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BLOIS, France - Since Euro-Racecar was created in 2009, its role was to train European drivers and those from all over the world to race in NASCAR, specifically in the United States. Another crucial step in this direction has been taken with the creation the Exotics Racing by FJ team based in Las Vegas, whose program will be devoted to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. The overall level of competition is very high in this series and serves as an ideal launch pad to NASCAR’s national series for drivers and teams alike.
Exotics Racing by FJ is the result of an association between the owners of Exotics Racing, a supercar driving school in Las Vegas owned by Romain Thiévin and David Perisset, winners of the 2012 Euro-Racecar NASCAR Touring Series team championship, and Jérôme and Anne Galpin from Team FJ. The Galpins are also the founders and organizers of the Euro-Racecar NASCAR Touring Series. The two parties have purchased the Fadden Racing team and have set up shop at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where the Exotics Racing circuit is located.
Three Chevrolet Impala SS chassis – two for ovals and one for road courses – are waiting to launch this exciting adventure. The cars are solid equipment. In fact, Joey Logano drove one of them to Victory Lane in the 2010 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway.
“Anne and I have always dreamed of setting up a team like this,” said Galpin. “It was all part of our project when we founded the Euro-Racecar Series. What we were interested in was developing a real training ground to enable drivers from Europe, and from all over the world, to have their first taste of NASCAR in Europe and then orient them towards the USA with the long-term aim of bringing a European driver to the uppermost level. The formation of Exotics Racing by FJ is a step in this direction.
“We met Romain Thiévin and David Perisset through our series as Romain finished second in 2011 and 2012, and he and David won the Teams’ championship in 2012. We became friends and when we spoke about this project with them they were ready to take the plunge. What we have in common is a love of NASCAR, and this association is a logical follow-through for us as organizers of Euro-Racecar, and them as owners of a fantastic circuit and driving school in Las Vegas.”
Although Exotics Racing by FJ has its own set of technical skills on which to rely, it also has assets in place to bring valuable NASCAR experience to the table.
“Since 2009 we’ve been working with Mike Olsen of Fadden Racing,” Galpin said. “He’s had great results and he knows all the aspects of NASCAR inside and out. We’re going to take advantage of his technical (knowledge). We want to establish an American-European (racing) community and provide it an opportunity to discover NASCAR in the United States by creating more interaction between everybody.”
In addition to winning NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championships in 2001 and 2006, Olsen has competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
The initial plan is to have Thiévin behind the wheel for four of five K&N Pro Series races. Negotiations are ongoing with other European drivers to compete in NASCAR’s top developmental series.
Thiévin is delighted about being involved in the advent of European drivers in NASCAR.
“During the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards in Las Vegas Mike Helton, the NASCAR president, underlined the importance of the three international series – Europe, Canada and Mexico – and said that he would like one of the drivers in one of these categories to be a contender in the (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series) in the next five to ten years. They’re keeping a close eye on what’s happening. Thanks to Jérôme and Anne Galpin’s relationship with NASCAR and their knowledge of how the NASCAR Ladder works, we’re able to launch this project and create a bridge between Europe and the USA.”
While he is the team’s lead driver he has much bigger ambitions.
“I’m nearing the end of my career and I’ve got no aspirations to be the primary driver for the team. I’m going to be lucky enough to take part in some fabulous races, including Sonoma, but it’s more of a transition to get our team up and running. Our aim is to give a European driver the opportunity to fulfill this role in the future to showcase our know-how.”