Before the finale of the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC) in California from October 26 to 28, Audi Sport customer racing has determined driver and team lineups: Two of the three Audi R8 LMS cars entered so far will be fielded by Vincent Vosse’s Team WRT.
Audi Sport Team WRT will be on the grid with Dutch Audi factory driver Robin Frijns from the DTM, title defender Markus Winkelhock and his Belgian fellow Audi Sport driver Dries Vanthoor. A second Audi R8 LMS of the Belgian team will be shared by the Briton Stuart Leonard, the up-and-coming South African driver Sheldon van der Linde and the Spaniard Alex Riberas.
After Audi with its drivers in 2016 and 2017 won the manufacturers’ and drivers’ classifications in the only worldwide GT3 racing series, the teams are now facing a major task: Christopher Haase, driving for Audi Sport Team Land, and Markus Winkelhock as the best Audi Sport drivers are separated from the top of the standings by 18 points before the finale, trailed by Robin Frijns and Dries Vanthoor who need 21 points to close the gap to the leaders. 25 points are awarded for a victory at Laguna Seca.
The situation in the manufacturers’ classification is different. Here Audi is currently in position two of the standings and able to close a merely 9-point gap to front runner Mercedes-AMG. A brand that scores a one-two result achieves a maximum of 43 points. “Five prestigious manufacturers have submitted entries for the series. Our aim is to defend the title in the manufacturers’ classification,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “The situation in the drivers’ classification is particularly challenging, but we’re going to leave no stone unturned there either.” The two Audi drivers with the best point scores will not be driving together for the first time in this IGTC season. In this way, Audi Sport customer racing is dividing opportunities and risks between two cars and Markus Winkelhock as well as Christopher Haase will maintain a theoretical chance of winning the drivers’ title.
In the opening round of the IGTC at Bathurst (Australia), WRT won the event with Frijns / Leonard / Vanthoor. Following a race in Suzuka (Japan), the California 8 Hours will mark the end of the season for the last time. Next year, a round in South Africa will complement the calendar as the season’s finale.
The Audi Sport Team WRT entries in the California 8 Hours:
Audi Sport Team WRT
Robin Frijns/Dries Vanthoor/Markus Winkelhock (NL/B/D)
Audi Sport Team WRT
Stuart Leonard/Sheldon van der Linde/Alex Riberas (GB/ZA/E)