Thursday, May 21, 2015

Blancpain Endurance Series: Belgian Audi Club Team WRT heading to Silverstone

Belgian Audi Club Press Release

The Blancpain Endurance Series is back with the second round of the season and yet another rendez-vous among the most traditional: Silverstone. In the fast and legendary Northamptonshire track, the Belgian Audi Club will try to keep the advantage in the Pro Cup standings, both Drivers’ and Teams’, resulting from the class top honours collected in the season-opener at Monza. The team will arrive in England following an epic triumph last weekend at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, as one of the new R8 LMS ran by the Belgian squad on behalf of Audi Sport conquered the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring, arguably the thoughest endurance race for GTs, with Laurens Vanthoor, Edward Sandström, Nico Müller and Christopher Mies at the wheel. It is an unforgettable first win on the “Green Hell” for the squad and one that left everybody quite pleased. At Silverstone, the Belgian Audi Club will race in its usual 3-Audi R8 LMS ultra configuration, with a fourth car entered under the Team WRT banner.

Team Principal Vincent Vosse, despite the cold he contracted in the long and chilly weekend at the Nürburgring, is a happy man: “Conquering the Nürburgring 24 Hours with the new car was really great”, he reckons, “It’s a nice one, that will stick out in our roll of honour and makes us proud, because it is not the ground that we know the best and it is probably the toughest race of all.” This being said, the team’s focus is already entirely on Silverstone. “Now comes another challenging one”, says Vosse, “as we will be faced with very strong opposition, and an all-time record entry for the Blancpain Endurance Series. Still, Silverstone should be more favourable to us than Monza and we will try to do as well as we can. We have had an excellent start of the season, basically winning at every weekend so far, and we will try to keep both the momentum and first spot in both the Endurance and overall standings.”

Car #1 of the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will be entrusted, as customary, to Laurens Vanthoor, Robin Frijns and Jean-Karl Vernay, with the young Belgian sporting his new status of ‘Ringmeister’. “The Nürburgring will be an unforgettable moment, it is such a difficult race”, commented the young Belgian, “Our objective was to go through the night without trouble and then charge. It has been a real sprint race, but the new Audi R8 proved perfect and the team did a wonderful job.”

There was little rest for Laurens, as on Monday he was at Spa testing the LMP2 car he will drive in his debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans! But now all his attention is on Silverstone: “It will be a big battle, on one of the fastest tracks of the season, but I enjoy the prospect and we are determined to keep the leadership.”

Car #3 will see Stéphane Richelmi joining Frank Stippler and Stéphane Ortelli, while a third car (#2) will be entered in the Pro-Am Cup for local hero James Nash and French GT Tour regulars Philippe Gaillard and David Hallyday. The latter is no new face to the team as he raced two seasons in French GT with Team WRT. An additional car in the Pro-Am Cup is under the Team WRT banner for the trio of ‘youngsters’ which debuted in Monza: Bottemanne-Koebolt-Schothorst.

The Silverstone enduro will follow the usual Blancpain Endurance Series format, with track activity over only the weekend days and the 3-hour race kicking-off at 2:45 pm (UK time) on Sunday.

Photo credit: Belgian Audi Club