NASCAR Champ Bobby Labonte to Race for NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Title
First American NASCAR Champion to Compete Full-time in the International Series
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is about to get some American flavor.
Bobby Labonte, the first driver to win championships in two different NASCAR national series, will compete fulltime in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in 2018 in hopes of adding an international title to his Hall of Fame-worthy career. Labonte will drive the No. 18 Yacco Toyota for RDV Competition.
“Joining the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is a great opportunity,” said Bobby Labonte. “At the Brands Hatch race last year, I was definitely impressed by the competitiveness of the series. The testing we did with Fredric Gabillon last fall and putting this together with Franck Violas and the RDV team gives me a great advantage. Having the opportunity to represent Yacco as a sponsor on a global level just adds to the excitement, and I look forward to all the growth and new opportunities this could bring.”
The NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee made history when he became the first American NASCAR champion to compete in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, in 2017. He completed a spectacular comeback at Brands Hatch (United Kingdom) to notch a 10th-place finish in his series debut.
Labonte’s racing experience and success will continue to boost the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, which has grown into one of the most exciting racing series in Europe.
“It is a huge milestone for the Whelen Euro Series to welcome an American champion of Bobby’s caliber to contend for the title,” said Jerome Galpin, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series President and CEO. “This is another sign of the international appeal the series has delivered. We are proud to have a strong international lineup of 30 drivers and teams.”
“Having a NASCAR champion like Bobby Labonte compete in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is a huge win for fans and competitors alike,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief International Officer. “Labonte’s full-time involvement gives American fans an even stronger connection to the series, while offering our European fans a close look at one of NASCAR’s greats.”
Labonte joins forces with two-time championship runner-up Frederic Gabillon and rising star Ulysse Delsaux for the French title-contending RDV Competition team.
A native of Corpus Christi, Texas, Labonte is one of the most decorated drivers in NASCAR history. He is one of four drivers to win championships in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (2000) and NASCAR Xfinity Series (1991). He won 21 races at NASCAR’s highest level, including three crown jewel races – the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. He is one of 29 drivers to win a race in all three NASCAR national series.
The most anticipated season in NASCAR Whelen Euro Series history kicks off April 14-15 in Valencia, Spain with four nail-biting sprint races on the 4-kilometer Circuit Ricardo Tormo. The races will stream live on FansChoice.tv starting at 8:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, and 6 a.m. ET on Sunday.
About NASCAR Whelen Euro Series
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series was founded in 2008 by Team FJ, a motorsports company in Blois, France. In 2012, it became an official NASCAR-sanctioned series with Whelen Engineering partnering as the title sponsor. The season features six American-style events featuring 24 races. Two divisions – ELITE 1 and ELITE 2 – race on the top European tracks including road courses in Valencia, Spain; Franciacorta, Italy; Brands Hatch, United Kingdom; and Zolder, Belgium; and one oval speedway in Tours, France. The series attracts top drivers from around the world looking to advance to the top levels of NASCAR racing in the United States. Each event weekend has four exciting, door-to-door NASCAR-branded races featuring 400 HP V8 stock cars. Beyond the racing, there is family fun available around the track. In the purest NASCAR tradition, fans can up-close and personal with the action including a welcoming paddock atmosphere with drivers, teams and cars available to interact with.
About Bobby Labonte
Bobby Labonte, twice voted by NASCAR fans as their Favorite Driver, has built a personal brand based on his ability to connect with fans while representing some of the largest consumer and commercial brands and products in the world. His experience extends beyond the American NASCAR circuit, as he has made multiple appearances at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (UK), known as the world’s largest automotive garden party, and has also appeared at Autosport International (UK), Europe’s largest indoor pre-season motorsport event. Labonte has represented brands such as Coca Cola, Interstate Batteries, General Mills, Toyota, Clorox, Dow Chemical, Con Agra Foods, Universal Pictures and GlaxoSmithKline among many others. Labonte has vast on-camera and television experiences including acting as a spokesperson and appearing in television commercials. Since 2014, he has been a television racing analyst and is currently on the Fox network FS1, regularly appearing on the FS1 programs Race Hub and Race Day. Labonte also has a foundation in his name, the Bobby Labonte Foundation, that provides funds through grants to organizations that help build stronger foundations for children and their families.