NASCAR Whelen Euro Series: A Quick Analysis


In 2012 NASCAR decided to first expand its horizons by allowing under its wing the already existing Racecar Euro-Series. This regional championship is now called Whelen Euro Series and it is trying to spread the NASCAR brand in Europe.

It is now the only NASCAR-sanctioned series outside of the american continents. Two separated divisions make up this series, Elite 1 and Elite 2 where the same teams and cars run with different drivers. Each division races twice during a single weekend.

The series visits six different tracks throughout the season, four road courses and two ovals (some of the very few in Europe). The season begins in Valencia, Spain, at the Circuito Ricardo Tormo, then moves to the short track of Raceway Venray in the Netherlands followed by Brands Hatch in England and the Tours Speedway in France. The last two venues that have not been visited yet this year are Adria International Raceway in Italy and Zolder in Belgium.

Some of the most talented drivers that this series produces often get the chance to run selected races in the Xfinity Series, especially on road courses where they can be more comfortable. During this season for example, Israeli driver and member of the NASCAR Next program Alon Day impressed during his two outings at Road America and Mid-Ohio running for MBM Motorsports. He is now back to his duties in the Whelen Euro Series where he is in the fight for the championship. Sometimes the opposite happens too: Max Papis, Rick Crawford and Ben Kennedy have all competed in selected Whelen Euro Series events through the last few years.

The reigning champion of the series Ander Vilariño has now retired after winning in the Elite 1 division for three of the last four years. This has given the other drivers a much better opportunity to fight for the championship: with one single point dividing the first two in the point standings everything is still possible heading into the penultimate racing weekend of Adria this upcoming weekend.

The racecars that produce around 450 horsepower, have gone through a big change before the 2016 season. This change could be compared to the evolution from Gen five to Gen six cars that took place in the Sprint Cup Series in 2013. The body of the cars has changed, the rear wing has been substituted by a spoiler and some mechanical changes like new types of brake pads have been added, improving the performance.

The series’ popularity is growing but there are still some things to fix. For example the racing weekends are not enough, just six each year. That means that there could be two months between each time the cars get on the track. That will probably change once the budget of all these small teams grows bigger; to move the cars and all the equipment from one country to another you need quite a lot of money. It’s always the fans that drive the sport, so if the popularity of this series keeps growing like it’s happening now more and more money will start circulating between the teams. Then we will have more races, better equipment (there are no backup cars right now, and each racecar is usually shared between two drivers competing in the two different divisions) and maybe more top drivers too.

We will follow the upcoming racing weekend in Adria closely and provide you with all the action. Stay tuned!