Vittorio Ghirelli joins Michael Bleekemolen on the #72 Chevrolet Camaro 

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Klemen Sofric

Team Bleekemolen filled its second of three cars for the 2023 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season. Former Formula One driver and the oldest driver on the grid, Michael Bleekemolen, will be joined by EuroNASCAR PRO title contender Vittorio Ghirelli. The Italian is eager to join Bleekemolen at the wheel of the #72 Chevrolet Camaro. The 2020 EuroNASCAR 2 champion is ready to take the next step and grab the NWES championship ring. 

Ghirelli joined Europe’s official NASCAR series in 2019 and immediately took a win at the Raceway Venray oval. After finishing third in his rookie season, the former GP2 driver won the EuroNASCAR 2 championship at the end of a great battle with Tobias Dauenhauer. Since moving up to EuroNASCAR PRO in 2021, the Rome resident has become a title contender in the top NWES championship, finishing fifth in his first season and collecting two more podium finishes in 2022. 

“My goal is to win the EuroNASCAR PRO championship and I will do my best to achieve this success with Team Bleekemolen,” said the 28-year-old, who runs a business in the events industry and real estate. “What I love about EuroNASCAR is the fans at the track. They are so passionate about racing and I want to give them a good show.” The former AutoGP World Champion and soccer fan has already tested the #72 Chevrolet Camaro with the team in April at the new home of the NASCAR GP Germany, the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben.

At 73, Michael Bleekemolen will once again be the oldest driver on the grid, but his experience could be the key to winning the Legend Trophy for EuroNASCAR 2 drivers aged 40 and over. The Dutchman is returning to racing after a horrific skiing accident over the winter, but despite a long rehabilitation period, Bleekemolen will make it to the grid when the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series kicks off the 2023 season at Circuit Ricardo Tormo. The Amsterdam native will be competing in his fifth EuroNASCAR season. 

“I love the old school racing in EuroNASCAR and I’m here to win the Legend Trophy,” said Bleekemolen, who has topped the special classification in three races. “I’ve been in motorsport for 53 years now and I’ve raced in Formula One. I’m really looking forward to starting the season in Valencia.” Like his son, Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, Michael is involved in the family business, which includes driving experiences at Circuit Park Zandvoort and two indoor facilities in the Netherlands.

The 2023 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season will start on May 6-7 at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain. All qualifying and race sessions will be broadcast on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, and various television services around the world. Team Bleekemolen will be busy servicing a total of three cars. With Ghirelli and Bleekemolen, the #72 Chevrolet Camaro has the potential to make more than one visit to Victory Lane.


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