The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is the perfect home for elite amateur drivers looking to compete with the best NASCAR drivers in Europe. The Challenger Trophy is designed for those drivers in EuroNASCAR PRO and the 2023 NWES season saw a true veteran rise to the top of the special classification standings. Fabrizio Armetta not only scored the second Challenger Trophy overall win of his career, but also stormed to the top of the all-time winners list, one victory ahead of Henri Tuomaala. At Circuit Zolder, the driver/owner of The Club Motorsports took home the title for the second time, nine years after his 2014 accomplishment.
Armetta had a perfect season with a total of five Challenger Trophy race wins and was nearly unchallenged due to his consistency. The driver of the #55 Chevrolet Camaro finished twelfth in the overall standings, beating out Thomas Toffel, who in the second half of the season mounted a charge towards the top of the points standings. The Rome native finished the season 44 points ahead of the Swiss and rounded out a strong 2023 campaign with another Challenger Trophy race win at Circuit Zolder to set a record.
1st: Fabrizio Armetta (310 points)
Armetta started the season strongly with four Challenger Trophy wins in five races. Only his The Club Motorsport teammate Riccardo Romagnoli was able to steal a win from him at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain. In the following two rounds in Italy and the Czech Republic, Toffel and Max Lanza also added their names to the winners list, but Armetta continued to score important points with further victories at the Autodrom Most and the Circuit Zolder in Belgium. These victories laid the foundation for the second Challenger Trophy title of his career.
Since 2014, Armetta has been waiting to strike again and climb back to the top of the season’s podium. The Rome native is now trailing Henri Tuomaala, who leads the all-time standings with a record three Challenger Trophy titles. In terms of race wins, Armetta has already made history with a record 21 Challenger Trophy victories. The 49-year-old overtook Tuomaala in the standings in the final race of the season, where he crossed the finish line in third place for his first ever top-3 finish in EuroNASCAR PRO.
2nd: Thomas Toffel (-44)
Toffel made the transition from bike to car racing in the 2023 NWES season, and pulling double duty in EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2, the Swiss driver had plenty of track time to tame the 400hp H-pattern V8 beast without any electronic assistance. The Race Art Technology driver used the first half of the season to get used to his #34 Ford Mustang and made a late charge towards the top in the second half of the season with a total of four Challenger Trophy race wins. The 32-year-old finished second in the Challenger Trophy standings behind winner Armetta by finishing 15th in the overall EuroNASCAR PRO standings.
3rd: Riccardo Romagnoli (-49)
Third in the Challenger Trophy standings was Armetta’s teammate Romagnoli, who had a decent season at the wheel of the #65 Chevrolet Camaro, finishing 17th overall in EuroNASCAR PRO. The Italian’s highlight was winning the Challenger Trophy race at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, where the 60-year-old took the checkered flag in ninth place. Romagnoli did double duty as a Toffel and also drove the car in EuroNASCAR 2 in a bid to win the Legend Trophy. The Rome native made good progress throughout the season, increasing his pace race by race. A third place finish in the Challenger Trophy was his reward for a solid outing with The Club Motorsport in the 2023 NWES season.
Featured image by NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese