NASCAR Euro testing days: Will Ander Vilarino make a comeback?
A total of 13 drivers tested a NASCAR Whelen Euro Series car during the first recruitment day in Le Comte, France this week. Among the drivers to make a test last was three-time champion Ander Vilarino.
While the test session offers news drivers a chance to get behind the wheel of a NASCAR race car, Vilarino brings an impressive resume. He had amassed 20 victories and 33 podiums in 46 races since 2012 and hasn’t competed in the series since 2015.
Now the Spaniard is now thinking about returning to the European NASCAR Championship, but hasn't made a decision yet.
From 2012 to 2015, Vilarino completed 1,343 laps in the NWES, 445 of them in the lead. On average, the Spaniard crossed the finish line in fourth during his four season run – an impressive statistic.
However, Vilarino would have to get used to cars that have changed technically since 2015 if he returns. This is confirmed by the Spaniard at Le Comte in France, where he did several laps with a current Euro NASCAR car as part of the NWES recruitment programme.
“I was thrilled to climb again in a Euro NASCAR. Some things have changed on a technical level in the car, making it faster than when I left the championship at the end of 2015, but the essence is the same: a robust car, fast and without any driver aid. It is pure driving. Euro NASCAR is one of the main options for next year. There’s interest in returning and the challenge would give me a lot of motivation,” said the Spaniard.
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The other drivers took part of the first two days of the 2019 recruitment programme. The NWES is searching for new young talents who want to join the series in 2019. The best drivers will benefit from financial support during their debut season.
“It has always been an ambition of mine to drive a NASCAR, so the Recruitment Day gave me a great chance to sample a childhood dream. The cars are brilliant, and admittedly better than I thought they would be,” said Alex Nevill, who recently won the MINI Cooper Challenge Am class in the UK.
“I had a very nice day being at the wheel of this car. It has a lot of power and grip in dry or wet conditions and it needs real driving skills to go fast. In one word, it’s pure racing", said 16-year-old Romain Boeckler, who raced in the French F4 Championship in 2018.
“The car is amazing to drive, with a lot of power and torque available from a beautifully-sounding, old-school, V8 engine. However, I was most impressed by the chassis and the gearbox. Shifting is unfortunately no longer a dimension in modern racing and I really enjoyed having to heel-and-toe again in a racing car. It felt like a pure racing car,” said Alexandru Cascatau, who drove in the BMW Clubsport Trophy 2018 in Belgium.
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