BMW M TEAM WRT AIMS FOR TOP RESULT IN SOUTH AFRICA
BMW M TEAM WRT AIMS FOR TOP RESULT IN SOUTH AFRICA
Three weeks after visiting Australia, the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli is heading to South Africa, where the Kyalami 9 Hour will serve as the second 2023 round of the global GT3 competition, which spans over five continents.
This will also be the second official outing for the BMW M Team WRT, who will aim for a top result with its two BMW M4 GT3s and driver line-ups that include only one change, as Philipp Eng will make his debut with the Belgian squad.
The 32-year-old Austrian, one of the world’s top GT drivers, a two-time victor of the 24 Hours of Spa and winner of the Nürburgring 24 Hours, will be associated with Augusto Farfus and Maxime Martin in the car sporting #33, in what will be his first race with the Belgian squad.
The crew of car #32 remains unchanged, with Dries Vanthoor, Charles Weerts and Sheldon van der Linde at the wheel. For Sheldon, of course, this will be a very special event, as he will compete on home soil and very close to his family’s home indeed.
After 2019 and 2020, where they finished second, this will be the third time that Team WRT competes in the Kyalami 9 Hour, a race with a long history and now back at the forefront of the international scene thanks to the IGTC.
The objective for BMW M Team WRT is to build on the positive debut at Bathurst earlier this month. Kyalami, the beautiful and technical 4.522km track located in Gauteng, on the outskirts of both Johannesburg and Pretoria, is on paper more favourable to the BMW M4 GT3, which will aim at the podium.
Team Principal Vincent Vosse commented: “After Bathurst, we have the chance to go to another great track such as Kyalami. We finished in the top six in Australia, but we hoped for a better result. It was clear that we lacked top speed compared with our main competitors, but the necessary adjustments have been made. We also believe that Kyalami suits the BMW M4 better, and we are determined to fight at the forefront. We welcome Philipp Eng to the team, he is a great addition for this race, which is not in the programme of Valentino Rossi.”
Sheldon van der Linde: “Kyalami for me is the most special race of the year, it’s my season highlight quite clearly. It’s very nice to be known as the ‘local hero’ as a lot of people refer to. My parents and grandparents are coming to watch trackside as well, which is super special for me, as it really only happens here. Trackwise, Kyalami should suit our car quite nicely. My teammates and I got to know each other well at Bathurst, we have a very good base where to start from. The team is very motivated to be on the podium and prove we are able to fight back strongly after an average result in Bathurst. I have won this race in the past and I’d love to repeat it!”
Dries Vanthoor: “I am happy to go back to Kyalami after some time. We had a decent round at Bathurst, we gave our absolute maximum, and took good points. We hope to do better in Kyalami and I think the BMW M4 will be a very nice car to drive there. It’s going to be home race for Sheldon, so we hope to give him a good weekend!”
Charles Weerts: “Kyalami is a track I like a lot, as I love South Africa as a country, so it’s very nice to be here. We will aim to do as best we can and to give Sheldon, our home hero, a good reason to cheer on Saturday night!”
Philipp Eng: “I really look forward to my first race with Team WRT. It’s a team I always wished to race for, and I am very happy that it is possible now that they have joined the BMW family. I remember clearly one of the first times I was next to them in the garage, many years ago, and I could see how perfectly everything was executed. It’s an honour to finally be able to race with them. I think that for Kyalami we have a very strong line-up across both cars, and hopefully we can have a successful weekend.”
Augusto Farfus: “First of all, I am very happy to be back to South Africa, it’s a country I love and that reminds me Brazil a lot. Last time I was here, I won the race and the championship, so I have very good memories of Kyalami. It’s going to be the first time with the M4 GT3, we come from a solid race at Bathurst, and we have all the chances to do well. For sure, it is going to be a very quick, intense and hot race.”
Maxime Martin: “I race the Kyalami 9 Hour once, in 2019, and I am very happy to be back. After Bathurst, we want to make a step up and be more competitive. I think we can be very competitive and we’ll do everything to get a top result for the team.”
Intercontinental GT Challenge - Round 2
Kyalami 9 Hour, South Africa– 23-25 February 2023
Timetable (Local time – CET +1)
Thursday 23 February 2023
10:25-12:25 Paid test session 1
14:55-16:55 Paid test session 2
18:40-20:10 Free night practice
Friday 24 February 2023
15:00-16:00 Qualifying (Drivers 1 – 2 – 3)
Saturday 25 February 2023
13:00-22:00 Race (9 hours)
BMW M Team WRT entries (BMW M4 GT3)
#32 Sheldon van der Linde (ZA) – Dries Vanthoor (BE) – Charles Weerts (BE) Pro
#33 Philipp Eng (AT) - Augusto Farfus (BR) – Maxime Martin (BE) Pro
3 days ago
WRT sends huge congratulations to the winner, and all other finishers of the wet and wild 8 Hours of Mettet! Last… https://t.co/EjAej81lEB