Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A superb 2013 programme for the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT

Belgian Audi Club Press Release

  • Three Audi R8 LMS ultra in the FIA GT Series and in the Blancpain Endurance Series
  • The Nürburgring and Zolder 24 Hour races also in the team’s diary
  • Belgium’s Laurens Vanthoor joined by international stars

The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT invited the press today at its premises in Baudour to present its 2013 sporting programme. Not a short one, it must be said!

The Belgian team will enter three Audi R8 LMS ultra – in 2013 specifications – in both the Blancpain Endurance Series and the FIA GT Series. In the new sprint series launched by SRO, Swedish driver Edward Sandström will partner with Germany’s Frank Stippler, while another car will be driven by Belgium’s Laurens Vanthoor and Monaco’s Stéphane Ortelli. «These two line-ups composed of drivers who are already part of the WRT family will be joined by a third duo, entered in the Pro-Am category, composed of Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof from Austria and Germany’s René Rast», explains Belgian Audi Club Team WRT team principal Vincent Vosse. «René has repeatedly confirmed in recent years that he is a top GT driver and Nikolaus has done an excellent season with Vita4One last year. The pair can certainly aim at the Pro-Am title! Our objective as a team is to do better than the third place conquered in 2012.»

The FIA GT Series will kick-off this weekend with the traditional ‘Coupes de Pâques’ at the Circuit Paul Armagnac in Nogaro, in South-West France. Saturday’s qualifying session will give a first glimpse of the 2013 hierarchy, while the one-hour Qualifying Race will start at 2:30 pm on Sunday. The Championship Race, also of one hour duration, will start at 2:15 pm on Easter Monday, following the Easter Cup tradition.

As in the FIA GT Series, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will enter three cars also in the Blancpain Endurance Series. Once again, the driver line-ups have been carefully selected, in cooperation with Audi Sport. «We have been the Drivers’ and Teams’ Champions for two years in a row, in 2011 and 2012 », reminds Vincent Vosse, «and we hope to do as well this year!»

To that end, the team has called in some of the drivers involved in the FIA GT Series. René Rast will partner Laurens Vanthoor and Stéphane Ortelli while Edward Sandström and Frank Stippler will be joined by German driver Christopher Mies, a member of the Champion trio last year. Another of the FIA GT Series drivers, Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof, will team up with the fast New-Zealander Matt Hallyday, who shone in GT1 last year, and Switzerland’s Rahel Frey, who joins straight from the DTM. This year, the three Audis R8 LMS ultra of the Belgian squad will be included in the Pro Cup category.

This double programme, which includes the Total 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, will be complemented with two other one-day races : the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring on 19-20 May and the 24 Hours of Zolder on 31st August-1st September. At both instances, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will be present with a single car entry. «It’s still too early to announce the names of the drivers at the wheel of WRT’s cars in those two races», says Vincent Vosse, «but what I can say is that we won’t go there just to fill the grid.»

No doubt: the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT is committed defend Audi’s nametag in the GT scene and the 2013 season promises to be busy and exciting !

2013 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Driver Line-ups

FIA GT Series
#11 Stéphane Ortelli (MC) - Laurens Vanthoor (BE) (Pro)
#12 Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof (AT) - René Rast (DE) (Pro-Am)
#13 Edward Sandström (SE) - Frank Stippler (DE) (Pro)

Blancpain Endurance Series
#1 Stéphane Ortelli (MC) - Laurens Vanthoor (BEL) - René Rast (DE) (Pro)
#2 Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof (AT) – Matt Halliday (NZ) - Rahel Frey (CH) (Pro)
#13 Edward Sandström (SE) - Frank Stippler (DE) – Christopher Mies (DE) (Pro)

Photo credit: Belgian Audi Club