The first session of the 2020 Drivers Recruitment Program took place at the NWES test track at Fontenay Le Comte, France on November 7-8. In two days of testing, 13 drivers coming from 7 different countries took the wheel of a Euro NASCAR car: Zach Banks, Tobias Dauenhauer, Marcel Lenerz, Liroy Stuart, Antoine Sansone, Pim and Lorenzo Van Riet, Patrick Gaillard father and son, Deo Alves, Francesco Garisto, Luigi Ferrara, and Charles Lacarre.
The drivers selected came to the French test with the most diverse background, from karting and touring cars to GT racing and Formula 1. They worked under the guidance of the NWES organization and 2010 Champion Lucas Lasserre and had the opportunity to meet NASCAR Whelen Euro Series President-CEO Jerome Galpin after completing several runs both in wet and dry conditions. The best drivers among those taking part in the NWES Drivers Recruitment Program will receive financial support for their 2020 season in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
Both 21-year-old GT driver Tobias Dauenhauer and Marcel Lenerz, who made his GT racing debut in 2019 were enthusiastic about the opportunity to drive the NWES cars.
"It was just amazing, the V8 sound is fantastic and the car is so much fun, it’s pure racing. I love the fact you have no electronic aids, so it’s the driver who makes the difference. All my runs were in wet conditions, I had to be very smooth with the throttle, but I had a lot of fun. I would really like to join the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, I think it’s a great opportunity and an ideal step for young drivers to become professionals. I want to thank NWES, Wolfgang Koepp, Hendriks Motorsport and Toine Hezemans for giving me this opportunity, it was a wonderful experience," said Dauenhauer.
"It was really impressive and cool, it’s pure race driving, with no electronic filters between you and the car and the sound is just impressive. It was also my first time on a race car with an H-pattern gearbox and was really funny, even in the wet. My goal is definitely to race in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series next year," added Lenerz.
The Recruitment Days saw both very young talents and experienced veterans take the track on the powerful V8 Euro NASCAR cars.
"I found myself immediately at ease with the car. You have to drive it in a very clean and craft your driving technique. It’s very easy to perceive where the limit is, but I think it will take a lot of effort to constantly drive around that limit," declared 17-year-old Francesco Garisto, who drove in Formula 4 and GT in his young career. "I don’t even have a driving license, so this was my first time with an H-pattern gearbox and it was a lot of fun! My goal is definitely to be on the grid in 2020. There is still a lot to do but that’s my goal for next year."
"It was the first time for me on a race car since 1985 and I have to say I really enjoyed myself, it was a fantastic experience. The car is so pure and clear, it’s just you and your right foot on the throttle, a steering wheel, an engine and a gearbox. It’s up to you to find the right feeling. It is such a great car to drive," concluded former Formula 1 driver Patrick Gaillard. "The whole team was very friendly and the atmosphere in the pit box was so relaxed. As I said, I really enjoyed myself and I want to thank the NWES organization for this opportunity. I’ll do my best to be on the grid in 2020."
The next Drivers Recruitment Days will take place in France at the NWES test track at Fontenay Le Comte on December 12-13.