Belgian Audi Club Team WRT has revealed its driver lineups for this year’s combined Blancpain GT Series attack, which will see the team field up to five of the new Audi R8 LMS GT3s.
Having scored four Blancpain GT titles in 2015, the Vincent Vosse-led squad will be looking to do even better in the upcoming season, with a four-car Blancpain Endurance and five-car Blancpain Sprint program, featuring a number of new drivers.
Laurens Vanthoor will have a new season-long co-driver in Frédéric Vervisch, with Vanthoor’s younger brother, Dries, completing the lineup for the Endurance Cup to create an all-Belgian driving squad.
The 17-year-old GT rookie makes the switch from Formula Renault 2.0 and immediately managed to make a good impression in his first test with the team.
Vervisch, meanwhile, delivered some strong performances with the No. 75 ISR Audi in 2015 and went on to claim two podiums for WRT in the Zandvoort Sprint finale.
Dries Vanthoor will also take part in the Sprint Cup, but in a separate Audi alongside 2015 Blancpain GT Series champion Robin Frijns.
“The goal is to 100 percent win the championship,” Laurens Vanthoor said. “As things are looking now with the lineup we’ll have, we will have a very good chance, especially in Sprint but also in Endurance.
“But in Endurance you need a bit more luck as they’re longer races. I think we have the cards in place to win, absolutely. But there’s a lot of work to do.”
The team has also added Peter Kox and Pierre Kaffer to the lineup, which will see the Dutch-German duo competing alongside Adrien De Leener in the Endurance Cup.
De Leener, the U.S.-based Belgian raced with AF Corse last season and missed out on his first Pro-Am Cup win at the Nürburgring Endurance finale by just three-tenths of a second.
“I’m very lucky to have been given the chance to join two of the top drivers in the world. I have known Pierre for a while now when we were both racing with AF Corse in the ELMS in 2014,” said De Leener.
“I have yet to meet Peter in person however I’ve heard great things about him and I know the 3 of us will make a great team. They’ve both have been driving since before I was born, everyone knows the abundant experience and knowledge they bring.”
Ex-BMW Team Brasil driver Sergio Jimenez and Rodrigo Baptista will share a third Audi for the entire season and will be joined by factory driver Filipe Albuquerque for the Endurance Cup.
Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai winners Stuart Leonard and Michael Meadows will man the fourth car, joined by Frijns for the Endurance Cup.
A fifth WRT Audi will be entered for the Sprint Cup only for Christopher Mies and Enzo Ide, who returns for his fourth season with the team.
As part of Audi Sport’s reduced factory presence at both this year’s Nürburgring 24 and Total 24 Hours of Spa, WRT will only run one works-supported car, which will see Laurens Vanthoor be separated from his season-long co-drivers for the double-points paying Spa round.
The team will also field a customer Audi in the Nürburgring 24 for Leonard, Frijns, Vervisch and defending race winner Edward Sandstrom.
Blancpain Endurance Cup:
Laurens Vanthoor/Dries Vanthoor/Frédéric Vervisch
Pierre Kaffer/Peter Kox/Adrien De Leener
Sergio Jiminez/Rodrigo Baptista/Filipe Albuquerque
Stuart Leonard/Michael Meadows/Robin Frijns
Blancpain Sprint Series:
Laurens Vanthoor/Frédéric Vervisch
Robin Frijns/Dries Vanthoor
Enzo Ide/Christopher Mies
Sergio Jiminez/Rodrigo Baptista
Stuart Leonard/Michael Meadows