Friday, March 27, 2015

Blancpain GT Series: A busy programme in 2015 for multiple title-defender Belgian Audi Club Team WRT

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Press Release

  • Four Audi R8 LMSultra entered in the Blancpain Sprint Series and three in the BlancpainEndurance Series
  • New Audi R8 LMS tojoin in selected enduro events
  • Driver line-upscombine experience and youth, with Robin Frijns and Jean-Karl Vernay as mostrecent stellar additions
  • Vanthoor-Winkelhock-Rastto defend their title at Total 24 Hours of Spa
The 2015 GT season is about to start and the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT is ready to take up the challenge of doing as well,or possibly better, than in 2014! The Belgian squad closed 2014 with animpressive string of titles, which included double (Drivers’ and Teams’) titlesin the overall Blancpain GT Series, the Blancpain Endurance Series and in theSilver Cup of the Blancpain GT Series, where it also clinched the Teams’honours in the Pro Cup. Last but not least, it conquered a resounding win inthe Total 24 Hours of Spa, undisputedly the most prestigious GT race in theworld. Defending all these titles will be a challenging task but also a veryexciting one!

The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT is prepared for theendeavour, as shown today in its premises in Baudour, Belgium where the 2015racing programme was unveiled to the press. The entire team is proud to embarkin what is the sixth year of partnership between the Belgian Audi Club, TeamWRT and the Audi brand, and also the sixth consecutive season in SRO-promotedchampionships. With a renewed and strengthened driver line-up, the outfit ismore committed than ever to excellence and thrilled to have soon thepossibility of taking to the track the new generation of the Audi R8 LMS racer.

Team Principal Vincent Vosse today summed upthe mood of his troops: “We are anxiousto be on the track again after the winter break. We have been recently testingat the Paul Ricard and twice at Misano Adriatico, but we look forward to the adrenalinthat only real racing can give. We are ready and extremely motivated. I amproud of the work that everybody has done during this preparation phase and Iam also proud of the excellent line-ups we have put together. They represent, Ibelieve, a perfect combination of experience and youth. We are very happy tohave a family of drivers that have been many years with us, such as Ortelli,who is part of the team since the very beginning in 2010,
Stippler, Vanthoor,Ide, Mies or Sandström, and also to having been able to attract people of thelikes of Richelmi, Frijns and Vernay, just to make some names, who bringmuch-valued fresh blood. Both things mean a lot to us.“

Vosse goes on: “Clearly, 2015 will be an interesting season. On one hand, we have thevery exciting task to defend many titles after a very successful 2014 campaign;on the other, it will be a year of transition, as the new generation of theAudi R8 LMS comes gradually into the scene. I am sure it will represent asignificant step forward, in terms of performance and reliability, as the newcar is the fruit of everything Audi engineers have learnt in the past years,and it is a privilege for us to have the possibility to run the new car inselected events. It is also a key year for Team WRT, as we have expanded intonew arenas, successfully debuting in ice races at the Trophée Andros over thewinter, or assisting a Japanese team in preparing the R8 LMS ultra they boughtfrom us and that will race in the Japanese GT300 series.”

While the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT hasfurther strengthened its staff, key top managers have not changed, with RenéVerbist overseeing all technical aspects and Pierre Dieudonné and ThierryTassin sharing sporting directorship duties. The squad is therefore perfectlyfit to embark on the racing programme outlined below.

Blancpain Sprint Series

The team will enter in the 7 rounds of theBlancpain Sprint Series four Audis R8 LMS ultra, all in the Pro category. Car#1 will be entrusted to Laurens Vanthoor and Robin Frijns, with the Belgo-Dutch23-year-old driver and former FR 3.5 Champion doing his debut in GT racing. Car#2 will be for Enzo Ide-Christopher Mies, with the two “Stéphanes of Monaco”,Ortelli and Richelmi, sharing car #3 and Frank Stippler-James Nash pairing incar #4.

Blancpain Endurance Series

Three cars will be also entered in theBlancpain Endurance Series. While the car entered in Pro-Am will be entrustedto French GT drivers Laurent Pasquali and Sacha Bottemanne and young DutchmanMax Koebolt, who all debut in the team, the two Pro cars will have somehowchanging line-ups, which will be announced ahead of every event. Still, the mostusual line-up configuration will see Laurens Vanthoor, Robin Frijns and anothernew addition, French GT star Jean-Karl Vernay share #1 and Stéphane Ortelli,Stéphane Richelmi and Frank Stippler driving car #2.

It is in this championship that, with thesupport of Audi Sport, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will have the opportunityto race the new Audi R8 LMS, recently unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. Oneunit will be used at Monza (with Nico Müller joining Stippler and Ortelli atthe wheel) and another will be entered at the Ricard 1000 km race for LaurensVanthoor-Markus Winkelhock-René Rast.

Total 24 Hours of Spa

Although part of the Blancpain EnduranceSeries, the Total 24 Hours of Spa is a race completely apart, as we all know.For the Ardennes enduro, Vanthoor-Winkelhock-Rast will defend their title atthe wheel of the new Audi R8 LMS, a model that also Ortelli-Stippler-Müllerwill have, with Frijns-Richelmi-Vernay being entrusted an R8 LMS ultra.

ADAC 24 Hours of theNürburgring

This year too, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRTwill live the excitement of the “Green Hell” and be part of Audi’s offensive,with two new R8 LMS. The line-ups for the ‘Ring are Laurens Vanthoor-EdwardSandström-Nico Müller-Christopher Mies on one hand, and Laurens Vanthoor-PierreKaffer-Niki Thiim-Chister Jöns on the other.

The first 2015 outing is round the corner, asthe Blancpain Sprint Series kicks-off on Easter weekend (4-6) at the CircuitPaul Armagnac in Nogaro, Southwest France. As customary, the Coupes de Pâques races of 1 hour each takeplace on Easter Sunday (Qualifying Race at 14:15 CET) and Monday (Main Race at13:10). Follow all the action (including live timing and commented TVwebstreaming) on

Photo credit: Audi Communications - Motorsport