NASCAR has taken major steps to expand its international footprint. The sanctioning body has joined forces with GT Sprint Race to launch a rebranded racing series in South America.
According to a press release, the new series will be known as the NASCAR Brasil Sprint Race. The series will begin competition in 2023 while joining the NASCAR Mexico Series, NASCAR Pinty’s Series (Canada), and NASCAR Whelen Euro Series on the list of international competitions. The schedule for this rebranded series will be released at a later date.
“NASCAR is an iconic American sport, and we are honored to join forces to create NASCAR Brasil Sprint Race,” said Carlos Col, General Partner, NASCAR Brasil Sprint Race. “GT Sprint Race has delivered exciting racing to fans since 2012 and this partnership will help take it to the next level with the introduction of more NASCAR-style racing, including future races on oval tracks. This is a historic day for motorsports in Brazil, and one that will benefit race fans across the country.”
The GT Sprint Race Launched in 2012
Millions of motorsports fans reside in South America — 181,000 people attended the 2021 F1 Grand Prix of Brazil — but this particular motorsports series has been active since 2012. This is the year that former stock car racer Thiago Marques launched GT Sprint Race. The series last competed in 2022 with 18 races at a variety of road courses, such as Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.
Expanding into South America helps NASCAR reach a new audience and open up another pathway. Though three Brazilian-born drivers have competed in the top three national series over the years. This includes Miguel Paludo (81 starts), who most recently made three Xfinity Series starts in 2022 for JR Motorsports.
Another driver from Brazil that competed in NASCAR is Christian Fittipaldi, who made 16 Cup Series starts in 2002-2003 and three Xfinity Series in 2001-2002. He primarily drove for Petty Enterprises.
The most successful Brazilian driver who competed in NASCAR was Nelson Piquet Jr. He made 93 starts across the three national series between 2010 and 2016 while winning one Xfinity Series race and two Truck Series races for Turner Motorsports. Piquet also drove for Kevin Harvick’s team.
“Brazil is a vibrant country, rich in motorsports culture and community, and the perfect location for our first series in South America,” said Chad Seigler, NASCAR Vice President of International. “NASCAR Brasil Sprint Race will allow us to showcase the exciting side-by-side racing that defines NASCAR while giving Brazilian race fans a series to which they feel connected.
“It is our hope and intention that this series also opens more pathways for the country’s best drivers, mechanics, and engineers to advance to NASCAR’s national series in the United States, the worldwide pinnacle of stock car racing.”
NASCAR Has Bigger Plans for the International Series
Expanding into South America will provide new opportunities for more people to get involved in NASCAR and potentially make the move to one of the national series. It will also serve as another step on the path toward a major goal.
NASCAR now has four international series, which each have unique vehicles and championships. However, Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal reports that NASCAR wants to ultimately have a common chassis across the four international series so that there could be a global championship.
Another interesting detail that was in the press release is that there are plans to make some changes to the track styles. GT Sprint Race has traditionally competed on road courses, but NASCAR wants to make some changes to include oval tracks in the rebranded series.