The battle for the European NASCAR title will have one more contender with a brand new team joining the grid in Valencia for the season opener: 20-year-old Dutch talent Loris Hezemans will enter the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in the ELITE 1 Division at the wheel of the #50 Ford Mustang fielded by Hendriks Motorsport.
After spending the last couple of years developing into a top driver in TCR and GT series, Hezemans had the chance to drive a Euro NASCAR car in one of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Recruitment Days in December and figured immediately among the quickest drivers on track.
“I was really surprised by how the car handled and how funny it is to drive, but also by the potential of the series and future opportunities it offers. If you look at the budgets involved and what you get in return, it is very interesting. To have the chance to go racing in the US is fantastic. NASCAR is completely new for me and I want to have a shot at making a career there,” said Hezemans, who also plans to take part in an extensive GT program in 2018. “I think I adapted well to the NWES car, we are tied with the right team with Hendriks Motorsport and I can’t wait to drive the car again. I look forward to a great season!”
Hezeman’s car will be owned by a motorsport icon: his father Toine Hezemans. A winner of all the most prestigious endurance races between the 60’s and the 70’s, including the 24 Hour Of Le Mans, the 24 Hours of Daytona and the legendary Targa Florio, Toine Hezemans believes the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is an ideal proving ground for Loris to develop his talent.
“After the test Loris was really happy with the car and was among the fastest drivers out there. I love racing and I have always liked to be personally involved, so we decided to take this step. Personally for me it’s all about the fun and the love for racing,” said the 74-year-old veteran, who also has a vast experience as a team manager, especially in the FIA GT Championship. “I think the whole NASCAR Whelen Euro Series concept is great. The field is very competitive, performances are high and the costs are kept very low with clever choices by the organization.”
Strong of its many oval racing successes in the Netherlands, Hendriks Motorsport will make its NASCAR debut fielding the #50 Ford Mustang and will face a new challenge in preparing the car for road course racing. The team is poised to prove its worth in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and is currently scouting for an ELITE 2 driver to share the the car with Hezemans and will undergo the first test session of 2018 in Italy at the Autodromo di Franciacorta on February 28th.
“We have done many projects with Mr. Hezemans and when he decided to buy a NWES car, it was a perfect match for us to be the ones to prepare it,” said team co-owner Roy Hendriks. “We have been to some Euro NASCAR races in the past to study what the best teams are doing. The level is high and it’s all rather new for us, but we have podium ambitions so we will need to adapt very quickly and I’m confident we can do it.”
The first event of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will be held at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain on April 14-15.