Joining the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and immediately winning a title is something only a few drivers accomplished in eleven years of NASCAR racing in Europe. Luli Del Castello earned her ticket to the exclusive club by winning the 2022 Lady Trophy in EuroNASCAR 2 in her very first season in NWES. The CAAL Racing driver beat Alina Loibnegger, Arianna Casoli as well as Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc in the battle for the Trophy dedicated to female drivers in the championship. The Italian made a stellar debut and entered the series to stay and leave a mark.
Racing laid in her cradle as she has been joining her family on race tracks around Europe since she was three years old. In 2014, Del Castello started racing by herself in different touring cars and GT series mainly in Italy. The step to EuroNASCAR was the biggest to date in her diverse and interesting racing career. And with the win in the Lady Trophy, the 37-year-old added another trophy to her cabinet at home which is already filled with plenty of silverware from previous successes.
Her skills even brought her to cinematographic sets in various international productions: Del Castello is a stunt driver for several shows and performed in spectacular scenes in films as well as in Netflix productions. Her family owns a ski resort in central Italy, where the CAAL Racing driver grew up in the mountains surrounded by the astounding nature of the Appennini. Del Castello is a brilliant skier and works as an administrative employee in the family business, also serving as a ski instructor as well as the driver of the snow groomer.
In her spare time, Del Castello not only races fast cars but also creates art. The Italian loves to write novels, take photos and play the piano. Her creative side is a completely different part of her character as she describes herself as a persistent and persevering race car driver always looking for a way to improve. “These are the two skills that allowed me to reach my goals this year and win the title. I’m a person who never gives up,” said Del Castello, who had a strong debut season in Europe’s official NASCAR series.
It took Del Castello only two races to score her maiden Lady Trophy win: in Valencia she topped the special classification on Sunday by finishing 14th on the 33-car grid. At Brands Hatch, she added another victory on Saturday to underline her title ambitions in the Lady Trophy ranks against four other fast drivers. Her first ever perfect sweep came at her home track in Vallelunga, Italy. Del Castello topped the Lady Trophy classification in her #54 Chevrolet Camaro to take the lead in the standings.
After a tough race weekend in Most, Del Castello set the course with three consecutive Lady Trophy wins to end the season: Another perfect sweep at Circuit Zolder in Belgium was followed by her next Lady Trophy win at Automotodrom Grobnik where double points were on the line. On Sunday, a second place behind Loibnegger was enough to grab the title and celebrate the win in Opatja at the historic Kvarner Hotel by Liburnia Hotels & Villas. Del Castello is poised to defend her title in 2023 and hopes to get a shot to enter the overall top-10 with the experience gained in the 2022 NWES season.
“In an unique and incredible season like this there cannot be a single beautiful moment,” answered Del Castello when asked about her favorite moment. “Seeing and feeling the passion of the fans during the grid walk, competing in the most famous and historic circuits in Europe, meeting and racing against important and strong drivers, these are all magic ingredients. But if I really have to choose the most significant moment for me then I can say that Vallelunga was pure emotion! My first double win and my first top-10 in my home country, at the circuit where I was born and raised, was just phenomenal. I proved that, on equal terms, I am not far from the best. It was a great dream that has become a beautiful reality!”
About her Lady Trophy victory, Del Castello said: “Having won my first title is an immense joy, a great honor but also a great responsibility. I know I have done a great job with my team and my sponsors this season. This result is my appreciation for their constant work to achieve it. Next year I want to go further, work more closely together with my teammate to not only build a new personal milestone, but bring the whole team to the top of Europe!”
Del Castello made a strong debut year and winning the Lady Trophy title is not enough for the ambitious Italian. The CAAL Racing driver is set to attack and find her place in the top-10 and maybe, she will be the first ever female driver to win a EuroNASCAR 2 race. With a strong team behind her back and the will to improve, Del Castello will chase her next dream in EuroNASCAR to write another piece for the history books. The 2023 NWES season will start on May 6-7 at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain. It will be the first chance for Del Castello to show what she’s made of.