Labonte, the 2000 Cup champion, announced Monday that he’ll compete in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series this season.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of fun involved,” Labonte said Monday. “At the same time, it’s competition and going out there and racing against guys with so many different backgrounds. It’s exciting to us to be able to do all of it. It’s obviously being a part of wanting to see NASCAR grow.”
“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.”
Labonte competed last June in two series races at Brands Hatch, England. He called the experience “amazing.” Labonte finished 14th in his first race and 10th in the second race in a 22-car field.
“I had never been there before, the whole format is different than what you would find in the Cup Series or Xfinity or Truck Series, it’s a different environment and I enjoyed it,” Labonte said.
Labonte said he worked to return to that series again this year and things fell in place for him to run the entire season.
Labonte joins forces with two-time championship runner-up Frederic Gabillon and Ulysse Delsaux for the French RDV Competition team.
The 12-race season is divided into six weekends. Races are on back-to-back days. The season begins this weekend in Valencia, Spain.
The 2018 Whelen Euro Series schedule:
April 14-15 — Valencia, Spain
May 19-20 — Franciacorta, Italy
June 9-10 — Brands Hatch, England
June 30-July 1 — Tours, France
Sept. 15-16 — Hockenheim, Germany
Oct. 20-21 — Zolder, Belgium