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Tarso Marques, Minardi PS01 European
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Interview

The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team

Saddled with uncompetitive Minardi machinery, Tarso Marques didn't manage to score points in his three partial seasons of Formula 1. But now the Brazilian has the chance to show what he can do in NASCAR, and explains the story of his comeback with new Cup Series entrant Team Stange

Jacques Villeneuve hit the headlines in February by qualifying for NASCAR’s biggest race, the Daytona 500, aged 50. And he’s not the only driver from the 1996 Formula 1 rookie crop to have set his sights on a successful crossover to the Cup Series this year, although the 1997 world champion’s career bears little resemblance to that of Tarso Marques beyond the 24 times they shared a grand prix grid. True to his career to date, the Brazilian’s NASCAR bow will be with an underdog outfit in Cup newcomer Team Stange, whose owners had originally targeted a move into IndyCar…

The story starts with a supercar that 46-year-old Marques, who ceased racing in the Brazilian Stock Car championship after the 2018 season to focus on his burgeoning custom car and motorcycle company, built with the aim of creating the ultimate trackday weapon. Capable of up to 1200 horsepower, according to Marques, the TMC M1 attracted interest from investors in the United States and contact was made via occasional ARCA team entrant John Stange. They had first crossed paths at Long Beach in 2004, when Marques was racing in Champ Car for Dale Coyne, and Stange had brought Yoke TV sponsorship to the minnow squad.

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