SALZBURG, Austria – Former GP2, DTM and GT1 driver Mathias Lauda, the son of three-time Formula 1 World Champion Niki Lauda, is currently in his first season in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, where he drives the No. 66 DF1 Racing by B66 Chevrolet SS in the ELITE 1 division.
Lauda scored two top-10s in the first event in Valencia that put him in fourth place in the championship standings. The British weekend on the tight Indy Circuit at Brands Hatch started with a seventh place, but a difficult Sunday race, in which he was involved in an accident on a restart, left him fifth.
At the Tours Speedway in his debut on the .403 mile banked short track, the 33-year old Salzburg native rewrote history by passing four cars on the outside in the final laps to win the first ever NASCAR Whelen Euro Series oval race in the wet. Lauda left the French short track in third in the championship standings, 21 points behind leader Ander Vilarino.
The Austrian driver is really enjoying his experience in the official European NASCAR Series – which will also go to Germany for four races at the Nurburgring on July 19-20 – and considering his vast and eclectic driving experience, he’s an authoritative voice to speak about a championship in which he rediscovered the essence and the pleasure of racing.
“My feeling with the car and the series is great,” Lauda said. “I (haven’t enjoyed) racing so much (in) a long time. The races are so much fun. You can really overtake people with these cars and the way you can drive them. In my career I always drove cars in which overtaking was hard, because getting close to another car made you lose downforce.
“With these cars you don’t lose downforce, everybody is close to each other, the level of the competition is really high and it’s really up to the driver to make a difference. It’s tough racing, but it’s really fun.”
Lauda’s first oval win also made him appreciate how tough it is to reach Victory Lane in the Euro Series.
“I honestly didn’t expect it to be so great,” he said. “I thought overtaking in such a small track would be difficult, but in both races I passed many cars and made the outside work in the final stages.”