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Vanthoor, Weerts to Defend Sprint Title with WRT

Vanthoor, Weerts to defend Sprint Cup title and partner Kelvin van der Linde in Endurance…

Photo: Patrick Hecq/SRO

Team WRT has revealed its driver lineups for the 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS season including the retention of last year’s Sprint Cup champions Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts.

The Belgian duo will seek to defend their 2020 crown driving an Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo, as part of a retained three-car entry for WRT which is also the reigning teams’ champion having clinched its seventh title in eight years at the end of the last campaign.

Kelvin van der Linde will also return to WRT’s Sprint Cup squad, sharing the No. 30 Pro Audi with Benjamin Goethe whose program has expanded into the full GTWC Europe.

Van der Linde’s co-driver from last season, Ryuichiro Tomita, will move into the Silver Cup class working with former Team Parker Racing Bentley competitor Frank Bird.

In addition to their Sprint Cup title defense, Vanthoor and Weerts will contest the Endurance Cup including the Total 24 Hours of Spa together alongside van der Linde.

This Audi factory trio for the five-round Endurance series was revealed earlier on Friday as part of the entry list for next weekend’s 3 Hours of Monza season-opener.

Last season Weerts and Vanthoor drove WRT’s No. 32 Audi as part of a two-car Pro entry. This time around the team will have two Silver Cup machines and a single-car Pro effort.

Goethe will once again team up with Stuart Hall in Silver Cup for the enduros, with 2019 Spa 24H Silver class winner James Pull joining the pair for his Audi debut.

The British driver represented the Garage 59 Aston Martin squad last term. Pull takes up the seat previously held by Rik Breukers, who is now with Madpanda Motorsport.

WRT’s second Silver entry for Endurance Cup involves Tomita and Bird, who like Goethe are now running the full GTWC Europe campaign, as well as Valdemar Eriksen.

Danish teenager Eriksen joined WRT for the recent pre-season test at Paul Ricard and enters the GT3 discipline off the back of Formula 4 spells in France and Denmark.

WRT team principal Vincent Vosse indicated that the Belgian organization is “betting on youth” for its GTWC Europe program, which is set to form one part of its GT3 racing activities in 2021 alongside a return to ADAC GT Masters.

“Ten years ago, shortly after Team WRT’s first season, we were heading to Monza for the first-ever race of the Blancpain GT Series,” said Vosse.

“I remember that moment clearly, together with the excitement and doubts that the new project of SRO and Stephane Ratel, like any other new venture, entailed. Looking back, we can, SRO and ourselves, be happy of how things developed.

“As pleasant can be remembering all the great moments, the sight needs to be focusing ahead of us and what’s next is another great season, which we expect to be more competitive and closely fought than ever, and especially busy for Team WRT, as we will start our endeavour in LMP racing with our WEC and ELMS programs.

“Still, GT3 racing will continue to be the essential core of our program and we are delighted today to confirm our participation in the Fanatec World GT Challenge Europe.

“Other important commitments will be announced at the right time. Like always, we are betting on youth and I am proud to see that all the new drivers joining us this year are quite young and talented drivers.

“We look forward to working with them and get their contribution as the team aspires to new successes.”

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

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