The NASCAR Cup Series will have a new team next year as contenders from the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series have announced the intent to field a car on a part-time basis.
Team Hezeberg will be a joint effort between Toine Hezemans and Dutch entrepreneur Ernst Berg. Mooresville, North Carolina-based Reaume Brothers Racing (of the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series) will offer technical support.
The No. 27 Ford Mustang will be driven by 2019 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series champion Loris Hezemans who will compete in all road course races and, when approved by NASCAR, potentially some oval events. The goal is to be approved to compete on all ovals by 2023.
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“The introduction of the Next Gen car by NASCAR is at the core of our decision to build a team and join the NASCAR Cup Series,” Toine Hezemans said. “This new concept is the perfect challenge for us, and the model NASCAR built around the Next Gen car makes the American market even more interesting, generating opportunities for a team to prosper.”
Hezemans and Berg are friends who raced together in the 1970s and then sponsored a Formula 1 car in the ’80s. Hezemans won three European championships and all major endurance races between 1970 and 1978, including the 24 Hours of Daytona and a class win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Berg competed in the Dutch Touring Cars championship and had a season in the World Sports Champions and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“With Toine we have a long friendship that stemmed from our experience in racing,” said Berg. “During my further entrepreneurial life, there has been involvement in the commercial side of Formula 1, which gave me familiarity with the sport.
“Toine’s friendship over the years and his phenomenal input in the sport inspired me to pick up on an automotive collaboration we had in the past and NASCAR with the Next Gen inspired us even more to take the challenge of being involved. Now let’s see what we can make of it — we believe we can revive the tremendous fun we had in the past.”
In the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, the Hendriks Motorsport team debuted in 2018 and won back-to-back championships in 2019 and ’20. Loris Hezemans has 11 career wins in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and leads the point standings going into the Oct. 30-31 season finale.
Hezemans is not a stranger to NASCAR competition. He’s made three Xfinity Series starts — two this season — for three different teams since 2019. Hezemans finished a career-best 22nd at Road America in 2019, driving for BJ McLeod.
‘’I am out of words to describe the excitement of the future that awaits for us with Team Hezeberg, it started off with an idea in 2019 when we first heard about the Next Gen car, and now we are nearing our first ever Cup test seems simply surreal,” said Hezemans. “I am thankful to NASCAR for giving me the opportunity to participate in this test at the Charlotte Roval and gain experience as well as bring feedback to the team. Furthermore, I will be looking to continue working on my approvals for the future.’’
Hezemans and Jacques Villeneuve will drive a Next Gen car at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval test on Oct. 11 and 12.