Name: Loris Hezemans
Birthday: 26th of May, 1997 (24)
Hometown: Amsterdam, Netherlands
NWES since: 2018
NWES Starts: 43
NWES Wins: 11 (25,58%)
NWES Podiums: 24 (55,8%)
NWES Top-5s: 30 (69,76%)
NWES Titles: 2 (2019, 2021)
Junior Trophy Wins: 1 (2018)
Xfinity Series starts: 5
Mexico Series starts: 1
Winning a championship is difficult; repeating is even more difficult. Loris Hezemans not only did both, but he did both at the age of 24 – the youngest driver to ever accomplish the feat – at the end of a thrilling 2021 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season in Vallelunga, Italy. Hezemans finished fifth in the decisive race on Sunday and was crowned the NWES Champion ahead of Gianmarco Ercoli and Lucas Lasserre.
The Amsterdam native joined EuroNASCAR through the NWES Drivers Recruitment Program in 2018 and immediately left a mark in Europe’s top tier NASCAR category. The Dutchman scored his first win at the Hockenheimring and topped the Junior Trophy standings by finishing fourth in the overall classification. From that moment on, the whole paddock knew they were dealing with a new championship contender in EuroNASCAR.
Hezemans’ maiden NWES title
The 2019 season did not kick off in Hezemans’ favor: despite not winning a race in the first seven rounds, the Hendriks Motorsport driver collected important points for the championship battle. He had his breakthrough at Autodrom Most where he scored his first win of the season and that was the start of a phenomenal stretch: Hezemans won four consecutive races and put himself in contention.
With a brilliant performance at Circuit Zolder, Hezemans became the youngest Champion in the history of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. In the 2020 season, the Amsterdam native was first under the checkered flag twice and ended up third in the overall classification. With 3 top-5 finishes in 3 seasons, Hezemans was keen to get back to the top of European NASCAR racing in 2021, while developing his career in the States.
Hezemans back on top
The 2021 NWES season started with a perfect weekend for the #7 Hendriks Motorsport team. Hezemans and his teammate Martin Doubek, the new 2021 EuroNASCAR 2 Champion, parked the Ford Mustang in Victory Lane in all four races of the NASCAR GP Spain at Circuit Ricardo Tormo. From that moment on, it was clear that the Dutch powerhouse would be in the hunt for all major titles in EuroNASCAR.
Hezemans scored his third win of the season in Round 4 at Brands Hatch and reinforced his title ambitions. At Autodrom Most in the Czech Republic, the Dutchman saw his teammate Vittorio Ghirelli and Alon Day in Victory Lane. With five drivers staying close together in the overall classification, it was impossible to identify a true favorite in the title battle. Day, Ercoli, Ghirelli, Lasserre and also Nicolo Rocca scored important points and made the battle incredibly tight.
One of the closest championship battles of all times
At Automotodrom Grobnik in Croatia, Hezemans and Day split the wins. In 2022 the 4-km track at the Croatian Riviera will host the EuroNASCAR Finals for the first time in the track’s history. The regular season finale took place at Circuit Zolder in Belgium, but Hezemans was not on the grid. He was in Charlotte testing the new NASCAR Cup Series Next Gen car and participating in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Even by dropping the two Zolder zeroes – obviously his two worst results so far – Hezemans entered the 2021 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Finals at Autodromo di Vallelunga in Italy with a 21 points cushion on the rest of the field. Once again, Hezemans was brilliant in facing all adversities at Vallelunga, but the battle was tight as never before.
Hezemans grabs the Tijey Trophy
In Final 1, Hezemans got a penalty for tapping Day’s back bumper that shuffled him down to tenth. While former Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve scored his maiden NWES win, Hezeman’s rivals closed the gap in the championship standings. Ahead of the last race of the season, Hezemans, Ghirelli and Ercoli were only separated by 9 points. That meant: Whoever would have won the race, would have become the champion for sure.
Hezemans grabbed the lead in Finals 2 but was passed by Villeneuve, who sped to his second consecutive victory. Due to the Canadian’s win, it was all about points between the championship contenders. Ghirelli’s dream of becoming a EuroNASCAR PRO Champion shattered when the Italian hit the barriers due to a brake issue. Ercoli pushed as hard as he could and overtook Hezemans but a second place was not enough for the Italian.
Hezemans took no risk and opened the door to fall back to fifth – enough to clinch his second EuroNASCAR PRO title. The Dutchman crossed the finish line and therefore became the 2021 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Champion. At the age of 24, he’s the youngest two-time EuroNASCAR PRO Champion of all times and with nice burnouts at the track, Hezemans closed a EuroNACAR PRO season full of highlights, emotions and tight, hard but fair battles across the whole grid.
The next US adventure for Hezemans
In 2022, Hezemans will join the NASCAR Cup Series – if NASCAR approves – and the NASCAR Xfinity Series in the United States as a part-time driver. His plan is to have the licence to do a full Cup Series season in 2023. His father Toine Hezemans and his business partner Ernst Berg founded the NASCAR Cup Series Team Hezeberg powered by Reaume Brothers Racing. The team will field the #27 Next Gen Ford Mustang in the upcoming season.
Hezemans already made 5 starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in his career. He debuted at Elkhart Lake at Road America in 2019 and added 4 more races to his records in 2021. His best finish to date is a 27th place at the giant triangle at Pocono. He also competed in the NASCAR Peak Mexico Series at Mexico City in 2019, where he finished 22nd. With his plans set for 2022, there is a lot more US American NASCAR racing to come for the new 2021 EuroNASCAR PRO Champion …