Max Papis to run team in NASCAR Whelen Euro Series

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Max Papis is now a team owner. The Italian, now living in Charlotte who has made his shift to NASCAR over the last number of years, will run a car in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series for 21-year-old countryman Kevin Gilardoni.

Gilardoni, who will drive the No. 99 car in the Elite class, has competed in the Eurocup Megane Trophy and Formula Renault 2.0 series. Gilardoni won the 2012 Formula Renault 2.0 Italia championship with eight wins in 12 races.

“I am looking forward to having a young and upcoming talent like Kevin Gilardoni in the Elite Series,” Papis said in a release. “He is a self-motivated young man and we will work efficiently to give him all of the tools he needs to prove his ability to be a front runner in NWES and in selected Late Model races in the USA, guiding him in his dream of becoming a NASCAR driver. We are currently finalizing our driver for the Open Division and hope to have further details available by the end of January.”

The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series opens April 12-13 at Valencia in Spain, with other events on the six race-weekend schedule at England’s Brands Hatch, Germany’s Nürburgring and the championship weekend at France’s famed Le Mans. In addition, the series competes on the first purpose-built oval for stock cars in Europe, Tours Speedway in France.

Papis will have his own first racing action of the new year at the Rolex 24 at Daytona next week, co-driving the No. 31 Marsh Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype with Boris Said, Eric Curran and Bradley Smith in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season opener.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”