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Next Gen Cars Bring In Next Gen Owners

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, October 9 2021

NASCAR opened up its new car showroom last May. The did not go unobserved in Europe. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

CONCORD, N.C. – NASCAR’s Next Gen car was cited Saturday by Team Hezeberg co-owners Toine Hezemans and Ernst Berg as the primary reason they elected to venture into American stock car racing in 2022.

“It is now a more European-style car,” Hezemans says about the car NASCAR is introducing next year. “It has independent suspension, a sequential gear box, 18-inch wheels … it’s really comparable more or less with what we have in Europe.”   

Loris Hezemans, the 2019 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series champion, and Jacques Villeneuve, will drive the team’s No. 27 Ford Mustang during the Next Gen test scheduled for Monday and Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s ROVAL.  The 24-year-old Hezemans plans to compete in the six Cup road course events and run a limited Xfinity Series schedule next year. A crew chief has yet to be named. The team is receiving technical support from Mooresville, N.C.-based Reaume Brothers Racing. Team Hezeberg’s entry into the sport marks the first time a team from the Netherlands has entered NASCAR’s Cup Series.

“I am trying to build up my NASCAR license to be able in the years to come to be fully approved for Cup,” said the younger Hezemans, who leads the European point standings heading into the Oct. 30-31 season finale at Vallelunga, Italy, and has competed in four Xfinity races.

Loris Hezemans, who has competed in four Xfinity races, entered the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in 2018 after competing in the International scene in WTCR, Blancpain GT Series and ADAC GT Masters. He won the NWES Junior Trophy classification for drivers age 25 and younger. The following year Hezemans won the European NASCAR title at age 22, making him the youngest ever EuroNASCAR champion. He also made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut in 2019 at Road America.

The elder Hezemans and Berg raced together in the 1970s and sponsored a Formula One team in the 1980s. Hezemans won three European championships and every major endurance race between 1970 and 1978, including the 24 Hours of Daytona and the Targa Florio as well as a class victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, Hezemans is behind the Hendriks Motorsport campaign. Since the team made its debut in 2018, it has won back-to-back team championships, 2019 and 2020, the EuroNASCAR PRO driver’s title in 2019 and the EuroNASCAR 2 driver’s championship in 2020. 

Berg’s racing career revolved more around the Dutch Touring Cars championship and was highlighted by a season in the World Sportscar Championship and the 24 Hour of Le Mans.  

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, October 9 2021
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