Team WRT has confirmed that it will seek to defend its FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 class title with a pair of Oreca 07 Gibsons involving drivers who previously worked with different teams.
Former JOTA driver Sean Gelael has joined the No. 31 WRT crew for the 2022 season, while Esteban Garcia’s Realteam Racing outfit is named under the No. 41 entry.
European Le Mans Series LMP2 Pro-Am champion Rui Andrade, who represented G-Drive Racing in 2021, is the first driver to be named in the Realteam by WRT entry.
WRT ran a single Oreca during its first WEC season last year, with a second car appearing in ELMS.
The decorated Audi GT3 squad claimed a standout championship double across the two series with Robin Frijns, Charles Milesi and Ferdinand Habsburg forming the WEC title-winning trio that also claimed LMP2 honors at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Gelael finished second to WRT in the LMP2 standings as part of a JOTA crew that also included Stoffel Vandoorne and Tom Blomqvist.
The Indonesian driver is currently the only confirmed member of the No. 31 WRT setup.
“I am super excited to join Team WRT, with all their history and after such an amazing debut in sportscar where they clean-swept everything,” said Gelael.
“I hope I can contribute this season to winning the title again, it’s my goal as well, after having come so close in fighting against Team WRT last year; I know their passion and I am very happy to be with Vincent [Vosse] and his boys. Work starts now, so let’s get to it.”
Realteam Racing boss Garcia contested the new LMP2 Pro-Am classification last year and finished second in the standings behind Frits van Eerd.
The Swiss businessman, who is not driving in the WEC next season, had previously aligned his Realteam Racing operation with French outfit TDS Racing.
“After participating in the WEC as a gentleman driver last year, my professional agenda will prevent me from doing so this year,” said Garcia.
“But Realteam Racing’s passion for motor racing remains intact. That’s why I’m delighted with this partnership with WRT! With Vincent Vosse we share common values, in particular that of being involved in increasingly sustainable motorsport.”
Realteam signing Andrade made his LMP2 debut last year with the G-Drive Racing and Algarve Pro setup, finishing third in the Asian Le Mans Series and earning the first ELMS Pro-Am title alongside his Bronze co-driver John Falb.
The 22-year-old is also booked in for an IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup term with Tower Motorsport in the LMP2 class.
“Stepping up to world championship level has been a dream of mine and what better way to do it than joining the reigning LMP2 Champions and Le Mans winners,” said Andrade.
“I am proud to represent my home country, Angola, at the highest level of sports car racing.”
WRT team principal Vosse suggested that his team’s achievements last year present it with a “tremendous challenge” to match the same results in 2022.
The team won three out of six races in both the WEC and ELMS and won each championship by at least 20 points.
“We are already working hard on it, on every front, and preparing as well as we can, with the determination and motivation we always display and also the necessary humility, knowing one cannot control everything,” said Vosse.
“We are happy to confirm that we will have two cars entered in the 2022 FIA WEC, one of which in partnership with Realteam Racing.
“It’s a pleasure to start this cooperation with Esteban Garcia and his team; he is a real enthusiast about racing and I thank him for his support and passion.
“Today we can also announce that Sean Gelael and Rui Andrade, two great young talents in the LMP2 scene, are joining us. We welcome them and are sure they will help us growing further.”