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.