With the revised 2020 NWES season calendar recently released, teams are already back to work to prepare the September 12-13 season opener at the Autodromo di Vallelunga in Italy. Newly-formed Feed Vict Racing visited the Italian track on June 12-13 for a two-day test session that featured a very special moment for Patrick Lemarie.
Three of the team’s four cars hit the track over two days, driven by team co-owners Jacques Villeneuve, Patrick Lemarie and Dario Caso, plus Alessandro Brigatti, one of the most impressive rookies of the 2019 NWES season.
A special occasion for Lemarie
For Lemarie, sitting behind the wheel was a very special moment. The Frenchman turned laps on a race car for the first time in 16 years and found in the EuroNASCAR car a unique driving experience. He and Villeneuve are longtime friends and together they founded the Feed Racing academy, but were never teammates on track despite crossing each other’s path several times and even working together at BAR in Formula 1. They will tick that box in 2020.
"It was very exciting, really fun to drive! We had two very good days. It was my first time in 16 years and it was my first time in a NASCAR car, but I got up to speed quite quickly. Since last year Jacques keeps telling me to give it a try and in the beginning I wasn’t really sure to return behind the wheel. Finally this year I took the decision and I had so much fun. I really like the fact we can be teammates for the first time in our career," said Lemarie, who will make his racing return driving in the EuroNASCAR PRO championship.
"You really feel the car and you have to drive it with all your skills. It’s easy to approach and with no electronic aids it’s just you to push and find the limit. It’s pure racing and I can’t wait for the season to start, I’m really happy to be part of the series."
Lemarie will share the car with young Feed Racing semi finalist Simon Pilate, who showing great potential in the EuroNASCAR Esports Series and also took part in the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans while waiting to begin his rookie campaign in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
Villeneuve looking forward to the upcoming season
Former Formula 1 and Indy 500 Champion Jacques Villeneuve mainly focused on working with the new team and getting acquainted with Vallelunga, the track hosting the NWES season opener on September 12-13.
"It was pretty special after being away from the track for so long. The car feels pretty good and the track really suits it. You can find a very good rhythm around the circuit and it’s challenging also because there aren’t many opportunities to catch your breath. We wanted to get back up to speed and see how the car works on this track and most of all see Patrick back on track after 16 years," smiled the Canadian, who will enter his second season in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series with title ambitions.
"He did pretty well and I’m really happy we are finally teammates. When you reach the Formula 1 level and you’ve fought your entire life to get there and then you stop, it comes to a point when you don’t miss racing, but when you have the passion, it’s there for life. You just need to remember that racing is one of the rare things making you happy, making you feel alive, and the fire is back on. We found some very positive energy in the team and I’m really happy with the whole group."
Brigatti balancing studies and racing
Coming from a strong rookie season in EuroNASCAR 2 that he closed with a splendid podium under the rain at Zolder, 19-year-old talent Alessandro Brigatti is balancing his racing commitments with his Aerospace Engineering studies.
"We finally shook off some rust. It was mostly a shakedown for me but it was so good to be back on track after the last difficult months. I think this compact 2020 calendar may suit me well, because I come from karting and that’s what you do there: several events over a short time," said the Italian, who is sitting in the top-10 in the EuroNASCAR Esports Series and using the virtual competition to improve his real-life skills. "I don’t have a lot of time lately because my first year at university is keeping me super busy, but I think I’m doing well on iRacing. I’m often fast, I still have to get the results to match the potential. It’s also very good training. I started braking with my left foot on the simulator and it came pretty natural on the car when I first tried on track."
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will return to action on September 12-13 with the first round of the 2020 season at the Autodromo di Vallelunga in Rome, Italy.