Technical problems and accidents through no fault of his own make for a difficult time
Giorgio Maggi had his sights set firmly on being at the front of the pack in the 2023 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) season in EuroNASCAR PRO and challenging for the title. Now the season is halfway through and the reigning Junior Trophy champion looks back on six difficult races. The #18 Race Art Technology Ford Mustang caused the Swiss from Hergiswil problems time and again, plus bad luck in the good races where Maggi was involved in accidents through no fault of his own. In the second half of the season, the 26-year-old therefore wants to strike back and fight his way back to the top with good results. With two dropped results Maggi still has the chance to close the gap to the top.
After two solid top-10 results at the season opener in Valencia, Maggi headed to the Brands Hatch Circuit in Great Britain in June. The Swiss traveled to the island with great ambitions, but luck was not on his side. In free practice, the power steering failed, which prevented the Ford from being optimally set up. Although the problem was rectified, the balance of the car also caused the 26-year-old problems in qualifying. From a nevertheless strong fifth place, Maggi went into the first race at the Indy Circuit, which he finished “unspectacularly” in sixth.
The form curve seemed to be pointing upwards, but the rude awakening came in the second race: Maggi struggled at the front, but the car was “extremely sensitive,” which is why even “the slightest mistake” led to oversteer. On the last lap of the race, Maggi was in a solid fifth place when he was forced off the track by a competitor. He had to swerve across the grass and finished a disappointing 15th. “We had a lot of potential, but the setup of the car was just too late,” he summed up. “The unnecessary contact then also dropped me out of the top-10.”
Everything was supposed to be better in the sweltering heat of Italy, at least that was the plan, but the Autodromo di Vallelunga did not mean well for the youngster either. In qualifying, Maggi made it into Superpole for the third time in a row, but with ninth place he missed the target he had set himself. “We just didn’t have the pace, but it’s hard to say what the reason was,” reported Maggi, who finished only 22nd in the first race. “The start was okay, I didn’t gain or lose anything. After the yellow, the throttle stuck at about 15 percent. It wasn’t dramatic, but I noticed it because the shifts became more difficult.”
But on the restart, fourth gear wouldn’t go in and Maggi lost a lot of places. Then the throttle stuck completely and Maggi had trouble shifting and braking. The heat made the brakes softer and softer and the braking power decreased lap by lap. This left the Swiss with no chance of keeping up with the competition. The only way to brake was to use the clutch and brake at the same time. When it became too dangerous, Maggi just rolled around the course until he had to give up. Due to the technical problems, Maggi was unable to burn a fast lap into the asphalt, which is why he only started the race from 17th place on Sunday.
“The start was chaotic for me, because the race control decided to leave gaps open in the field due to the lack of cars. In addition, the prescribed speed was often not maintained at the front,” Maggi said. “That created a lot of unnecessary movement in the field. It was a wild thing.” Maggi still managed to work his way up into the top-10 from 17th place before oil and water temperatures skyrocketed. The power from his V8 engine seemed to drop and Maggi lost position after position. “The pedals were also getting hot and the brakes were getting weaker, which was anything but nice,” he said. “Then the gas pedal got stuck, too. I had to pull the pedal back once and the cable broke and I had to park the car next to the track.” In the end, he finished 18th.
“We’ve been plagued by technical problems all season, but in between things are going pretty well,” Maggi explained. “We can keep up with the top, but we just lack the necessary luck.” The Swiss will therefore use the summer break to recharge his batteries and prepare for the races in Most, Oschersleben and Zolder. Due to the strike results, Maggi could still finish in the top-5 in the regular season, but to do so he has to be at the front of every race from now on. In the overall standings, he is eleventh, 68 points behind the leader, ahead of the NASCAR GP Czech Republic at Autodrom Most on August 26-27, 2023. Within reach is certainly the Junior Trophy, which Maggi could defend with a strong second half of the season. There will also be double points at the finale in Zolder.