For the sixth time in the history of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, Circuit Zolder will host the EuroNASCAR Finals to crown the 2023 champions and trophy winners. Four drivers in each championship have emerged as the top title contenders, but with double points on the line in four races – two in each championship – the legendary woods of Limburg could have a surprise in store. The battle is on and there is only one way to write your name in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in the USA: win races and become the new European NASCAR Champion! Tens of thousands of fans are looking forward to the ninth edition of the NWES races in Belgium.
Measuring 4.011 Km, Circuit Zolder opened doors in 1963 and has even hosted Formula 1 races in its history. Since the last reconfiguration of the track, drivers have to master ten turns to dance on the cruel and unforgiving asphalt of Zolder. With several elevation changes, tricky chicanes and high-speed sections, the track is one of the most challenging on the NWES calendar. The NASCAR GP Belgium promises not only exciting racing, but also fun attractions around the paddock for the whole family.
With four drivers within 23 points, the EuroNASCAR PRO championship is unpredictable, but these athletes will do their best to overcome all obstacles and become the 2023 NWES champion. Thanks to his brilliance in the first half of the season, CAAL Racing’s Gianmarco Ercoli enters the event as the championship leader. However, his comfortable lead shrunk when he suffered setbacks in the Czech Republic and Germany. The Rome-born Italian has a four-point lead over compatriot Vittorio Ghirelli. The Fasano-native driver has shown great momentum in the second half of the season, closing the gap to Ercoli with two race wins and six top-5 finishes since his visit to Italy.
The Team Bleekemolen star may be Ercoli’s closest challenger, but the 2020 EuroNASCAR 2 champion is followed by one of the most experienced drivers on the grid: Lucas Lasserre. The Frenchman is not only a Speedhouse driver, but also the organization’s owner, engineer and driver coach. After winning Sunday’s race in Valencia, Lasserre has impressed with his consistency and that’s why he’s three points ahead of Anthony Kumpen, who will contest his home race in Zolder. Kumpen is a two-time champion and with double points on the line, the Belgian PK Carsport team manager and driver is aiming to become the third three-time NWES title winner.
In the Junior Trophy, Liam Hezemans is in first place after winning the season-opening race in Spain. The Dutchman in the colors of Hendriks Motorsport leads Vladimiros Tziortzis, who’s ten points back. Ulysse Delsaux follows in third ahead of Oschersleben race winner Tobias Dauenhauer, who’s looking to get back into the mix of Junior Trophy contenders. Fabrizio Armetta leads the Challenger Trophy, but the Italian has compatriot Riccardo Romagnoli behind him, waiting for his team boss to make a mistake.
EuroNASCAR 2 is mirroring the EuroNASCAR PRO picture with four drivers highlighted as the top contenders for the title. After winning five races in the first half of the season, Academy / Alex Caffi Motorsport’s Vladimiros Tziortzis leads the overall standings, but his dominant run was interrupted by technical gremlins at Most and Oschersleben. Alberto Naksa took the opportunity to close the gap with a race win at Most and second place at Oschersleben. The CAAL Racing superstar from Italy is now three points behind Tziortzis.
Third is Paul Jouffreau, the RDV Competition sensation of the year. The Frenchman scored three consecutive podiums in the Czech Republic and Germany, including a win, and has just one point less on his tally than Naska. “Mr. Consistency” Gil Linster is fourth, 28 points behind the leader, and the Luxembourgish Hendriks Motorsport driver is eager to capitalize on his experience at the Zolder circuit and get the first NASCAR win of his career. With a perfect weekend, Linster could be the dark horse in the title fight.
In the Rookie Trophy, Team Bleekemolen’s Thomas Dombrowski leads the special classification, but Jack Davidson has been closing the gap with promising results in recent races. The Scotsman’s run of strong finishes meant that only five points separated the top-2. In the Legend Trophy, Claudio Remigio Cappelli is leading from reigning champion Melvin de Groot, who is defending his title for drivers over 40, while Michael Bleekemolen, the oldest driver on the grid at 74, could also play an important role. Arianna Casoli is dominating the Lady Trophy and will be looking for her fourth record-breaking title.
The Teams Championship also features a very close battle at the top: the #54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet Camaro sits just eight points ahead of the #3 RDV Competition Ford Mustang, but the #50 Hendriks Motorsport Toyota Camry, the #5 Academy / Alex Caffi Motorsport EuroNASCAR FJ and the #72 Team Bleekemolen Toyota Camry are all within 100 points and still in the title hunt.
In the Club Challenge, three drivers have emerged as the favorites: Reigning champion Gordon Barnes ahead of the Speedhouse duo of Florian Richard and Alain Mosqueron. The three sessions on Thursday will decide who will take home the big trophy for winning the regularity-based challenge in the world of EuroNASCAR. Qualifying and all races of the EuroNASCAR Finals on October 14-15 at the Circuit Zolder will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and various TV services around the world.
3F Racing returns to NWES – NASCAR Truck Series regular Ryan Vargas tasted blood at Oschersleben and will return to EuroNASCAR PRO at the wheel of the No. 30 Chevrolet Camaro.
Uber Modern Racing is back – The French outfit will run the #75 Chevrolet Camaro for Hugo Fleury in EuroNASCAR PRO and Olivier Bec in EuroNASCAR 2.
Marc Goossens looks forward to his home race – A true local hero, Marc Goossens is eager to end the season on a high note with CAAL Racing and put a smile on the faces of tens of thousands of Belgian spectators at Circuit Zolder.
Eric de Doncker is back – The Belgian NWES veteran will join Bremotion for his first race since 2019.
Nicholas Strickler returns – The American is back after his violent crash in Italy and joins Marko Stipp Motorsport to fill in for the injured Nick Schneider.
Mario Ercoli eager to learn – The 16-year-old Italian is back at the wheel of the #9 Vict Motorsport car, laying the groundwork for an exciting full-time season in 2024.