The Swiss aims to race for the title in the 2021 season
Last weekend, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series kicked off the new season at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain. Giorgio Maggi will be competing in the official European NASCAR series for the third time – and the second time in the EuroNASCAR PRO Championship for top drivers. Together with Hendriks Motorsport, the Swiss aims to fight for the title in the 2021 season.
At the wheel of the #18 Ford Mustang, Maggi is one of the fastest drivers in the 24-car EuroNASCAR PRO field. In the first free practice session on Friday, the 23-year-old had a good feeling on used tires in the V8-powered vehicle with around 400 horsepower. In the second practice session, the Swiss completed only three laps because of a gearbox failure. Then it was off to qualifying on Saturday morning.
Maggi had not yet gained any experience on new tires on the four-kilometer Circuit Ricardo Tormo because of the issues in practice. That’s why he first had to get used to the new reference points. After three laps, he found the way to drive fast laps. Although the car was very sensitive and difficult to drive, Maggi kept up with the leaders. He had a chance to move up to second place, but lost important tenths due to a small mistake. He ultimately ended up seventh on the grid.
On Saturday at noon, the first race of the 2021 EuroNASCAR PRO season got underway. The Swiss got off to a good start, but struggled with the car. The technical devil struck again, which is why he had to park the Ford Mustang after just five laps due to an engine failure. Luck of the draw: In the 2021 season, only 10 of 12 results will be taken into account, which is why his retirement will probably not be a factor.
In the second race on Sunday, Maggi didn’t really get going at first. He was boxed in by the competition at the start, which is why he dropped from seventh to twelfth place. The 23-year-old from Hergiswil then launched a brilliant race to catch up: he fought his way to the front until he got stuck behind former Formula 1 champion Jacques Villeneuve. He blocked it, but Maggi managed to overtake him. Maggi crossed the finish line in eighth place after 18 demanding laps. He also set the fastest race lap, showing he has the pace to keep up at the front of the championship.
“In qualifying, the car was difficult to drive because it reacted very nervously,” Maggi said. “I could have finished second, but I made a small mistake on my fast lap that cost eight tenths. Then in the first race I had to retire early because of an engine failure. In the second race I got stuck in a sandwich at the start, which is why I dropped back. After that, I managed to make up positions.”
“Then I was fighting for positions with Jacques Villeneuve, who really played up his experience. Although I had very good pace, it was very difficult to attack him. I was able to set the fastest lap but I’m not happy with the result. We have good pace and were just a bit unlucky. The weekend showed that we can race for the championship. We are confident that the right results will come soon.”
In Spain, it was blisteringly hot on Sunday in particular, with temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius. In the car, temperatures quickly reached up to 70 degrees Celsius. Maggi even burned his foot on the hot material.