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WRT Discussing Hypercar Options After Audi LMDh Pause

WRT in talks with new parties about top-level prototype options after Audi LMDh put on hold…

Photo: MPS Agency

Team WRT is still hoping to run a Hypercar-class program in the future despite Audi’s adjournment of a prototype project that the Belgian squad was due to work on.

According to team principal Vincent Vosse, WRT is discussing with other parties to see if it can identify a new way to be involved in top-level prototype racing.

The successful GT racing outfit had been chosen by Audi to work on the German manufacturer’s LMDh program, which was officially placed on an indefinite pause in March.

WRT entered the LMP2 category in 2021 to prepare for a prospective involvement in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s Hypercar class with a manufacturer.

It won the WEC and European Le Mans Series LMP2 titles, as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in a hugely successful season before concentrating fully on the world championship this year with two Oreca 07 Gibsons.

The team had also been placed “on testing duty” for the Audi LMDh program that was due to make its race debut in 2023, according to Vosse.

“It was never announced that we would be involved in LMDh with Audi, but it’s a fact that we were,” he told Sportscar365.

“It’s changing our plan. Thanks probably to the results last year, plus the pedigree of the team in endurance, I had great contact in the last few weeks. Let’s see where we get.

“We still have the same plan, just maybe one year is postponed. Maybe we have to move everything [back] one year.”

Vosse confirmed that he is talking with other car manufacturers about the prospect of running a prototype entry at the top level.

“I am discussing with people who are interested to work with us,” he said.

“There is quite an amount of interest in Hypercar for the future. If we can be there, we will. If we cannot, we will focus on something else.

“But I have a good feeling that our future will stick around WEC.”

WRT was set to work on Audi’s LMDh program in a factory capacity, but Vosse has not ruled out running customer prototypes if that emerges as the only viable option.

Several LMDh and LMH manufacturers have already announced operating teams for their works racing programs such as Ferrari (AF Corse in WEC), BMW (RLL in IMSA) and Cadillac (Chip Ganassi Racing in WEC and IMSA and Action Express Racing in IMSA).

When asked if WRT would consider pursuing a customer Hypercar effort, Vosse replied: “It would be stupid to say that I’m not. At the end, you never know what will happen.

“I will not say ‘no, I will never be in LMDh or LMH with a private entry’.

“My goal, and the way we would have run, was a factory effort. What we will do in the future, we never know. It can be a factory effort, or it can be a compromise.”

While Audi’s LMDh program is on the sidelines, WRT continues to run a large stable of Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo IIs in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS.

It has earned several major accolades in GT3 over the years including overall wins at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour and the Nürburgring 24.

But if his team begins to work with a different LMDh or LMH brand, Vosse acknowledged that he might need to consider re-aligning WRT’s activites in the GT ranks.

“If there is a manufacturer coming to me today and telling me that he is interested in working with us on Hypercar, and I would have to move my GT program towards them, I would think of it and I am open to it,” Vosse said.

“At the moment I am just open to see what are the proposals, if it can include GT.

“For sure there is a kind of disagreement and a bit of frustration with this Audi LMDh program not going ahead. That has nothing to do with the great people I have been working with for the last 12 years in GT.

“But who knows? A lot of things can happen. If you would tell me two years ago that we would run the LMDh program for Audi coming back to Le Mans, I would have been surprised.

“So now, nothing is surprising me anymore! I am just looking at what is going on. I will take the best decision for the team.”

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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