ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL YEAR, BUT UNIQUELY EMOTIONAL, FOR TEAM WRT
ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL YEAR, BUT UNIQUELY EMOTIONAL, FOR TEAM WRT
2022 will be remembered at Team WRT as another year of successes and great moments in racing, and of further growth in its car manufacturing activity, but there is no doubt that it will also have the taste of a very special and emotional journey, as it marked the closing of 13 year-long and fantastic partnership with Audi.
A new chapter has already begun, as Team WRT, with renewed enthusiasm and determination, embarks on the new partnership with BMW.
For now, it’s time to have a last look in the rear mirror and review what 2022, the year of the ‘last dance’, left.
The Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS was again the pinnacle of GT3 racing in Europe and the field where Team WRT and its Audi R8 LMS measured themselves against very strong competition. Eventually, the Belgian squad took six more titles, bringing its harvest (in SRO-run championships) to 36.
In the Sprint Cup, a third double (Teams and Drivers) title in a row was netted by the squad and its duo of Belgian young guns, Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts, who took on their way five race wins out of 10 races.
In the Endurance Cup, one overall race win came at Imola in the opening round thanks to Dries Vanthoor-Charles Weerts-Kelvin van der Linde, but the greatest satisfactions came in the Silver Cup. Benji Goethe, Thomas Neubauer and Jean-Baptiste Simmenaur brought home the class Teams and Drivers trophies, having as their season’s highlight a brilliant success at the 24 Hours of Spa. This, combined with Benji Goethe and Thomas Neubauer third position in the Sprint Cup, allowed Team WRT and its duo of drivers to win the GTWCE Overall Silver Cup Teams and Drivers title.
In addition, Team WRT crews conquered the highly respected GTWCE Pit Stop Challenge while the company was awarded the SRO Sustainability Award which recognizes the efforts towards carbon emissions-neutral racing.
Out of SRO competitions, Team WRT won early in the year the Dubai 24 Hours, the top race of the 24 Hours Series by Creventic. It’s the second time that Team WRT wins the enduro in the UAE and it did in style, with a one-two. The winning crew was composed of Mohammed Al-Saud, Axcil Jefferies, Christopher Mies, Thomas Neubauer and Dries Vanthoor.
For its second full season in LMP2, Team WRT focused exclusively on the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) where it had to defend both the double title (Teams and Drivers) and the win at the Le Mans 24 Hours conquered in 2021, quite a notable challenge. It was again a season at the very top for the Oreca 07 Gibson, but the outcome of the season left a somehow bitter-sweet taste: the team took four wins (including a double win at Spa) out of 6 races, another double podium finish and two poles, but this was not enough to retain the LMP2 crowns.
An unlucky outing at Le Mans this time took a very heavy points toll that left car #31 as runner-up in the standings, with Sean Gelael and Robin Frijns vice-champions in the Drivers’ standings, after wins at Spa, Fuji and Bahrain. In Belgium and Bahrain, they shared the win honors with René Rast, while Dries Vanthoor joined the pair in Japan. The other car, the #41 sporting the colors of Realteam by Team WRT, concluded the season in fourth position, with Rui Andrade, Ferdinand Habsburg and Norman Nato taking a win in Monza.
Car manufacturing activity
Besides racing, WRT is more and more involved in car manufacturing and chassis building, an activity that today represents roughly a third of its business and workforce. The expansion of this activity is due to continue in 2023, also with the addition of a fourth top car group to the portfolio of clients. In the meantime, WRT continues to be the manufacturer of the VW Fun Cup, of which 515 units (in total) have been built by the end of 2022. This year, for Hyundai, WRT has also built 45 WRC2, 43 WTCR and 4 ETCR racers, which have proven race winners in the three categories, clinching also the WTCR Constructor and Drivers titles. For Toyota, WRT has continued to be a key partner of TGR-E, having now built 60 Supra GT4 cars that are shining in GT4 competitions around the world with a DTM Trophy title as highlight of the season.
Team WRT, as part of the Weerts Group, contributes to Weerts Personal Computers for Education programme (WPC) which provides new and re-fitted personal computers, equipped with all relevant software programmes and an internet connection to children socially disadvantaged in all communities, in Belgium, where Weerts Group is present, through schools, hospitals and associations. The programme aims at reducing the risk of digital exclusion and gaps in society. In 2022, the WPC programme distributed almost 1500 devices since the start in 2020.
In the environmental area, Team WRT’s LMP2 program cooperates since 2021 with the “Drive Fast, Act Faster”campaign initiated by Ferdinand Habsburg and Green Future Project, aimed at protecting the tropical Amazonian Rainforest and bringing 'carbon neutral' racing to the teams. The ultimate goal is to shift the motorsport industry to support one of the world’s most urgent climate projects and biodiverse regions. In 2022, Team WRT has set off 2,475 tons of CO2 and protected over 222,500 acres of forest, virtually becoming a carbon neutral race team with our LMP2 Program.
This and the efforts undertaken in GTWCE racing together with SRO led Team WRT to perform a carbon-neutral 2022 racing season.
Vincent Vosse, Team Principal and co-CEO of Team WRT: “2022 has been another busy year, and a successful one, although we knew it would be very challenging to match the exceptional harvest of 2021. We proved competitive and fought at the very top in all instances, and namely in the GTWCE and the FIA WEC LMP2 arenas. Still, this season is emotionally different from any other and will be remembered as the one closing our long partnership with Audi in GT3 racing. The achievements are there and will go into the history books, and the great memories in the souvenir albums of all involved. There is one figure which I find particularly telling and of which we feel very proud: Team WRT has taken 55 out of the 62 race wins conquered by Audi GT3 in SRO-promoted European championships. If the partnership has come to an end, not so are the many bonds of friendship we have built over the years. Now opens the new chapter of our partnership with BMW and I’m confident the association will be as fruitful and enriching. The whole team is working hard in this transition phase and shortly after the new year arrives, we will be on track, racing with the new BMW M4 GT3 at Dubai. We look forward to the exciting challenges ahead of us in the forthcoming years.”
Kathleen Schurmans, Co-CEO Team WRT: “The year which is about to end, despite all the new uncertainties it has brought to the overall picture in the entire world, has been a good one for Team WRT. It has been a year of success in our racing activities, growth in all our activities, including manufacturing, and consolidation of our position and role within the Weerts Group. Still, what I want to stress is the human factor: the story behind Team WRT and the Weerts Group is about people, and happy people. Nothing would be possible without them, without their passion and the spirit we all have managed to create while working together. This is our force and this is our reward. We will pursue this philosophy, which we have effectively encapsulated in a tagline we love to use: “We aRe a Team!”.
Enjoy again Team WRT’s 2022 season through our latest video, “The last dance”, available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbfBGkbfjtk
7 months ago
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