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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Lopez to Make GT3 Debut as Part of Audi’s 24H Spa Lineup

FIA WEC runner-up Jose Maria Lopez included in Audi’s IGTC lineup for 24H Spa…

Photo: Toyota

Toyota Gazoo Racing LMP1 driver Jose Maria Lopez will make his GT3 debut with Audi in this month’s Total 24 Hours of Spa.

The triple FIA World Touring Car champion has been named in one of the German manufacturer’s four nominated cars for round three of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli on July 27-28.

Lopez, who also currently races in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, will drive an Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo entered by Montaplast by Land-Motorsport with Ricardo Feller and Christopher Mies.

The 36-year-old Argentinian last raced an FIA-homologated GT car in 2010, when he drove an Aston Martin DBR9 in his home round of the FIA GT1 World Championship at San Luis.

Lopez’s confirmation with Land means he is set to travel straight to Spa from the FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue, which takes place on July 23-24.

Of Audi’s other IGTC points-paying cars, two will be run by double Spa winner Audi Sport Team WRT, while 2017 winner Audi Sport Team Sainteloc will field a single entry.

Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup co-drivers Dries Vanthoor and Alex Riberas will team up in one of the WRT machines with Frank Stippler.

Both Vanthoor and Stippler will be aiming for their second straight 24-hour race victory at Spa after winning the Nürburging 24 with Phoenix Racing last month.

The other WRT machine features Robin Frijns and Nico Mueller alongside Rene Rast, who helped the Belgian team to its second Spa triumph in 2014.

Sainteloc’s car, meanwhile, will contain two-thirds of the French squad’s winning lineup from two years ago with Markus Winkelhock and Christopher Haase listed with recent Nürburgring winner Frederic Vervisch.

In addition to its four IGTC entries, Audi will also be represented by multiple privateer teams with at least 10 cars expected from the marque in total.

WRT is set to field at least two more R8s independently, while Attempto Racing, Phoenix Racing and the Sainteloc Racing squad on its own are also expected to appear on the official entry list.

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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