Alex Cascatău will be behind the wheel of the brand-new Nova Proto NP02 at Spa-Francorchamps in the Ardennes forest as the 500-horsepower prototype will make its Supercar Challenge debut this weekend during the Spa Racing Festival.
It’s been two years since Alex Cascatău marched in dominant fashion towards the GT & Prototype Challenge title, the upper echelon of the Dutch-based Supercar Challenge utterly dominated by the Romanian in the CN category. Now, having left the series part-way through 2021, Alex is ready to return having been tasked with handling the regional debut of a brand-new and very exciting car, the Nova Proto NP02.
Spa-Francorchamps is a track that will always be near and dear for Alex. It’s at Spa that Alex scored his first class victory in Belcar back when he was racing for Van der Horst Motorsport. It’s also there that he made his 24H Series debut, and he will now return to the famous host of the Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix to drive what may well be the fastest car he’s ever driven. Built by Nova Proto (formerly known as Norma), the car will be entered by Deldiche Racing, Alex’s rivals from his time in both Belcar and the GT & Prototype Challenge. The established team from Antwerp has hand-picked Alex together with Thomas Piessens to give the NP02 its first competitive outing in the Supercar Challenge during the “Spa Racing Festival” on 15-16 October.
The car, built by the same people who put together the M20 FC that took Cascatău and Alain Berg to the GT & Prototype Challenge title back in ’20, has shown impressive pace already and if you read its spec sheet you can easily tell why. Powered by a Ford-Coyote 5.0-liter V-8 engine, the NP02 boasts with 500 horsepower and 550 newton-meters of torque that have to move just 805 kilograms of weight – less than what a hybrid-era F1 car tips the scales at. With so much raw grunt, the Norma is most likely quicker than an LMP3 car in qualifying trim and has already impressed since its introduction late last year.
The showed impressive pace in last weekend’s Ultimate Cup Series race at Magny COours. In terms of its performance, it’s in the same bracket as the Ginetta G58 V8 which is another car that Alex has raced against – and has beaten – in the past.
Now it is time to see how hard it is to jump from a Peugeot 206 to a thoroughbred racer like the Nova Proto, especially around Europe’s trickiest Grand Prix course.
Free practice 1 | 10:10 local time
Free practice 2 | 13:00 local time
Qualifying | 16:25 local time
Race 1 (60 min + 1 lap) | 14:20 local time
Race 2 (60 min + 1 lap) | 13:45 local time
Alex Cascatău: „The pieces of this puzzle that has gotten me to this point are hard to explain, as my original plan was to race in the Michelin Le Mans Cup season finale, in LMP3. Having said that, I am immensely proud and grateful that Deldiche Racing has afforded me the chance to race this brand-new prototype around a track I love so much. I know that there’s a lot of responsibility lying on my shoulders given that this is the Benelux debut for the NP02, but this is the sort of challenge that I thrive on.”