In an exclusive interview with World of EuroNASCAR, Francesco Garisto looks back on his successful career in EuroNASCAR as he reveals his future racing plans and the future of MK1 Racing Italia’s No. 17 team following his departure.
On 7 July 2022, just a few days before the American Festival of Rome at Autodromo Vallelunga, Francesco Garisto announced his retirement from the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series after competing for two and a half seasons in the junior EuroNASCAR 2 division.
Despite a delayed start to his EuroNASCAR career thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and numerous up-and-down moments, Garisto became one of the series’ hot young talents as he led the revived Shadow Racing Cars project to multiple podium finishes and a fifth-place finish in the 2021 EuroNASCAR 2 overall standings.
In our exclusive interview with the 20-year old Italian, Garisto looks back on his two and a half year career in EuroNASCAR as he believes that his stint in Europe’s top stock car racing championship has allowed him to mature into a better driver.
“My career in EuroNASCAR has been a hell of a ride!” said Garisto on his EuroNASCAR career. “I had some great successes and some other misfortunes. As a racing driver, I feel I have matured massively during these last two and a half years; I feel my EuroNASCAR career has changed me from being a kid who was simply there to constantly send it, to an experienced racing driver who knows what is going on around himself on track and is often mature enough to take the right decisions racing-wise.”
When asked about what is his fondest memory from EuroNASCAR, Garisto believes that it’s his first podium at Zolder in 2020 that he would remember the most.
“The fondest memory for me has to be the first time I tasted the podium in Zolder at my second ever race in the series in 2020. I remember I simply could not believe what me and the team had done and I still feel goosebumps when I think about it,” said Garisto about his fondest EuroNASCAR memory.
Garisto has teased that it will be time for him to try out “something new” after his exit from EuroNASCAR. During our interview, he opens up on what he has been working on for his future both on and off the track.
“As a racing driver, I have been given a great opportunity to go race with prototype cars this year. On the entrepreneurial side of motorsport, GRYXON Racing is a new project that will soon be seen out on track,” explained Garisto on his future plans.
“GRYXON Racing is an independent racing team, partnered up with the University of Bolton and formed with the intention of competing in high-level motorsport. The team aims to achieve this by growing with the most valuable resource the University can provide: students.”
“Engineers, technicians, scientists and many other students from more fields of study will be building this team in order to bring the most advanced ideas to grow on and off track. The goal still remains the same as always: to win.”
Garisto’s departure from EuroNASCAR has brought up questions on what would happen to the No. 17 MK1 Racing Italia team that he left, especially after his teammate Bernardo Manfrè and the black No. 17 Shadow DNM8 was not present at Vallelunga.
Garisto revealed that the No. 17 MK1 Racing Italia team is now racing as part of Double T Racing’s No. 47 entry and the Shadow DNM8 chassis that he raced this year – affectionately named “Carletta” by Garisto and the MK1 Racing Italia team – remains active in the hands of Leonardo Colavita.
“The No. 17 car, which we had named “Carletta”, is still racing in the series but with another paint scheme and another number!” revealed Garisto. “As a matter of fact, MK1 has now partnered up with Double T and the driver who is currently behind the wheel of “Carletta” is Leonardo Colavita.”
“Leonardo is a great driver and first of all a great friend of mine, I’m happy to see him grow in the environment where I have been growing these past years. We’ve had some great moments on track and in the paddock together and I really feel he deserves a lot. I wish him the best for his future career and I hope he can achieve top results in EuroNASCAR.”
Disclaimer: Unless noted on the photo, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese / Klemen Sofric / Stephane Azemard.