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GT World Challenge Europe

Winward to Run Enduros as Part of Four-Series European Setup

Winward Racing and HTP to contest Endurance Cup alongside DTM, GT Masters, GT Open…

Image: Winward Racing/Andy Blackmore

Winward Racing will contest the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup as part of a large European GT3 program taking in four championships.

The team, which operates as a merger between Texan squad Winward Racing and German outfit HTP Motorsport, will field Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos across the Endurance Cup, the DTM, International GT Open and ADAC GT Masters this year.

Winward declared its two-car DTM entry with Lucas Auer and Philip Ellis last week but has since announced further aspects of its multi-series engagement in recent days.

Its GTWC Europe program will focus on the five long-distance races including the Total 24 Hours of Spa, which the team ran last year in the Silver Cup category.

Winward is returning to the Silver Cup class for its first full season, with a Mercedes-AMG that will be driven by Russell Ward, Ellis and an unannounced third crew member.

HTP last ran the complete Endurance Cup four years ago and is no stranger to GTWC Europe competition, having won the overall teams’ title in 2016 and the 24 Hours of Spa in 2013 with Mercedes machinery on both occasions.

One of its series champions and Spa winners, Maximilian Buhk, has joined Winward for its second term in GT Masters with a downscaled single-car entry.

Buhk will share the green and yellow MANN-FILTER Mercedes-AMG with Raffaele Marciello, who finished sixth in the German series last year working alongside Ellis.

Winward’s GT Open program has Nico Bastian and Markus Sattler sharing the wheel of a Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

The pair entered the 2020 season-opener, while HTP has fielded season-long efforts in previous years as an independent outfit.

“Free time is overrated,” said team principal Christian Hohenadel. “We are happy and proud to be able to put together such a wide-ranging and colorful program for the upcoming season.

“There really is everything there, and each individual race series exudes its very own charm and appeal. We can all hardly wait for it to finally start. And of course, we’d love to do it the way we know and love it – with lots of spectators and a great atmosphere.”

Winward’s DTM and GT Open Mercedes-AMGs will use Michelin tires, while the GTWC Europe and GT Masters cars will operate on Pirellis.

The team’s quartet of European GT3 programs will run alongside a Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS entry for Ward and Ellis.

Earlier this year Winward captured a GTD class victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, while its full-time focus in IMSA competition will rest on the Michelin Pilot Challenge in GT4.

It’s understood that Winward has no further GT3 projects to be announced for 2021, which marks the second year since Winward’s acquisition of the HTP organization.

At the start of 2020 the merged HTP-Winward entity laid out plans for a global program of more than 50 races, although its intention of entering the Nürburgring 24 did not materialize while a Nordschleife effort has not been announced for the coming season.

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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