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GT World Challenge Europe

WRT Drivers Secure Silver Cup Title With Round to Spare

Neubauer, Goethe, Simmenauer wrap up Endurance Cup Silver title at penultimate round…

Photo: Gruppe C Photography

Team WRT drivers Thomas Neubauer, Benjamin Goethe and Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer secured the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup Silver Cup class title with one round to spare at last weekend’s Hockenheim event.

The drivers of the No. 30 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II finished the three-hour race third in class, which put them mathematically out of reach in the Silver category standings.

They left the penultimate round of the Endurance Cup season with 100 points scored and an unassailable lead of 32 points over Attempto Racing’s Alex Aka, Nicolas Schoell and Marius Zug. A maximum of 26 points can be claimed at the 3 Hours of Barcelona finale.

Neubauer, Goethe and Simmenauer won the 3 Hours of Imola season-opener and the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa to establish themselves as the crew to beat in Silver.

Goethe started Sunday’s race from pole position in class but was overtaken by Emil Frey Racing’s Konsta Lappalainen in the early exchanges.

After a slow first pit stop, WRT spent most of the race in fourth behind Emil Frey, Sainteloc Junior Team and Attempto Racing until Neubauer overtook Sainteloc Audi driver Nicolas Baert for third shortly after the final safety car restart.

“It feels very good to be champions in the Silver Cup,” said Goethe.

“It wasn’t the objective for this race, but now it’s done, despite losing 30 seconds in the first pit stop, but J-B and Thomas did a mega job to recover and the entire team kept spirits up.”

Goethe, who at 19 years old is the youngest member of the No. 30 Audi crew, is currently in his fourth season of GTWC Europe Endurance Cup, and his third with WRT.

23-year-old Neubauer signed for WRT this season having driven for BMW squad Walkenhorst Motorsport in Pro last year. Before that, he claimed overall Sprint Cup pole positions with Lexus outfit Tech1 Racing in 2020 and a race win for AKKA-ASP in 2019.

Simmenauer, 21, transferred to GT3 racing this year from the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.

“We had a good qualifying and our goal was not to do mistakes and score heavy points for the championship,” Neubauer reflected.

“Eventually, we secured the Silver Cup title, which is great. We kept fighting after the long first pit stop we had and it paid off.

“It was a difficult race. We did not have the race we wanted, even though we had a really good qualifying getting pole and another point.

“The team has stayed together and in the end, we’re on the first step of the podium for the championship. A mega job for everybody.”

WRT also secured the Silver Cup teams’ title at Hockenheim, with Attempto Racing sitting 36 points behind in second.

The accolade comes after the Belgian squad won the overall Endurance Cup teams’ title last season despite Iron Lynx capturing the drivers’ championship.

WRT’s leading Pro-class trio of Dries Vanthoor, Kelvin van der Linde and Charles Weerts was eliminated from Endurance Cup drivers’ championship contention after retiring at Hockenheim due to a gear shifting issue on their No. 32 Audi.

WRT nonetheless has an outside chance of winning the Endurance Cup teams’ championship, with 26 points to make up to leader Akkodis ASP at Barcelona.

Silver Cup is the only Endurance Cup class to have been wrapped up before the final round of the season with overall, Gold Cup and Pro-Am still open.

Reflecting on the Hockenheim event, WRT team principal Vincent Vosse said that it was “a weekend with a bit of everything”.

“The Audis proved strong and everything was aligned for car No. 32, but it wasn’t to be,” he added.

“These things happen. On the positive side, our young guys of car No. 30 took another podium in the Silver Cup and the class titles while car No. 46 had a fantastic weekend and took a very nice top five, proving [a] great progression which is great.”

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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