NASCAR on Ice Is the Slippery Spectacle the World Needs Right Now
2023 will see the first ever NASCAR-sanctioned event run on ice.
NASCAR's presence in Europe is set to get more exciting, including an ice race on a frozen Finnish lake in 2023.
The 2023 EuroNASCAR calendar has been released, and is intended to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the NASCAR organization as a whole. It will consist of six NASCAR GPs, serving as the championship events, along with two non-championship All-Star events. It builds on a successful 2022 campaign that saw the field packed with over 30 cars at all rounds last year.
If you're unfamiliar with EuroNASCAR, also known as the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, the concept is simple. The series races NASCAR-style cars on European circuits. The tubular steel frame race cars are built by Team FJ. Teams run Toyota Camry, Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and SS body shells on the chassis. The cars run a 5.7-liter V8 engine good for 450 horsepower, sending drive to the rear wheels. The series began using four-speed manual gearboxes, though sequential boxes became an option from 2021 onwards.
The first All-Star event will be the Arctic Ice Race in Rovaniemi, Finland. Taking place on March 4 and 5 next year, it will see the EuroNASCAR field take to the frozen lakes in wheel-to-wheel combat. It's the first-ever NASCAR-sanctioned ice racing event, and it should offer plenty of thrilling action. Ice racing typically involves powerful all-wheel-drive hatches with four-wheel steering. Big rear-drive V8s should deliver some lurid slides as drivers attempt to muscle them around the course.
The championship proper will then begin in earnest at the opening round in Valencia, Spain in May. Following rounds take place at the UK's Brands Hatch, Italy's Vallelunga Circuit, the Czech Republic's Autodrom Most, and Germany's Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. The series closer takes place at Zolder in Belgium, with the final championship round worth double points to keep things exciting. A further non-championship race will take place in Grobnik, Croatia, with dates yet to be announced.
The spectacle of big American V8s slithering about on snow and ice is a compelling one. If you're planning to be in Finland next March, start making your plans now. The rest of us will have to live vicariously from across the Atlantic.
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