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Coming To America: German-Owned Team Revs Up For NASCAR Cup Series

With close ties to Charlotte and Chevrolet, Dennis Hirtz is ready to throttle his 3F Racing team into NASCAR’s top flight.

By Andrew Woodin
A general view of racing during the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway

In what will undoubtedly infuse an international element into the NASCAR Cup Series, German owner Dennis Hirtz recently purchased his NASCAR license and secured the No. 30 entry for his U.S.-incorporated and registered company, 3F Racing. While his racing team will be run by a German and several other native Europeans unfamiliar to the area, Hirtz knows Charlotte incredibly well because his family ran a medical technology company in North Carolina, according to Motorsport.com.

“Our goal is to develop steadily and become competitive quickly,” Hirtz told Motorsport.com. “That's why we have to allocate our resources well and make the right decisions. The plan is to build a classic NASCAR team and create a stable economic foundation. Furthermore, we want to stay in it for the long term."

Though Hirtz has taken the initial requisite steps to form a NASCAR team, unlike many new teams, looking to make a name for themselves, Hirtz plans to skip the Xfinity Truck series and target the Cup Series from the jump. With no current product, Hirtz is left with the difficult and financially burdensome situation of building out a multi-million dollar outfit.

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"3F Racing is dependent on sponsorship money, which is why we work hard to find good, reliable and loyal partners to whom we can add value, of course," Hirtz told Motorsport.com.

"We have a commitment from Richard Childress Racing, one of the most renowned teams in the NASCAR series, for an alliance,” continued Hirtz. “Importantly, it's not just a technical alliance, but a close partnership that even gives us a production line for our car in the halls of RCR."

That’ll be critical to the success of 3F Racing’s launch because spawning a new NASCAR team isn’t the type of feat that happens overnight. Between personnel, gear, the license and a never-ending slew of additional upfront costs, you’re looking at a conservative estimate of $18 million just to get things off the ground, according to RookieRoad. Fortunately, Hirtz’s connections means 3F Racing will be able to dip into the best talent pools the sport has to offer.

"Thanks to the partnership with General Motors, we can draw on the Chevrolet driver pool,” Hirtz explained. “For the ovals, we want a driver who has learned the sport from scratch. For circuits, Europeans, maybe even a German driver, are also a consideration."  

Though specific drivers are not yet contracted by 3F Racing, Hirtz does have a strategy in place to get to the finish line.

"We are planning five to 10 entries, and until 2025, we are pursuing the strategy of starting as a full-time team – then with just one driver,” outlined Hirtz. “Before that, we will race part-time with several drivers."

As for drivers, Motorsports.com identifies Christopher Tate and Ryan Vargas as two promising young wheelmen with ties to Hirtz, but considering he wants to field experienced drivers to help solidify 3F Racing’s initial leap into the Cup Series, he could have a bit of a bumpy road ahead of him. Recent European Formula 1 drivers Daniil Kvyat and Jacques Villeneuve failed to generate any success in their first part-time season.

Despite not currently having the chassis 3F Racing needs to operate even on a part-time basis, Hirtz appeared confident that his team will eventually make its debut in the NASCAR Cup Series during the 2023 season.

"They're clearly at 90 percent,” Hirtz noted. “We are on a good path and have already taken important steps. There are still some hurdles ahead of us, but we will give everything to overcome them and bring the NASCAR team with German roots to the starting line in 2023. We are looking forward to this challenge tremendously."  

Can't get enough NASCAR action? Catch up on “Race For The Championship,” on Peacock.

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