Former Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup champion Vincent Abril will join Bentley Team Absolute for the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX races, the British manufacturer has confirmed.
Abril is set to team up with season-long driver Adderly Fong in the No. 88 Bentley Continental GT3 for the five-round championship, beginning with the season-opening round at Virginia International Raceway later this month.
Swiss driver Alex Imperatori, meanwhile, has been confirmed in Absolute’s sister Bentley for the first two SprintX events alongside Yufeng Luo.
It will mark Abril’s U.S. racing debut, although the 22-year-old Frenchman will be in similar surroundings in both knowing the car and the multi-driver sprint race format.
“I’m very, very grateful that Bentley decided to put me there to represent them as a works driver,” Abril told Sportscar365. “It’s an honor. For Bentley Team Absolute, it’s a great partnership I think.”
Abril is the latest factory driver to join the SprintX grid, alongside Porsche aces Laurens Vanthoor and Joerg Bergmeister, Cadillac’s Ricky and Jordan Taylor, as well as Jonny Kane and Ben Barnicoat of McLaren GT.
“It wasn’t a secret that I wanted to race in the U.S. I’m a big fan, not only of the U.S. in general, but the attitude there,” Abril said.
“I did mention it when I re-signed my contract this year. Bentley has a partner with Absolute, so the transition worked out.”
Abril will have a busy year ahead, also competing in the Blancpain GT Series for the factory M-Sport squad, where he is coming off a podium finish in the Sprint Cup season-opener at Misano earlier this month.
“We recognized Vince’s talent early on and, after a year of supporting him as he raced for our European customer team, we selected him to race for our works team,” said Bentley Motorsport Director Brian Gush.
“He is a great representative for Bentley on a global level and we are proud to be sending him to the USA to embark on a new challenge for himself and the brand.”
As many as 30 cars are expected for the SprintX season, including a large number competing for overall honors in the Pro class.