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WRT Adds Third LMP2 Entry Involving GT3 Stars

WRT signs GT3 competitors Bortlotti, Vanthoor, Ineichen for extra LMP2 entry at Le Mans…

Photo: MPS Agency

Team WRT has added a third Oreca 07 Gibson to its lineup for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and signed GT3 stars Mirko Bortolotti and Dries Vanthoor for the occasion.

Bortolotti and Vanthoor will share the additional WRT machine with Rolf Ineichen, bringing a trio of drivers with high GT racing experience into the prototype ranks.

Bortolotti and Ineichen are each set for their LMP2 debuts, while Vanthoor drove a WRT-run Ligier JS P2 Honda at the European Le Mans Series 4 Hours of Spa in 2016.

Bortolotti is a Lamborghini Squadra Corse factory driver and Vanthoor is contracted to Audi Sport.

All three members of WRT’s latest LMP2 crew have previously represented the team in GT3 competition, with Vanthoor winning last year’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS combined and Sprint titles with the Belgian outfit.

Bortolotti raced with WRT in 2020 during his one-year stint as an Audi factory driver and shared an Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo with Ineichen in ADAC GT Masters.

The announced Le Mans trio also contested the Rolex 24 at Daytona together in 2020 and finished on the GTD class podium.

“To be debuting at this legendary race in LMP2 is surely an amazing feeling and I can’t wait to get starting,” said Bortolotti.

“A special thanks to Lamborghini Squadra Corse for granting me permission to do so and to Team WRT for the unique opportunity and the trust.

“There will be a lot to learn in a short amount of time, but having successfully worked with Team WRT in the past will certainly make the process smoother.”

Audi ace Vanthoor previously tackled Le Mans in the production-based ranks and won the GTE-Am class with Ferrari customer JMW Motorsport in 2017.

The Belgian also took an emphatic pole position in the GTE-Pro category last year, beating the factory entries in HubAuto Racing’s privateer Porsche 911 RSR-19.

“It is of course very exciting to be racing again at Le Mans, and to do it with Team WRT and with Rolf and Mirko, who are not new faces, as we were teammates in GT a couple of seasons ago,” said Vanthoor.

“I thank Team WRT for the opportunity and Audi Sport for allowing me to accept it.

“Now we will have to get used to the car, but I think this won’t be an issue. If we all deliver what we can, I am convinced we can achieve a very good result. Let’s hope for the best and go for it.”

Ineichen, meanwhile, made his Le Mans debut last year in a Herberth Motorsport Porsche.

“After one experience with GT cars, it will be my first time there in an LMP2 car, which will be an additional challenge,” said the Swiss driver.

“Still, I know that at WRT I will be in the perfect conditions to face it, and I hope that together with Dries and Mirko, we can make a good job for the team.”

WRT’s extra Le Mans entry has been made possible by the team earning two automatic invitations for winning the race last year and also clinching the ELMS title.

Team principal Vincent Vosse told Sportscar365 last month that a third entry would be feasible, however he ruled out WRT being able to run a total of four cars.

WRT has the option to field a quartet of LMP2 entries, considering it has two automatic invitations and two full-season lineups that have already been announced.

Rene Rast, Sean Gelael and defending Le Mans winner Robin Frijns will share the No. 31 Oreca, while Realteam Racing’s crew of Rui Andrade, Norman Nato and Ferdinand Habsburg are in the No. 41.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to field a third car with such a  strong lineup at Le Mans, alongside the two granted entries because of our successes of last year,” said Vosse.

“In 2021, we were able to take the challenge of debuting at Le Mans in the best possible way, this year we will have to face the challenge of running a three-car entry.

“To that end, we will foresee a third dedicated full crew and I am sure the entire team will be reinforced by this addition.

“I am also very happy to have Rolf and Mirko back with us and to see Dries racing for us for the first time at Le Mans. They all are part of the WRT family and can contribute greatly to the team’s efforts to retain our crowns.

“We thank both Lamborghini Squadra Corse and Audi Sport for allowing the participation of Mirko and Dries, respectively.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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