The Swiss won the Junior Trophy twice and took second place
Nearly 50,000 spectators cheered on more than 30 drivers in the EuroNASCAR PRO at the ninth American SpeedFest at Brands Hatch’s Indy Circuit. The most popular event in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series has a very special atmosphere, which Giorgio Maggi also experienced for the first time since 2019 with tens of thousands of spectators in early June 2022. Carried by a unique event, the Swiss drove one of his best EuroNASCAR PRO races ever.
Things got underway on Friday with two free practice sessions in which Maggi set up his Race Art Technology Toyota Camry for qualifying and two races at the approximately 1.9-kilometer track. Things got serious for the 24-year-old on Saturday morning in qualifying, which was split into two groups due to the huge grid. Maggi managed to qualify for Superpole in his group. In the shootout for the top-10 grid positions, Maggi finished fifth, just 0.349 seconds behind the polesetter.
“We went a little more aggressive with the rear axle because the new tires tend to understeer,” Maggi said after qualifying. “In the end, it was a little too much, which made the car very sensitive in corner entry. That’s why I also made a small mistake. It was still enough for a solid fifth place.”
With a strong starting position under his belt, the Swiss parked his Toyota in the grid for the first race on Saturday. But before the famous words “drivers, start your engines!” were spoken, thousands of fans were allowed into the grid to look at the cars and get autographs and photos of the drivers. A long line full of motorsport enthusiasts and families who wanted to meet Maggi formed in front of the Toyota Camry with the starting number 18.
But then it was time to focus: 38 laps had to be completed per race in EuroNASCAR PRO. The Swiss got off to a good start and defended his fifth position. To be able to overtake at Brands Hatch, the balance in turn 1 – Paddock Hill Bend – is very important, as this is the only way to attack before turn 2 – Druids. “That’s exactly what was missing,” Maggi reported. “I’m very happy with fifth place, though.” With this, Maggi also won the race in the Junior Trophy for drivers up to 25 years.
In the second race, the Race Art Technology driver made even more progress: Maggi benefited from an accident between Alon Day and Gianmarco Ercoli and thus moved up behind Alexander Graff, who ultimately won the race. Maggi tried everything to take his first EuroNASCAR PRO win but could not get past the Swede. Second place gave him his first podium in NWES top division as well as victory in the Junior Trophy.
“At the beginning I was stuck in seventh place and couldn’t get past the car in front, even though I was faster,” Maggi said. “I was on GraffÕs back bumper at the end of the race, but since he was faster in turn 1, I couldn’t get past him. I’m very happy with second place because my starting position was not ideal and Brands Hatch is not a track where it’s easy to overtake. I thank the team for a really strong car. We’re making steady progress and I’m sure we’ll be up front at Vallelunga as well.”
Maggi sits sixth in the overall standings after a stellar weekend of racing near London. He is just 25 points behind Nicolo Rocca in first place. He also leads the Junior Trophy by a clear margin ahead of Jonne Rautjarvi and Tobias Dauenhauer. With the strong results from Great Britain in his luggage, Maggi will travel to Vallelunga, Italy, on July 9 and 10, where EuroNASCAR PRO rounds five and six are scheduled near Rome.