WRT boss Vincent Vosse says the outcome of the team’s LMP2 debut in this weekend’s European Le Mans Series round at Spa will be important for a potential full-time campaign in 2017.
The Belgian squad announced last week that it will field a Ligier JS P2 Judd, the former chassis of SO24! by Lombard Racing, for Will Stevens and brothers Laurens and Dries Vanthoor in the four-hour race.
“It came up two weeks ago. It’s a good opportunity to see what the future might hold,” Vosse told Sportscar365.
“Le Mans is one of the big races in the world and there are only two categories that are reachable for us, that is GTE and LMP2.
“I never had a real opportunity in the past. It’s just a one-off, I cannot say anything else at the moment.”
The multi-time Blancpain GT Series championship-winning team is already very busy with several series in its current portfolio, although it is not likely to give up its successful GT3 operation for a shot at Le Mans.
“The category that is doing the best for the moment is GT3; there is no other category that can compete against it,” Vosse said.
At the same time, Vosse hasn’t ruled out a venture into LMP2, as leverage to the SRO-run championship.
“I’ve always been involved with SRO and it’s still the case, but I have to say I’m not that interested anymore in [Blancpain GT] Endurance with these new pitstop regulations and so on,” he said.
“I have less interest, but we will probably still compete.”
WRT’s involvement in TCR is also locked in, with Vosse predicting a bright future for the global touring car formula, which might result in a reduced presence in Blancpain GT.
“I think TCR will grow in quite a big way in the next few years,” he said. “It’s very important because I expect around 15 manufacturers will be involved by the end of next year.”
The 2006 ELMS GT1 champion also pointed out that Stevens was not one of the driving forces behind the project, although his WEC LMP2 background is certainly a valuable asset.
“Will already has experience with Manor and G-Drive, Laurens did two years with the Ligier, and Dries is the best silver you can get,” he said.
WRT will run the operation with its own crew led by Pierre Dieudonné, who was already involved with Panis-Barthez Compétition up until Le Mans, along with some support from Onroak, including a systems engineer.
The team had its first hands on experience with the Ligier JS P2 at Magny-Cours on Tuesday, where the new Ligier SJ P217 was also testing.
“We’ll see what comes out of that race at Spa. If we make mistakes and problems happen, it will probably be a one-off. But if everything goes very well, something will probably come out of it,” he said.
“It’s too early to say. We are interested, but only when we have the budget to it properly.
“The budget is not in my pocket, but in someone else’s. People now know we’re interested and might take notice.”
While Vosse’s ultimate goal is to take WRT to Le Mans one day, he is not willing to skip a step in the process of getting there.
“A WEC entry gives you the right to be at Le Mans, but it’s mega expensive. We need the budget to come from the drivers.
“I prefer to have a lineup that’s very strong in ELMS with a chance of doing Le Mans, than being in WEC just to look around.”