Ander Vilarino is definitely one of the most decorated Spanish racing drivers on the European racing scene in recent years but also one of the most versatile Spanish drivers of the modern time.
He is a three-time champion and the most successful driver in a history of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, a two-time champion in the European Hillclimb competitions and, most recently, two-time champion of the Prototype class in the French-based V de V Challenge Endurance Series. In his CV, he also had championship titles in single-seater competitions (Formula Toyota, Formula 3) and rallysprint.
Ander has strong racing roots
Born in November 1979, in San Sebastian, Ander Vilarino Facal has strong racing roots, because his father Andres Vilarino was a multiple winners of the European Hillclimb Championship and European Hillclimb Trophy.
After trying first go-karts at the age 4, Ander was attending karting competitions until 1996, when he switched to car racing. His first competition was the Formula Renault Campus. Scoring two wins in his debut season, Vilarino finished 4th in the final standings.
Horrific injury interrupted Anders' career
He progressed to the French Formula Renault in 1997, but he missed the most of the season after a serious accident at Nogaro circuit. He almost lost a right leg but recovered for one more season in the Formula Renault. In 1999, he takes a sabbatical from circuit racing to focus on his university studies.
In that period, he experienced rallying, both on ice and asphalt, even winning some races. He also tried to drive father's prototype race car in hillclimb races.
Two Spanish championship titles in two years
In 2000, fully recovered from a leg injury, he returned to circuit racing and became a champion in the Spanish Formula Super Toyota, driving for EVR Racing team. He was a race winner in six of ten races.
Next year, he took one more Spanish championship title, winning the 2001 Formula 3 Championship with Racing Engineering team. He was a race winner six times.
Three seasons in the World Series by Nissan
In 2002, for the next step in his career, Ander has chosen the World Series by Nissan, joining the French team Epsilon by Graff. Scoring two podiums, he finished 8th in the overall standings and became the Rookie of the Year.
In 2003, he won two races in the World Series by Nissan but he was again 8th in the final standings. In 2004, Ander was disappointed with results and he left the team in the mid-season, after eight races in which he scored just one podium.
Two championship titles in the European hill climb competitions
After leaving Epsilon Euskadi, Ander also changed a racing discipline, starting to race with sports prototypes in hill climb races, but also in some circuit competitions. In his first hillclimb season, he became the FIA European Hill Climb Cup champion, taking the title which his father had been won once.
In 2006, he suffered an accident in the opening race of the FIA European Hill Climb Championship at Rechberg, which moved him from racing for the entire season. In 2007, he returned to the FIA EHCC and won the championship title in a Reynard 01L F3000.
Combining prototypes and rallysprint
In 2008, Vilarino continued to race with prototypes but switched to circuit racing, participating in the V de V Challenge Series. Scoring one, he finished 8th in the points. In 2009, he finished third in the points despite missing half of the season. He also returned to rallying, participating in the Basquian Rallysprint Championship with Subaru Impreza S9 WRC.
In 2010, he was so successful in the rallysprint that he won the championship, scoring five victories in a Subaru Impreza. He recorded his last rallysprint participations in 2011. It's interesting that he won one rallysprint race with his wife Irune as a co-driver, 23 years after his father Andres won the same race with his mother as a co-driver.
Ander Vilarino at Daytona International Speedway
Stock car racing debut in 2011, first title in 2012
In 2011, Vilarino's main competition was the FIA Euroracecar Series, the European version of stock car racing. He was driving a Chevrolet Camaro for TFT team, scoring two wins and finishing third in the points. In the same year, he participated in few races of the Speed EuroSeries with Norma M20FC (Honda) prototype.
In 2012, Vilarino fully focused on stock car racing, for the first time under NASCAR sanctioning. Scoring five pole positions and six victories in the #2 Chevrolet Camaro, he became a champion for the first time.
Ander Vilarino was the NASCAR Euro Series in 2015
Stock car racing debut in the US and two more European titles
In February 2013, Vilarino made a stock car racing debut in the United States. He was driving the #92 Chevrolet in the K&N Pro Series UNOH Battle at the Beach, the non-championship race at Daytona International Speedway. He retired after 98 laps, being classified 23rd.
In the 2013 NASCAR Euro Series season, he won seven times in the #2 Chevrolet and defended his championship title. He was on a pole eight times. He beat Frederic Gabillon in a title fight for just four points. Next year, Vilarino was a race winner four times but lost a title to Anthony Kumpen by one point.
In 2015, he was the NASCAR Euro Series champion for the third time, after scoring three wins in twelve races. He became the first driver (and still is) with three European stock car racing titles.
Two-time V de V Challenge champions: Ander Vilarino, Philippe Illiano and Alain Ferte
Two championship titles with prototypes
In 2016, it was a time for a change. Vilarino left stock car racing and returned to prototype racing, participating in the V de V Challenge. He was driving the #2 Norma M20FC (Honda) for TFT team, scoring four wins and winning the championship title. His partners in the team were Alain Ferte and Philippe Illiano.
In 2017, Villarino defended Prototype championship title in the V de V Endurance Series, in the same car and with same teammates. In 2017, Vilarino was also driving a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport in the GT4 European Series, participating both in the Southern Cup and Northern Cup, scoring two podiums.