The 2017 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series held its first ever official Prologue on Friday at the Autodromo di Franciacorta in Italy. Eight teams and over 20 drivers came to Franciacorta to discover the track that will host the NWES Semi Finals on September 16-17 and prepare for the April 8-9 season opener in Valencia, Spain.
The Prologue also served as the perfect occasion to present the upcoming season to media, fans and local authorities. With two brand new events – The July 29-30 American Fans Festival at Hockenheim, Germany and the September American NASCAR Weekend Semi Finals at Franciacorta – a field becoming every year more competitive, the return of top veterans and the addition of new teams and drivers, the 2017 edition of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series promises to deliver the best racing show in Europe.
“The Prologue is a new event in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series history and everything went really well. We nearly had 50% of the field with 13 cars involved. It was a great opportunity for us to present the European NASCAR to a large group of journalists and for teams and drivers to hit the track 6 weeks before the season opener in Valencia,” said Jerome Galpin, President CEO of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. “Franciacorta was the perfect track for this event and we would like to thank Mr. Ettore Bonara and his team for this opportunity. The 2017 season is on the way and I can’t wait to be in Valencia !”
“It was a very positive day. Looking at how the Prologue went and at all the enthusiasm it generated in fans and local authorities, I feel even more motivated to organize the best possible event for the Semi Finals in September,” said Ettore Bonara, President of the Autodromo di Franciacorta. “The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series event is the most important of our season. With Sporting Director Francesco Tartamella and all the track’s staff, we’ll do our best to create something special”
Eight teams and 13 cars – CAAL Racing, Knauf Racing, Double T Racing, Alex Caffi Motorsport, DF1 Racing, RDV Team Brazil and the new entry from Germany Mishumotors – attended the event and more than 20 drivers tested in conditions varying from dry to damp to wet, while a large group of journalists had the chance to ride in a NWES car. Italian fans got a glimpse of the unique attractions and atmosphere they will find on September 16-17 in the American NASCAR Weekend Semi Finals thanks to a Stuntmen exhibition and a display of American Cars.
“For this Prologue we have seen a great effort from all the organizers to bring American attractions to the track and the public loved it! The track suits our cars quite well, it’s twisty and technical but it offers good chances to overtake. I think that for the Semi Finals in September we can expect some exciting door-to-door racing and a great American Show. I come from this area and to have a NASCAR event in Franciacorta makes me really proud,” said former Formula 1 driver Alex Caffi, now Team Onwer of Alex Caffi Motorsport in NWES. “The Prologue was also my first day as a full-time Team Manager and I think we are doing very well. Working with Jerome Galpin and the NWES organization we built some solid foundations and the future looks bright!”
“Franciacorta is a great venue for the Semi Finals and I think this Prologue helped us a lot in preparing for the season and in discovering this new track. It also allowed many fans to take a first look at what they’ll find here in September and I have seen a lot of smiling faces everywhere,” said 2015 ELITE 2 Champion Gianmarco Ercoli, driver of the #9 Double T Ford Mustang.
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series heads now to Valencia, Spain where the season opener will take place in one month on April 8-9 in the context of the Valencia NASCAR Fest.
Credits: Fabio Grandi