Papis Fielding NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Team
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on January 16, 2014 | 11:13 A.M. EST
Max Papis will field a NASCAR Whelen Euro Series team with Kevin Gilardoni as driver this year. (Photo: Getty Images)
Max Papis will have a full schedule in 2014. He will serve as an advisor to Austin Dillon, look to run the Sprint Cup and Nationwide road course races for Richard Childress Racing and is adding the title of car owner.
Papis announced Thursday that he will field a car in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. Kevin Gilardoni will drive the car in the Elite division. The 21-year-old Italian has competed in the Eurocup Megane Trophy and Formula Renault 2.0 series.
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series begins its third season April 12-13 at Valencia in Spain. The six-race weekend schedule also includes events at England’s Brands Hatch, Germany’s Nururgring and LeMans.
Papis, who will compete in next weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway, says he has no plans to be the next Rick Hendrick or Childress but that he’s becoming a team owner “to be able to give back to the sport and do it in a series that is affordable and a series that I can make a difference.
“I look back to when I was in Europe at 15, 16, 17, I had a dream to come to race in America and I didn’t know how. I want to be the person that a kid like Kevin or a technician or a graphic designer that has a dream of coming and working in America. I create a small, humble platform where they can start their dream.’’
Papis said he plans to run Gilardoni in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and have him come to the U.S. and run in some Late Model races.
“He’s a very determined person and I’m going to mentor him as much as I can,’’ Papis said.
Said Gilardoni: “My dream now is becoming true, so my target is always to do my best, and over time, step by step with Max's advice, I hope to be (in the) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.’’