Technical issues curb the Swiss driver’s potential
Following his second-place finish in the 2019 EuroNASCAR 2 season, Giorgio Maggi competed in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series EuroNASCAR PRO championship for the first time in 2020. In the top championship of the official NASCAR offshoot, the Swiss driver drove the #18 Hendriks Motorsports Ford Mustang, which he shared with Vittorio Ghirelli from Italy. With the strong result from the previous year, Maggi went into the season with high expectations.
However, the 22-year-old suffered his first setback before the first race. During a test run, he crashed into the wall due to brake failure. “That held me back a bit at the beginning,” Maggi explained. “Also, the level in the EuroNASCAR PRO championship is crazy high and we expect it to go up next year. We lacked track time in this difficult year and also setup experience with the new technical regulations.”
At the season opener in Italy, there was damage to the shock absorbers, which is why the pace of the car did not match its actual potential. That’s why the Swiss had to limit the damage. In Zolder, it was the brakes that didn’t work properly, which is why there was no chance of a top result. Maggi showed his full potential for the first time at the Automotodrom Grobnik. In the new home of the NASCAR GP of Croatia, he secured his first EuroNASCAR PRO pole position.
“This pole position was the absolute highlight of the year for me, as it is proof that we can compete at the front,” said Maggi, who finished in a strong second place in the first race at the challenging track and secured victory in the Junior Trophy for drivers under 25. The NASCAR GP of Spain and the EuroNASCAR finale at Circuit Ricardo Tormo followed, the track where Maggi grabbed his first NASCAR win in 2019.
In Valencia, Spain, Hendriks Motorsports had to play with the setup a lot, as one setting worked on one car but not at all on another. “On one car it worked, on the other it was a disaster,” Maggi explained. In the last four races, the Hendriks driver finished in the top 10 twice. In the end, he finished eleventh overall and fourth in the Junior Trophy.
Maggi is sure that he can do much better: “We certainly need a dose of less bad luck next season. Both the team and I need to work on ourselves in the winter to get better. I have no doubt that we can do it and be up front in 2021.”
The 2021 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series consists of seven rounds at seven tracks across Europe. Maggi will compete in a total of 14 rounds in the EuroNASCAR PRO championship. It starts in April at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain. The series then visits Vallelunga (Italy), Most (Czech Republic), Brands Hatch (UK), Hockenheim (Germany), Grobnik (Croatia) and Zolder (Belgium).