR PRO class, a total of 23 drivers have been confirmed to take part in American SpeedFest 8. The number of drivers scheduled to compete in Brands Hatch is one less compared to Valencia, but there’s an air of uncertainty at Academy Motorsport as the team had announced that Thomas Ferrando is scheduled to participate with the No. 1 Remedica Ford team this weekend, which would bring the number of drivers up to 24 for the top class.
Hendriks driver Loris Hezemans is, unsurprisingly, going to be the driver with the biggest spotlight this weekend given his dominating performance at Valencia and his successful debut at Pocono with DGM Racing last weekend. It’s expected that competition is going to be fierce at the top, however, as drivers such as Gianmarco Ercoli, Nicolò Rocca, Vittorio Ghirelli, and Alon Day are expected to give their most to beat the Hezemans-Hendriks domination at Brands Hatch.
After no British drivers participated in the Valencia season opening round, the “home nations” will have two drivers to cheer for this weekend as Alex Sedgwick and Scott Jeffs are set to make their return to the series.
Sedgwick and Jeffs will be competing for Academy Motorsport and Marko Stipp Motorsport respectively, with both drivers coincidentally going to be competing with a special livery this weekend. Sedgwick will have a LA Lakers-inspired livery as a tribute to Kobe Bryant in his No. 24 Academy Chevrolet, while MSM has given the No. 46 SimThunder team a makeover as the team is set to run a City Chevrolet/Days of Thunder throwback livery for the SpeedFest.
Elsewhere, changes are happening at DF1 Racing as Alexander Graff and Simon Pilate are set to make their first top class appearance for 2021. For Graff, it was announced yesterday that he has been signed to drive the No. 44 DF1 car in the EuroNASCAR PRO class for the remainder of the season after Ian Eric Wadén ran double duty at Valencia. Pilate, on the other hand, will be doing the double duty this weekend as he replaces Patrick Lemarié who is absent due to FEED Racing hosting their Finals earlier this week.
Jacques Villeneuve, Lemarié’s partner at FEED, is also absent for Brands Hatch due to the combined scheduling of both FEED Racing’s Finals and Austrian GP coverage for Canal+. Andrea Nori, the rookie driver for Not Only Motorsport, is also absent due to “major reasons” with his slot in the No. 90 team being filled by Igor Romanov, who is making his return to the series after he was forced to skip Valencia due to a positive COVID-19 test.
For EuroNASCAR 2, there are 21 drivers that have been listed to compete at Brands Hatch on the Preliminary Entry List. The spotlight is expected to be given to the leading trio of Doubek, Dauenhauer, and Tziortzis following their domination at Valencia where they locked the first three positions throughout the season-opening round. Drivers such as Double V’s Pierluigi Veronesi, DF1’s Pilate, CAAL’s Advait Deodhar, and Shadow’s Francesco Garisto will be hoping to give a better challenge to the all-conquering trio for the SpeedFest.
Entry-wise, home driver Shaun Hollamby is set to be making his return to the series this weekend as the managing director of AmD Tuning is scheduled to compete with DF1’s No. 77 team. Changes also happened to Speedhouse as they will be fielding Matthias Hauer for the first time this year, while 42 Racing have swapped Francesco Garisto to the No. 17 Mondial Shadow team for this weekend.
As usual, American SpeedFest 8 will be streamed live on Motorsport.tv and NASCAR Whelen Euro Series’ official Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch page. It’s currently unknown how many fans will be allowed to be spectate the races live on-track, but American SpeedFest promotors MotorSport Vision has declared that tickets for Sunday’s running has sold out. MSV and Brands Hatch also guaranteed spectators that the grandstand seating arrangement will be configured according to the COVID protocols in place in the United Kingdom.
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard / Bart Dehaese.