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WRT “Interested” in LMDh After Audi’s DTM Exit Call

WRT boss expresses interest in LMDh prototype formula in the wake of Audi DTM exit…

Photo: Audi

WRT team principal Vincent Vosse says he’s “interested” in LMDh as the Belgian outfit looks at its future racing options in the wake of Audi’s decision to leave DTM.

The decorated GT3 squad joined the German-based touring car series as an Audi customer last year but will be forced to re-evaluate its program after the manufacturer announced on Monday that it won’t be continuing beyond 2020.

In an interview with Endurance-Info, Vosse said that the global LMDh prototype platform continues to be of interest to WRT, which has won many of the big GT3 prizes including the Total 24 Hours of Spa, the Nürburgring 24 and the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

However, he stressed that WRT cannot make a formal move on an LMDh program until the anticipated technical regulations are released and manufacturers come on board.

“I have been working on LMDh for some time,” explained Vosse.

“Of course, we still have to wait for the full settlement. The product is actually a copy of GT3, which means that it has every reason to succeed. To have the possibility to race at Le Mans, Daytona or Sebring is great.

“The platform is attractive to different manufacturers. WRT is interested in it [but] as I have said before, you have to wait to know what it will be.”

Vosse reckons that the LMDh formula, which is set to arrive in 2022, can operate in a similar way to GT3 in terms of how private teams are involved.

Many race teams are closely monitoring the platform, including WEC squads High Class Racing and Signatech which have openly expressed their interest in recent months.

“It is a bit like Intercontinental GT Challenge but where we would take a prototype to go around the world,” said Vosse.

“The idea would be for WRT to run a car with factory support at the major races.

“I think the future of motorsport is trending more towards high-end customer competition than towards a program financed 100 percent by a manufacturer.

“We have to simplify things. We are facing a crisis, so not having a 100 percent factory crew would go in the right direction even if it would be a high-level compromise.”

If WRT decided to commit to an LMDh program, it would not do so at the expense of its large GT3 operation.

WRT is planning to run Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos in GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, ADAC GT Masters, IGTC and the Nürburgring 24 this year, while it also contested the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

The team has dabbled in prototypes before.

In 2016 it finished second in a European Le Mans Series race with a Ligier JS P2 Judd driven by Laurens Vanthoor, Dries Vanthoor and Will Stevens.

“Currently, we have a fabulous team in place in DTM,” said Vosse. “The tool is magnificent. Today, GT3 is fabulous and very well managed by SRO. If we go in another direction, it is not to abandon GT3.”

Regarding Audi’s withdrawal from DTM, Vosse pointed out that he holds no regrets about joining when he did.

Last year, WRT ran Audi RS5 Turbos for Jonathan Aberdein and Pietro Fittipaldi, while it has named Ed Jones, Fabio Scherer and R-Motorsport Aston Martin refugee Ferdinand Habsburg for its planned sophomore campaign this year.

“I cannot say that I was surprised by the [Audi exit] decision but more by the timing,” said Vosse.

“Coming to DTM, we knew there was a risk. We quickly saw that the Japanese manufacturers did not bite to come to DTM and that Aston Martin was not officially involved in the program.

“However, I do not regret for a second our commitment to DTM and I remain very motivated to finish on a good note.”

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report

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

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