WRT and Audi to part ways at the end of 2022
The Belgian WRT squad will end its partnership with Audi in the GT3 arena after 13 seasons at the end of this year.
The team made the announcement in the wake of last weekend's Spa 24 Hours round of the GT World Challenge Europe, a race it has won two times with the German manufacturer.
WRT’s successes with two generations of Audi R8 GT3 contender since the team’s inception ahead of the 2010 season include victories in the Nurburgring 24 Hours, the Bathurst 12 Hour and the GT World Cup in Macau, as well as 30 titles in the GTWCE and its predecessors.
The team will continue in the GT3 arena next year with a yet-to-be-named manufacturer alongside its participation in the FIA World Endurance Championship in the LMP2 class.
Team principal Vincent Vosse said: “It is a very special and emotional moment for all of us at Team WRT and me personally, as we announce that a significant chapter in the history of our organisation will soon come to an end and a new one will open.
“It couldn’t be otherwise, because Audi has been the brand we have been associated with since the creation of Team WRT at the end of 2009 and our sole partner in GT3 racing.”
Vosse described WRT’s time with Audi as a “fantastic journey”.
He paid tribute to many of the senior personnel at Audi Sport during the past 13 years, include former motorsport bosses Wolfgang Ullrich and Dieter Gass, current customer racing boss Chris Reinke and Romolo Liebchen, who set up the GT3 programme.
“All things in life have a beginning and an end, and our paths will now separate but the longstanding friendships will last,” continued Vosse.
“We all can have a sense of pride looking at what was accomplished together and we’ll all treasure the many good memories of this great period.”
Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing added: “After 13 fantastic years, we will be going our separate ways from 2023 but we will continue to have friendly ties.
"The close relationship with Vincent Vosse as well as with Yves and Pascal Weerts is characterised by deep trust, shared sporting values and an absolute drive for success.
"A big thank you to them and their entire team, combined with best wishes for the future.”
#31 WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson of Sean Gelael, Robin Frijns, Rene Rast
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
WRT’s departure from the Audi fold follows the cancellation of the manufacturer’s LMDh programme, which the Belgian operation would have run in the WEC next year.
It is known to have had a deal in place and was already working on the cars at Audi Sport headquarters in Germany when the axe fell on the programme, which is officially only on hold.
Tuesday’s announcement backs up speculation that WRT is in pole position to run the new BMW M Hybrid LMDh when the Munich marque enters the WEC in 2024, a move announced last week.
Vosse wouldn’t be drawn on his links with BMW over the course of the Spa 24 Hours weekend, though he has admitted that his team’s LMDh aspirations are now focussed on 2024.
Should the LMDh link-up with BMW be confirmed, it seems certain that WRT will switch to the new-for-2022 BMW M4 GT3 for its GT racing activities.
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