Zack Albert | NASCAR Digital Media
CONCORD, NC – The NASCAR Cup Series will add a European flair to some Cup Series events next season with the Hezeberg roster for 2022.
The organization unveiled the No.27 Ford Next Gen – dressed in orange to reflect the roots of the team’s founders in the Netherlands – on Saturday morning at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The part-time effort is a joint venture between former sports car driver Toine Hezemans, Dutch businessman Ernst Berg and Reaume Brothers Racing, which will manage operations from its Mooresville, North Carolina store.
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Loris Hezemans, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series champion and points leader, will be the main driver, focused on competing in all six road races on the 2022 calendar. The 24-year-old Dutchman is set to compete in his fourth career Xfinity Series race in Drive for the Cure 250 (3 p.m. ET, NBC / NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Charlotte Roval.
Hezemans said he first saw a Next Gen prototype during a trip to the United States to celebrate its 2019 Euro Series championship at the NASCAR Awards ceremonies. Seeing the new Cup Series model in person and noting the similarities to its current ride in Europe has planted a seed, Hezemans said.
“We were interested in seeing what would be possible,” Hezemans said. “It’s amazing to finally be here yesterday to finally see the car for the first time. I don’t even have words to describe it – a very exciting time.
The new team are expected to take part in an organizational test on Monday and Tuesday at the 2.28-mile Charlotte track, with Hezemans sharing time with race veteran Jacques Villeneuve during the two-day session. Villeneuve, the 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner, has spent part of the last two seasons in the Whelen Euro Series and made four Cup Series starts – the most recent in 2013.
Hezeberg representatives have left the door open to adding more events to the team’s racing program, with the possibility that Villeneuve may also share driving duties next year.
Team owner Josh Reaume said on Saturday his group will host Operation Hezeberg alongside his current two-team effort in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He said his Reaume Brothers Racing group had not stopped their plans for 2022 in Camping World Trucks, but was optimistic about the new partnership.
“Anyone who’s found out we’re playing in the Cup is like, ‘Get ready, it’s a lot of work,’ Reaume said. “It’s a big schedule. Obviously, we start small and we grow. I think it’s dynamic right now. There are a lot of factors for us at Reaume Brothers Racing that are still pending. We haven’t signed anyone for next year for our trucks, but there is certainly a big investment here. It is a great opportunity for us to grow, learn and develop our business.
It is also an opportunity for the NASCAR Premier Division to find new talent, expanding its reach in the international circuits of the sanctioning body. The Whelen Euro series – as well as the Canada-based Pinty’s series and the NASCAR Peak Mexico series – cannot be considered a traditional development tour for the three national NASCAR series. Chad Seigler – NASCAR vice president of international affairs – said he hopes Saturday’s announcement is a step towards changing that perception.
“I think that obviously made people open their eyes, and it’s going to make our partners in Canada and our partners in Mexico start looking and saying there is a way,” said Seigler, vice-president. president of international affairs of NASCAR. “The important thing for us is really to show the riders the way. As I mentioned, we talk a lot about Daniel Suarez’s path (from the Mexico Series to the Cup), but for a rider to get into the Euro Series and say there’s a path for me to going to the United States, I think that’s the big goal for us right now.