Anthony Kumpen is aiming for his third European NASCAR title.
The 2023 season of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series kicks off next weekend at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain, with a two-time champion on the grid. Anthony Kumpen, who won the title in 2014 and 2016, is eager to add a third championship to his list of accomplishments.
At the end of last season, Kumpen made a comeback behind the wheel after a four-year absence. He returned to his home track of Circuit Zolder in Belgium for the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series event and drove a Chevrolet Camaro from the PK Carsport team. Despite a short preparation time, Kumpen proved to be competitive right away.
"This strengthened my determination to race a full season in the NWES in 2023 with one clear goal: to win the championship. I won't be satisfied with second place, that's for sure," said the 44-year-old Kumpen. "During the winter, we completed several test days and completely overhauled and fine-tuned the car."
Before his comeback in 2022, Kumpen hadn't raced in a NASCAR peloton since 2018. "The level has steadily improved," he said. "The European NASCAR grows every year. In fact, an American delegation is coming to Europe for the second race of the season at Brands Hatch on June 17 and 18. It's clear that they want to focus more on the European side of their organization. That's good for the championship, and it's also good for drivers in a transitional year like this one who can achieve good results, especially with a view to further activities in the States. This season is an important step in the growth process of the NWES, and it's nice to be part of it. I'm looking forward to it."
One thing Kumpen must keep in mind is his busy schedule. Combining his own racing activities with his role as team manager for the GT2 and Belcar programs of PK Carsport and guiding his son Henri-Constant's karting career won't be easy in 2023.
"I've been at a race track every weekend since February, and I only have one weekend off until the end of November," said Kumpen with a wide grin. "Occasionally, Henri-Constant will have to do it alone, but that's not a problem. It's part of the learning process."
"PK Carsport will also have to do without me on the pit wall for a while. We've put together a well-oiled machine over the past four years, and the organization doesn't revolve around me," Kumpen continued.
This busy schedule has also had its sporting consequences. "PK Carsport could have run five cars in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, but we're sticking with just one: mine. And that car won't be racing in EuroNascar 2, only in the Pro races with me behind the wheel. I didn't want to make it any busier, and it also gives me the opportunity to check in on the other circuits where we're working with PK Carsport between my driving sessions or races."
Kumpen's Camaro looks particularly unique. "I've always wanted to drive an Art Car," Kumpen said. "I just think those cars are cool. I enlisted the help of a very special person to design mine. But I'll tell you more about that later."
But first, let's race! Both races of the NWES opening weekend in Valencia (Saturday at 2:10 pm and Sunday at 2 pm) will be live-streamed on the Euronascar YouTube channel.