On Tuesday evening, Team FJ crowned the inaugural EuroNASCAR Esports Series champion at virtual Circuit Zolder in Belgium at the end of a thrilling season finale. Points leader Andre Castro finished second in the 30-minute Main Event race behind Tobias Dauenhauer and grabbed the title. The DF1 Racing driver also scored 40 real-life Teams Championship points for his #22 Chevrolet Camaro in the 2020 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
Castro in control of his own destiny
After being third quickest in Qualifying and second in his Heat race, Castro had a clean start in the Main Event race and chased Dauenhauer after the first corner. With the German rookie in need of a win to keep his hopes alive, Castro knew that a top-3 finish would be enough to secure the title. The 21-year-old Chicago-based driver didn’t take any unnecessary risk and crossed the finish line 1.1 seconds behind Dauenhauer, becoming the inaugural ENES Champion.
"The math was going through my head all the time, especially in the last two weeks," said Castro after the race. "I figured out early that it didn’t matter what the others would do as long as I ended up on the podium. I tried to score the pole-position to get away from the midfield and eventual troubles. It didn’t work so I started third, but got a decent start and from then on it just worked out fine. It’s great to be the first ENES champion in history and it’s pretty cool to win the championship in my pajamas. There are so many people to thank: my team, my partners and of course the organization for building this great show."
Castro’s championship win gave DF1 Racing 40 real-life Teams Championship points for the upcoming 2020 NWES season.
Dauenhauer scores first ENES race win
Entering the Zolder event, NWES rookie Tobias Dauenhauer was still in contention for the ENES title. He needed a win and some external help but despite grabbing the checkered flag, he ended up second in the standings, bringing 35 points to the #50 Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang. The German led the Main Event from flag to flag.
"It was a great race for me and I wanted that ENES race win so bad," said Dauenhauer, who will make his NWES debut in EuroNASCAR 2 at Vallelunga in September. "I’m very happy as I did the best I could for Hendriks Motorsport today. This series was perfect for the drivers and also the sponsors. I want to thank everyone involved in building this championship in such challenging times. I’m a beginner on iRacing and I’m really happy with ending up second after such an exciting first ENES season.
Hezemans crashes early, Pilate earns first podium finish
Loris Hezemans, who entered Zolder second in points behind Castro, saw his title dreams shatter in the early stages of the race. The 2019 NWES champion had one of his laps disallowed in Qualifying and was involved in an early accident in the Main Event race, closing the event in 35th place.
After winning his first Heat race, Feed Vict Racing rookie Simon Pilate won the duel with Alon Day for third place, scoring his first podium finish. Alessandro Brigatti grabbed his first top-5 finish of the season behind the Israeli, who closed the season third in points.
Bryan Crauwels the best team member in the overall standings
With his fourth place in points, Braxx Racing’s Bryan Crauwels was the best team member in the first ENES season. The Belgian also played a key role in coordinating the development of the fixed setup used in the series. Reigning NWES champion Hezemans closed the top-5 tied in points with 2018 EuroNASCAR 2 champion Ulysse Delsaux.
After the conclusion of this exciting iRacing adventure, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will be back with real life racing on September 12-13 in Italy.
In the Teams Championship, the #22 DF1 Racing Chevrolet Camaro will start the season with 40 points, the #50 Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang with 35 points followed by the #24 PK Carsport Camaro with 34 points. The #78 Braxx Racing Mustang and the #10 RDV Competition Chevrolet are next with 33 and 32 points. The cars of Feed Vict Racing (#8 Camaro), Not Only Motorsport (#89 Camaro), DF1 Racing (#23 Camaro), Hendriks Motorsport (#18 Mustang) and 42 Racing (#42 Mustang) round out the top-10.