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Heylen Lands GTE-Am Drive in Dempsey-Proton Porsche

Reigning Porsche Cup winner set to embark on first WEC season in Dempsey-Proton Porsche…

Photo: Porsche

Jan Heylen will make his return to international competition, having been confirmed as part of Dempsey-Proton Racing’s lineup for the majority of the FIA World Endurance Championship season.

The Florida-based Belgian is set for a globe-trotting season in the No. 88 Porsche 911 RSR-19 alongside 2018-19 GTE-Am class champion Patrick Lindsey and fellow American Fred Poordad.

While set to skip next weekend’s season-opening 1000 Miles of Sebring to focus on his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship commitments with Wright Motorsports, Heylen is confirmed to be in the car for all remaining regular WEC races.

Heylen’s participation at the 24 Hours of Le Mans is expected to be determined within the next week.

Porsche factory driver Julien Andlauer, meanwhile, will sub for Heylen at the Sebring WEC round.

“The deal that we put together with me and Fred and Patrick, we decided last month for the good of both programs — mainly IMSA — that it would be better for me to just focus on one [series at Sebring],” Heylen told Sportscar365.

“[The Prologue] has been good track time. It’s been a good two days. 

“I haven’t been [racing internationally] for a while and as you get older it’s nice to be racing a bit in Europe again, closer to the family.

“It’s been a long time. It was always a choice. For the last 15 years there was really no desire for me to do it. There’s a reason I came here [to the U.S.].”

Heylen turned his first laps in Porsche’s GTE contender during a Goodyear tire test at Barcelona two weeks ago but gained his first experience with the car on Michelin tires at this weekend’s Prologue pre-season test.

“The better the cars are, the easier they are to drive,” Heylen said. “I hadn’t driven a car without ABS in a long time. The car is so good that it really came easy. 

“I’m really excited to be here. It will be a fun season. It’s something Fred and I have been talking about for three years to do something in Europe.

“With COVID and all of that happened. Then this opportunity came.

“There’s such a good relationship with everybody. Between here with PMNA (Porsche Motorsport North America) and also the guys in Germany too. 

“I think they’re all happy to see this program come together with the driver lineup we have.

“It’s a good place to be and I hope we have some luck and hopefully get some good results in.

Heylen, who won last year’s Porsche Cup, will have a busy year ahead as he looks to defend his Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS Pro-Am title with new co-driver Charlie Luck while also currently leading the WeatherTech Championship GTD standings after scoring class victory in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“WEC will be the one that will have the biggest learning curve but with the other two championships, we should have a pretty good shot at really performing well again,” he said.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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