Jan Heylen will step up to full-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition next year, teaming up with Ryan Hardwick at the wheel of Wright Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 R.
The duo will be joined by newly crowned GT Daytona class champion Zach Robichon for the four Michelin Endurance Cup races.
Heylen, who takes the seat of the now-retired Patrick Long in the 1st Phorm-sponsored Porsche, won the Michelin Pilot Challenge GS class championship alongside Hardwick, who missed several rounds due to complications from an accident and a positive COVID-19 test.
“I’m really excited, and I know this goes for the whole team, to continue this relationship with Ryan and 1st Phorm,” said Heylen. “We’re coming off of a strong season in GT4 with Ryan as my teammate, to now go back to a full season with Ryan in GTD.
“This is something we’re all really excited about. It’s something that as a team we’ve all worked on and looked forward to for some time.
“Ryan is the guy that is making all this happen, so I’m grateful for this opportunity.
“This will be my eighth year with Wright Motorsports, and it means a lot to be a part of this team, especially with John Wright and Bobby Vigilone’s support.
“Patrick Long contributed to this, introducing me to Wright and to Ryan, so I’m very grateful.”
Hardwick will make his full-time return to WeatherTech Championship competition after sitting out the majority of the 2021 season to focus on his Pilot Challenge program.
“The 2021 season didn’t quite go as planned for me personally,” he said.
“After a major setback in Daytona to start the year, I put my entire focus squarely on our Michelin Pilot Challenge GS program, and along with my teammate Jan Heylen, we accomplished our goal of winning the team and driver championships in that series.
“Now for 2022, I am directing all my energy and focus back on our primary GTD program. I’m super pumped to share the 16 car again this year with Jan Heylen, who has been by my side ever since I first drove a Porsche GT3 R at the Encore in Sebring way back in 2019.”
Team owner John Wright added: “Ryan Hardwick is a huge part of our team’s success this year and I’m excited for us to build on that in 2022 with him returning to race in GTD, for a third year with Wright Motorsports.
“Consistency in excellence and execution has been the focal point of our program for many years, and I’m thrilled to have Ryan and our partners back for a third season together.”
Silver-rated Robichon, meanwhile, will make the switch from Pfaff Motorsports, which is stepping up to GTD Pro competition with an all-Porsche factory driver lineup.
“[Wright’s] Endurance Cup championship in 2021 speaks to the level at which this team operates, and I’ll be looking to help them achieve even more success next year,” Robichon said.
“Ryan and Jan will be tough competitors for everyone in the overall GTD championship, and I’ll do everything I can to help them achieve their goals in the overall classification.
“I’ve spent a few years competing against this team, and I know how strong they are, the opportunity for myself to join this lineup is one I don’t take for granted and the season can’t come soon enough.”