The 2022 Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS comes to an end this weekend with the last round of the Endurance Cup to be held at Barcelona. Team WRT has still some big objectives to go for, namely the Team Overall, Endurance and Endurance Silver Cup titles, but the weekend will also be an emotional one, with great significance: it will mark the end of the long, successful and friendly partnership with Audi.

The 13-season-long partnership, one of the most fruitful in motor racing history, started end of 2009, when Team WRT was founded and has been carried on with success in different competitions including the FIA WTCR Cup and the DTM, but it is obviously GT3 racing which has been the backbone of it. Together, Team WRT and Audi have been a major player in SRO-organized competitions, conquering over 30 titles (Teams and Drivers) in what has been over the years the FIA GT3, the Blancpain GT Series and the GTWCE today. In number of race wins, the figure is impressive as 55 of the 62 wins taken by the various generations of Audi R8 carry Team WRT’s signature. Add to that successes in the most prestigious endurance races (24 Hours of Spa, Nürburgring 24 Hours, Suzuka 10 Hours, Bathurst 12 Hours, Dubai 24 Hours, Zolder 24 Hours, etc) and in the FIA World Cup at Macau.

It is with emotion that Team WRT Principal Vincent Vosse heads to Barcelona: “This time, we go to a final round to race and to fight for objectives, as always, but also to wrap up, hopefully on a high, a fantastic sporting and human journey. Our partnership with Audi has been very long by the common standards in our sports, extremely successful and most of all, tremendously rich in human encounters, exchanges and bonds. Audi is connected to roughly 90 per cent of the achievements of Team WRT since its creation thirteen years ago, our association has yielded so many good things for both sides, has allowed so many drivers to grow and develop their career... The chapter that is about to close is really a very special one in the life of so many people. Personally, I can’t avoid being moved when I look at the many beautiful images and magic moments that this story enshrines. Barcelona is going to be a very emotional moment for all of us at WRT, we will mark it in different ways, and I am happy that many of our friends from Audi Sport will be present. There will be much to celebrate beyond the results, but let’s finish on a high!”

The main focus of the weekend at the technical and difficult 4.675-km long Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is the final round of the GTWCE Endurance Cup, where much is still at stake for the five Audi R8 LMS entered by the Belgian squad with their usual driver line-ups. The objectives are the GTWCE Team overall ranking, where Team WRT has still chances, although slim, after securing the double crown (Teams and Drivers, with Dries Vanthoor-Charles Weerts) in the Sprint Cup, and the Endurance Team one. Also at stake, with greater possibilities, is the Team title in the Silver Cup’s Endurance competition, with Benji Goethe and Thomas Neubauer having already secured the Drivers’ overall and Endurance titles, joined in the latter case by Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer.

Dries Vanthoor:We look forward to this last round. For us, there is not much to fight for, so we’ll go for the victory and try to finish nicely the season for Team WRT and its long association with Audi.”

Charles Weerts: “It’s the last race together for Team WRT and Audi, so it will be an important and very special weekend after the emotional one we lived in Valencia at the Sprint Cup finale. We haven’t been very lucky in Endurance this year, with some technical issues and various incidents, but we proved to be strong and we must focus only on what comes next. Barcelona is a track I like, we could take a podium finish last year, hopefully, we can repeat that with Dries and Kelvin this year too.”

Kelvin van der Linde: “This weekend is an emotional one, it’s Team WRT final race with Audi. Wow, what a rollercoaster! We have done so much together in the last eight years from my first year as a works driver in Monza 2015 until now. We have had some amazing races, Audi’s first win in Japan, from the back of the grid to 2nd in Spa, numerous GTWCE wins and podiums. But, more importantly than all these results, I’ve met amazing people along the way, mechanics, engineers, drivers, so many talented people in their own way striving for excellence. Thank you for this amazing journey, and let’s end in style this weekend, the WRT way!”

Benjamin Goethe: “It’s the last race of the season coming up this weekend. Obviously, we have already secured the overall and Endurance titles in the Silver Cup, but we still can win three Team titles and we are going to do everything we can to achieve this and end the season in the best possible way.”

Thomas Neubauer: “It’s the last race and there is not much at stake for car #30, having already won the Silver Cup overall and Endurance and finished third in Sprint, so the objective will be to get the best possible result and hopefully an overall podium, and enjoy the moment together with the team and my teammates.”

Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer: “It’s already the end of the season, time flies. I will do my best and give it all to try to finish at the top.”

Diego Menchaca: “I’m very excited to go to Barcelona and end the season on a high. I think we have been quite unlucky in the last couple of races, but the performance was there, and the car was very fast as proven by the stints we did. I hope this time we can put everything together and get the result the team deserves, especially in this very last race with Audi.”

Lewis Proctor: “I’m excited to strap in the #31 Audi this weekend at Barcelona. We have shown great potential throughout the year and more recently at Hockenheim. I am confident that we can aim for a top 3 result in the Silver Cup and hope the luck is on our side.”

Finlay Hutchison: “I really hope we can end the season on the podium, it’d be a great way to end the year with WRT. Barcelona is a great track and it should suit the Audi well, so we’ll all be giving it everything we can to deliver a strong result. It hasn’t been the most straightforward season so far, which is a real shame as the car has been good and I think we’ve had a great driver line-up with Lewis and Diego. Qualifying will be important and if we have reliability, I’m confident we can have a strong race. It’s been great working with the WRT guys for the first time this year, it’s a fantastic team, so I hope we can reward everyone with a podium to sign-off the season.”

Ryuichiro Tomita: “This week will be my last time I will drive Audi for Team WRT. It has been a difficult year as I haven’t been able to race as much as I have would liked, but I am looking forward to giving my best performance for myself and for the team in this final race. Last year, I was able to put in a very high performance in Barcelona, so this year I will try to win the Gold Cup with the Robin brothers.”

Arnold Robin: “We will do everything we can to achieve a good result in Barcelona. As this is the last race of the season and not knowing what we will do in 2023, we will enjoy the chance that has been given us to race with Team WRT.”

Maxime Robin: “I am really happy to be at Barcelona this weekend. We scored some good result since the beginning of the season but we want to end with a victory. Let’s do our best of our last dance together of 2022!”

Nico Müller: “It is going to be a very special race, as it will be my last with Team WRT after a long chapter together. I feel quite emotional, to be honest. Team WRT has been one of the best teams I have driven for in my career and I celebrated with them my first big win with Audi, the Nürburgring 24 Hours in 2015. They certainly helped me a lot to get where I am today and I appreciated immensely working with everyone in the team. So, let’s finish on a high, I will appreciate this last one together with Fred and Vale and let’s make it even more special with a great result.”

Frédéric Vervisch: “It’s already the last weekend in this 10-race campaign with Vale. It all went so fast… I had the target to be on the podium at least one time in the Endurance Cup, we came very close to that a couple of times, which is great. The target for this last race remains the same, and Vale knows very well Barcelona from his previous career, so let’s aim at a great result. It is also the last race of Team WRT with Audi, so we are off to a very emotional weekend, but also a fun one.”

Valentino Rossi: “We got to the last race of the season, which is always a special and very important one in any competition. I am very happy to go to Catalunya, it was one of my favorites with motorbikes, always had a great feeling with it. We did tests there in the winter, the car felt good and we had good pace. It’s Endurance Cup, with a 3-hour race format, which has suited us well together with Fred and Nico, so we are ready to give the maximum to get a strong result.”

Fanatec World GT Challenge Europe powered by AWS - Endurance Cup Round 5

Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain, 30 September-2nd October 2022

Timetable (CEST)

Friday 30 September 2022
09:00-10:00 Paid test session 1
13:10-14:10 Paid test session 2
16:40-17:40 Bronze test

Saturday 1st October 2022
09:00-10:30 Free Practice
13:40-15:10 Pre-Qualifying
Sunday 2nd October 2022

09:00-10:00 Qualifying (Q1-Q2-Q3)
15:00-18:00 Race

Team WRT entries (Audi R8 LMS)
#30 Benjamin Goethe (DE) – Thomas Neubauer (FR) – J.Baptiste Simmenauer (FR) Silver
#31 Diego Menchaca (MX) – Lewis Proctor (GB) – Finlay Hutchison (GB) Silver
#32 Kelvin van der Linde (ZA) – Dries Vanthoor (BE) – Charles Weerts (BE) Pro
#33 Ryuichiro Tomita (JP) – Arnold Robin (FR) – Maxime Robin (FR) Gold
#46 Nico Müller (CH) – Frédéric Vervisch (BE) – Valentino Rossi (IT) Pro

Photo: Michele Scudiero