World of EuroNASCAR’s first Race Preview of the 2022 season will recap all of the team changes that have occurred during the off-season as NASCAR Whelen Euro Series’ 2022 season starts off this weekend with the NASCAR GP Spain at Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series makes their grand return this week as the 2022 season, the 11th under NASCAR’s sanctioning and an historic 10th with title sponsor Whelen, kicks off this weekend with NASCAR GP Spain at Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
The surge of new drivers and teams entering the series along with the return of some old faces makes for a particularly special visit to Circuit Ricardo Tormo as a total of 37 cars – from 17 teams – and 72 drivers across all three divisions are listed to take part at the Valencia season opener.
The 37 cars and 72 drivers that are due to take part in Valencia this week will set a new series record for the largest Entry List size in series history, beating the previous record set at Franciacorta in 2019 where 33 cars and 69 drivers participated on what would turn out to be the series’ final visit to the Italian circuit.
Given that there’s a lot of changes to recap, World of EuroNASCAR’s Race Preview for the 2022 NASCAR GP Spain will be divided into three parts. Part 1 will be focused on the team changes whilst Part 2 and Part 3 will focus on our preview for EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2 respectively.
With a record grid of 37 cars for Valencia, we’re bound to see a lot of team changes. From new teams entering, existing teams expanding and/or downscaling, old teams returning and teams that have left the series after the conclusion of the 2021 season, we will recap all of the team changes that have happened during the off-season in Part 1 of our NASCAR GP Spain Race Preview.
Academy Motorsport maintains the three-car roster that they have as they will continue to field the No. 1 Ford Mustang and the No. 2 and No. 5 EuroNASCAR FJ’s this year. What has changed, however, is their technical alliance partner in 2022.
Academy Motorsport won’t continue their partnership with Race Art Technology as they will enter a new joint venture with the Tuscan-based Petri Corse team instead. Petri Corse has had plenty of experience with sportscar racing in the past and Academy hopes that Petri Corse’s technical alliance would allow them to continue the growth in performance that the team experienced last year.
Race Art Technology’s departure from the Academy partnership doesn’t mean the end of the Swiss team’s journey in EuroNASCAR though, as the team have opted to reenter the series in 2022 as an independent team for their first season as an independent team since 2018.
Race Art have acquired a Toyota Camry chassis in the latter parts of 2021 and with Giorgio Maggi becoming a free agent during the off-season, Race Art and Maggi will join forces to field an all-Switzerland team in the No. 18 Toyota Camry squad.
RDV Competition, the series’ longest-lasting team in history, will enter the 2022 season with just one car – the flagship No. 3 team – after the French team experienced a rather troublesome year in 2021.
The No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro that RDV are scheduled to field this year will have an old chassis that the team have decided to bring back after the new chassis that the No. 3 team ran in 2021 proved to be a failure, with the team being forced to withdraw the team mid-season and Gabillon admitting that said new chassis was a “big crap”.
The No. 10 Camaro team soldered on, but unfortunately would suffer a heavy crash with Leonardo Colavita that forced the team to withdraw the car on what would turn out to be its final entry at Vallelunga last year.
Panasport, a rally team owned by Yannick Panagiotis, would enter the series for the first time with a military plane-liveried No. 4 Chevrolet Camaro. Photos from Thursday’s pre-season practice suggests that Panasport will receive help from RDV to field their sole entry in 2022.
Defending three-time Hendriks Motorsport have downscaled their participation plans in 2022 as the team will enter the No. 7 and No. 50 Ford Mustang’s for this year, shutting down the No. 18 team in the process.
The No. 7 Hendriks Ford looks aesthetically unchanged from the car that swept all three major titles in Euro Series last year, but the No. 50 Hendriks Ford will bring back the livery that gave the team their first two Teams Championship crowns.
Dario Caso and Onofrio Veneziani’s team rebranded itself once again as the team will use the Racers Motorsport team name for the first time since 2019. What is different, however, is that the team would receive support from NASCAR Cup team JTG Daugherty Racing in 2022.
The support from JTG Daugherty would be visible on what used to be the No. 9 team, as the No. 9 team gets rebranded into the No. 47 team to reflect JTG’s support for Leonardo Colavita. The No. 8 car, on the other hand, would be unchanged as the No. 8 team would continue its technical collaboration with Scuderia Speed Motor for another season.
Lucas Lasserre’s SpeedHouse team enters the new season with an ambitious plan to expand to four cars in 2022, a three-fold increase from the team’s 2021 campaign.
The No. 14, No. 33, and No. 40 Ford Mustang’s will join SpeedHouse’s flagship No. 64 Ford Mustang for 2022 as the team also received a new partner in 42 Racing, who split off from Shadow Racing Cars to join the French team with its principal Marco Raggi now acting as SpeedHouse’s Sporting Manager.
With 42 Racing leaving to SpeedHouse, Shadow Racing Cars would now enter their two “factory” Shadow DNM8’s under a new entity: MK1 Racing Italia. The MK1 team would receive technical support from Race Art as the team rebranded the No. 42 team into the No. 16 team for 2022. The rebranded team would also get a new coat of paint, with yellow now being run on the No. 16 Shadow while black is used as the primary colors of the No. 17 Shadow.
While the reason for the number change is currently unknown, the rebrand meant that Shadow will now participate in EuroNASCAR using the same numbers that the original Shadow team had in Formula One: No. 16 and No. 17.
