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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Upstart HAAS RT Squad Eyeing 24H Spa Entry

New Audi squad hoping to build into strong presence in GT3 racing scene…

Photo: 24H Series

The upstart HAAS RT team could enter the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa in its first season of GT3 competition according to team leadership.

The Antiguan-flagged, Belgian-based operation finished fifth overall in last weekend’s Hankook 24H Dubai.

The Middle Eastern enduro was the squad’s maiden race, which it contested with a lineup featuring Maxime Soulet and Audi factory driver Frederic Vervisch.

HAAS RT is a joint venture between Belgian former rally driver Kris Dedoncker and Sandrine Haas, an amateur racer and motorsport photographer.

It has ties to Antigua and Barbuda through Haas, who holds dual citizenship in both Belgium and the Caribbean island nation.

Dedoncker told Sportscar365 that an encounter between the two in the summer of 2022 quickly led to talks of establishing the outfit.

“We met each other last August at the 24 Hours of Zolder, started talking and quickly decided to make a new team,” Dedoncker said.

“Then we were talking about which car it should be and what we should do and we decided to do GT3. I said, ‘If we do GT3, the first race we need to do is Dubai.’”

Dedoncker explained that the team is a full in-house operation with staff from both Belgium and Germany, running without any external support. 

Additionally, he revealed that the No. 21 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II that the team used for the race was the chassis that Team WRT took to victory at the Dubai enduro last year.

“Because the time was short, we decided not to buy a new car but because our friends from WRT are not so far away and we know a lot of people there, we decided to buy one of their cars,” Dedoncker explained. 

“It’s the winning car from last year, in fact. I think it was a good idea to do this because it’s all about details and we took some of these details from their side.”

Dedoncker said they opted to jump into GT3 straight away to “make a statement” and added that the team is considering the idea of contesting the 24 Hours of Spa later in the year.

“Race number two will be the Hankook 6H Abu Dhabi, which was not the goal to do but I had a driver that contacted me,” he said. “So we’ll also be in Abu Dhabi and then normally we will do the full Creventic championship. 

“And of course, if you are based in Belgium, everybody thinks about Spa. 

“I said yes, maybe, let’s first do these races and after these two races we will decide if we are ready and also maybe do this one extra. 

“It’s a possibility. It’s not for sure right now. We will decide after the two Middle East events.”

When asked if he was hoping to secure some level of factory support from Audi Sport for its lineup at Spa, Dedoncker replied: “For sure. That’s the idea, yes. It would not be the idea to go to Spa with only Bronze drivers.”

He also did not rule out the idea of some exploratory outings in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup.

“For sure,” he said. “This is the first step in what we are doing and the goal is to grow. Maybe also with a second car, but step by step. These steps were already very high in a very short time.

“It was not easy to get this all in place in so little time. I worked night and day for this.”

Davey Euwema is a Sportscar365 reporter based in The Netherlands, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, DTM, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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