Blancpain GT Series programme unchanged, with 5 cars entered in Sprint and 4 in Endurance
Driver line-ups significantly reshuffled
Tréluyer, Fässler, Winkelhock join full-season campaign; Mayr-Melnhof, Schothorst and Richelmi return; Stevens, Vanthoor, Ide, Mies, Frijns and Leonard as references; Green to make selected appearances
Berthon, Dennis, Venter and Caygill, the new young guns
Another exciting GT racing season is knocking at the door and the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT is determined to be part of it ! 2016 was another successful year for the Audis of the Belgian squad and yielded some more trophies to its collection.
Most notable ones were the two titles of the Blancpain Sprint Cup, Teams’ and Drivers’, with Enzo Ide, the FIA GT World Cup at Macau, a perfect farewell for Laurens Vanthoor, and the maiden success at the Dubai 24 Hours with A.Ferté-Leonard-Meadows-L.Vanthoor.
As GT racing becomes more and more competitive, keeping the trend will be tough, but the entire squad is ready to take up the challenge in what will be the eighth year of racing activity for Team WRT.
Blancpain GT Series
Once again, the bone of the GT program will be the twin series of the prestigious Blancpain GT Series ran by SRO.
In the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, five Audi R8 LMS will continue to be entered, with following line-ups:
#1 Enzo Ide (B) – Christopher Mies (D)
#3 Jake Dennis (GB) - Pieter Schothorst (NL)
#5 Marcel Fässler (CH) - Dries Vanthoor (B)
#6 Will Stevens (GB) – Markus Winkelhock (D)
#17 Robin Frijns (NL) - Stuart Leonard (GB)
In the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, there will be again four cars entered, with the following line-ups:
#3 Josh Caygill (GB) - Niki Mayr-Melnhof (A) – Jonathan Venter (AUS)
#5 Marcel Fässler (CH) - Will Stevens (GB) – Dries Vanthoor (B)
#6 Nathanaël Berthon (F) - Stéphane Richelmi (MC) – Bénoît Tréluyer (F)
#17 Jake Dennis (GB) - Robin Frijns (NL) - Stuart Leonard (GB)
Along a number of confirmed drivers, the 2017 line-up sees the full-season commitment of some iconic Audi drivers already sporadically associated in the past with the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, like Bénoît Tréluyer, Marcel Fässler and Markus Winkelhock, the return of Niki Mayr-Melnhof, Pieter Schothorst and Stéphane Richelmi, who were with the team in previous years, the GT debut of Nathanaël Berthon (who has driven for the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT in the Trophée Andros this winter and won it), as well as a significant injection of young blood.
Always attentive to promoting new talents, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT is delighted to welcome in its ranks three promising young guns: UK’s Jake Dennis (21) joins from a successful career in single-seaters that saw him in GP3 last year; also 21, Jonathan Venter has been mostly active in GT racing in Asia and his native Australia, while Briton Josh Caygill (27) has climbed the ladders mostly through Volkswagen and Audi trophies.
In addition, DTM star Jamie Green will make his debut in GT racing, replacing Robin Frijns at Misano, Silverstone and Spa, when the Dutchman will be taken by his F.E commitments.
Additional Long-distance races, of course, will continue to play a crucial role in the GT programme. The line-ups for the Paul Ricard 1000 kms and the Total 24 Hours of Spa, both part of the Blancpain Endurance Cup calendar, will be unveiled in due course.
The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT has started its programme of pre-season testing this week at Misano, the track that will hold the season-opener on 1-2 April.
Vincent Vosse, Team Principal: “It’s hard to believe that the winter break is over and that we are about to start the new season, which is our eighth in the business! We have been extremely busy preparing for 2017, and we are delighted to announce, one more year, a very strong programme, with the same number of cars than last year, and a terrific line-up. The Blancpain GT Series has reached an incredible level of competitiveness and it is going to be more closely-fought than ever. I am confident that our Audis R8 LMS, continuously developed with the support of Audi Sport, can take up any challenge, and I am particularly happy of the driver line-up we have been able to cast this year. It’s a perfect mix between talent and professionalism, experience and youth. I am particularly happy to see than a number of drivers we have worked with in the past are coming back, which proves that they believe in our competence and professionalism, but also appreciate the spirit and atmosphere that we strive to build daily within the group of people that constitute WRT. This is one of our greatest strengths and a key asset for this year too.”
> The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT committed to another exciting GT season in 2017