Team Bleekemolen would also enter four cars on their roster, although the expansion to four cars was not the Bleekemolen family team’s original plan coming into Valencia.
Team Bleekemolen had originally announced their original plan to field just two cars – the No. 69 and No. 72 cars – in February, motivated by a desire to circumvent the issue of them having to field three drivers in one car after Melvin de Groot agreed to join the team’s EuroNASCAR operations full-time this year.
Then in March 2022, Team Bleekemolen announced that the Finnish-based Iceboys squad would join forces with the Dutch-based team this year. The resulting combination meant that Iceboys’ No. 23 and No. 44 entries that were part of DF1 Racing in 2021 will be transferred to the Bleekemolen squad. In addition, Team Bleekemolen would run all four cars on their own after the team became an Hendriks satellite team last year.
Speaking of DF1 Racing, the Austrian team was initially planning to enter just two cars for this year’s campaign, the No. 22 and No. 66 Camaro’s. DF1 had signed Nicolo Rocca and Naveh Talor to drive the No. 22 Camaro and was looking for drivers to compete with the No. 66 team when the team’s leading figure Norbert Walchhoffer suddenly passed away on 1 April 2022.
Norbert’s passing seems to have affected the team dearly as the team withdrew from NASCAR GP Spain despite being seen testing at Autodrom Most a few days after his passing. Ominously, the team could potentially withdraw its entry from the entire season after reports from earlier this week revealed that Nicolo Rocca had signed a last-minute contract with the Double V Racing team.
Double V, who will now run as an independent team, thus faces an extra challenge in their No. 27 Ford Mustang as the sudden arrival of a championship-caliber driver in Nicolo Rocca meant that there will be more eyes that will monitor the team’s performance in their first season as an independent team.
Anthony Kumpen’s PK Carsport makes their promised return to the series in 2022 after the team opted to not compete full-time last year due to the limitations and uncertainties regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
PK Carsport will reenter the championship with just a single car as the team will bring back their flagship No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro to the grid, once again carrying the Monster Energy colors courtesy of Alon Day.
The plucky little team Not Only Motorsport plans to make a statement in the series this year as the team have doubled their team size from two to four in 2022, adding the No. 25 and No. 36 teams to their roster this year.
Not Only Motorsport has shown itself to be capable of scoring race wins and podium finishes thanks to Talor and Vittorio Ghirelli’s efforts last year, thus the expansion plans meant that the team is certainly going to aim for bigger things in this year’s campaign.
Buggyra ZM Racing will create history with their debut in EuroNASCAR this year as the team is set to become the first Emirati-based team to compete in a NASCAR-sanctioned championship. It should be noted that while the team is owned by a former racer from the Czech Republic in Martin Koloc and the Euro Series team itself is based in Czech, the team’s entry listed them as holding an United Arab Emirates license.
Buggyra will enter two Ford Mustangs, the No. 29 and No. 38, that will be primarily driven by Koloc’s twin daughters Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc. An interesting story is that the No. 38 Ford was initially planned to compete as No. 47, but a number claiming dispute with Racers caused Buggyra to switch the car’s number to No. 38 in the final Entry List.
Marko Stipp Motorsport would enter their fourth season in EuroNASCAR with an unchanged roster for both the No. 46 and the No. 48 Camaro’s. Out of all teams that were due to compete in 2022, MSM is the only team to have kept the same driver line-up and car count from the previous season in this year’s championship.
The Club Motorsport is ready for their first full-season foray to the sport after five seasons of part-time competition. The team’s flagship No. 55 Camaro will now be joined by the newly expanded No. 65 Camaro as Fabrizio Armetta’s team prepares themselves for a whole new set of challenges in 2022.
Italian powerhouse team CAAL Racing kept the same three cars that they entered last year, but all three teams received an overhaul for the upcoming 2022 season due to the team receiving a whole new set of primary sponsors.
The team’s flagship No. 54 cars will now carry a striking pink and black livery that gained notoriety due to its sponsor, pornographic website EscortAdvisor. CAAL’s No. 56 car will now carry a light blue secondary color courtesy of cryptocurrency platform Verge while the No. 88 car traded some of its black colors for silver, neon red and white thanks to the sponsors brought by Italian YouTuber Alberto “Naska” Fontana.
Swiss-based team Racingfuel Motorsport would also enter the series in 2022, the final debutant to be listed in this preview. Owned by Racingfuel GmbH, the team will enter two Chevrolet Camaro’s that the team initially entered on the provisional season Entry List as the No. 93 and No. 94 teams.
However, just before Valencia Racingfuel decided to renumber the No. 93 team into the No. 58 car, which interestingly would carry the same No. 58 font that was used by the late motorcycle racing great Marco Simoncelli.
Finally, there’s Solaris Motorsport, who quietly exited the series at the conclusion of the 2021 season. Solaris was initially due to compete with Alina Loibnegger as one of the team’s drivers, but the team failed to reach an agreement with Loibnegger’s sponsors and would ultimately exit the series when it was revealed that the team is not listed in the provisional season Entry List.
That being said, it’s suggested that Solaris’ exit would be a temporary one as the team announced yesterday on social media that their absence is “just a pause” and they promised to “come back soon”.
Disclaimer: Unless noted on the photo, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Klemen Sofric / Stephane Azemard.