The Swiss finished inside the top-10 in both races
The first race weekend of the 2023 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) season is in the books and Giorgio Maggi left Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain, with mixed feelings. The Swiss showed a strong pace in the #18 Ford Mustang of Race Art Technology, but technical problems hold the Hergiswiler back again and again. Nevertheless, the 25-year-old drove in the top 10 in both races and limited the damage with seventh place overall.
The 2022 Junior Trophy champion reported a good feeling in the car both in the private test on Thursday and in free practice on Friday. However, as the drivers were running on completely different worn tires in the sessions, there was no realistic way to rank the lap times on the four-kilometer circuit. The focus was on the drivers’ own data and, due to the track characteristics and the high temperatures, it was clear from the outset that this was going to be a tire battle!
In qualifying, Maggi qualified for Superpole, the five-minute shootout for pole position, with a solid time in Q1. “I was rather cautious in qualifying to save my tires,” said the Swiss, who immediately noticed a drop in performance after his first fast lap. He went into Superpole in ninth place. “In the end, it was enough for sixth on the grid, but it could have been third if I hadn’t made a mistake in my second attempt.”
Maggi started Saturday’s first EuroNASCAR PRO race of the 2023 season with a good starting position. For the driver from Hergiswil, it was not only about a good position in the overall standings, but also about winning the Junior Trophy, which Maggi could only defend once more due to his age. “I got into the race well and had a solid start,” he recalled. “But from the fifth lap onwards I was driving with blunt weapons, because the brakes broke down. What the problem was, I don’t know either, unfortunately.”
Maggi nevertheless fought for a place in the top 10 and was not put off by the fact that he had to use the run-off zone in the corners on one or two occasions because of the issues with the brakes. After a strong performance despite the handicap, the Swiss finished the first race of the 2023 season in tenth place. In doing so, he also secured third place in the Junior Trophy and was able to take home his first trophy.
In the second race, Maggi started from tenth place, having clocked the tenth-best lap time in the first race. Right after the start, the 25-year-old made up a few positions and lined up in sixth place. After an early restart, Maggi even improved to fourth and the podium seemed within reach. But then the #18 Ford Mustang again caused problems and Maggi lost position after position.
“After two or three attacks on Lucas Lasserre, the performance of the front tires dropped extremely and I could only get the car through the turns with difficulty,” said Maggi. “Unfortunately, the loss of power was very abrupt and not as progressive as I know from overheating tires. So I didn’t know if maybe something was broken on the car.” Maggi again did damage control and secured a solid seventh place. This placed him second in the Junior Trophy behind Ulysse Delsaux.
“It wasn’t a good weekend overall, but the pace was there and the setup felt pretty good too,” said Maggi, summing up the EuroNASCAR PRO opener. With 57 points under his belt, the Swiss driver sits seventh overall, just 14 points behind leader Lasserre. “We had a good setup for Brands Hatch last year with Race Art Technology and I think that we will quickly get up to speed there,” said Maggi about the next NWES race in Great Britain on June 17 and 18, 2023.