TEAM WRT KICKS OFF LMP2 TITLES BID AT 1000 MILES OF SEBRING
TEAM WRT KICKS OFF LMP2 TITLES BID AT 1000 MILES OF SEBRING
Following an excellent start to the 2023 season with their GT programme, Team WRT is now ready for the kick off of its LMP2 campaign. This is the third season in the FIA World Endurance Championship for the Belgian squad, which in parallel will be preparing its debut in the Hypercar class with BMW next year.
The 2023 FIA WEC season commences, as per tradition, at Sebring. The legendary track in Florida hosted the championship’s Prologue (the pre-season collective tests) last week. The race, on a 1000-mile format, is scheduled for Friday March 17. Once again, Team WRT is fielding two cars in the seven-race long FIA WEC.
As already announced, the line-ups at the wheel of the two Oreca 07 Gibsons have been slightly reshuffled, but there are no unfamiliar faces in the squad’s boxes. Robin Frijns, Sean Gelael and Ferdinand Habsburg will team up in car #31, while car #41 is entrusted to Rui Andrade, Louis Delétraz and Robert Kubica. The Swiss and the Pole are back after one year of absence, to the delight of everybody on the team.
This will be the third campaign in a row in LMP2 for Team WRT, which has already conquered one FIA WEC double title (Teams and Drivers) and a total of seven race wins, including the mythical 24 Hours of Le Mans. A double European Le Mans Series title in 2021 completes the collection of LMP2 trophies on the shelves, at the team’s home based in Baudour.
Still, both titles eluded the Belgian squad in the 2022 season and Team WRT is seeking revenge this year, despite the class being more competitive than ever. The chase for good results starts at Sebring, the 6.019-km track which epitomises endurance and American racing. Last year, Team WRT did well on the former airfield in the center of Florida, taking a double podium finish.
Team WRT Principal Vincent Vosse analysed the situation ahead of the start of the season: “First of all, it is always a pleasure to be at Sebring, one of the legendary endurance races. We start this new season with great motivation and determination. Last year, we won four out of the six rounds, but not the championship. We learned that lesson and it will be key to go for the maximum of points at every round, also because the competition is even fiercer, with very strong teams and drivers and a number of them preparing themselves to go to Hypercars next year, exactly like us. We took a double podium here at Sebring twelve months ago, we’ll try to do it again this time and if possible, climb to the highest step.”
DRIVER QUOTES FOLLOWING THE PROLOGUE
Robin Frijns: “It’s good to be back in a car after seven-eight weeks of recovery at home. I haven’t been in anything fast since my last race in Formula E, apart from the ambulance taking me to the hospital! It’s good to be back at the wheel of a racing car, obviously I was feeling a little bit rusty in the initial laps, but we had a pretty decent Prologue. There are a few rule changes that we need to look closely at, and the LMP2 field looks tighter. We will have to fight for every tenth and it will be a very exciting race.”
Sean Gelael: “It was so good to finally get rolling again! The team did a superb job over the two days, especially with it being so hot! A lot was learnt over the two-day test and we feel super prepared now. We have a great line up in #31 and I know we will be able to push for a strong result to start our season. More than ready to get this show on the road!”
Ferdinand Habsburg: “The Prologue felt very exciting! I love the track and just enjoyed getting back into the groove, it always takes some time to readjust after a long winter and not driving for a while. It’s an exercise that entails more joy because you are just building up and enjoying driving a race car on an old-school track. We prepared well and did a lot of laps. Often you can get a little bit lost looking too much at lap times because you never really know what the others are doing. It’s better to stay focused on ourselves. Anything can happen, from a win to a podium, and we are going to take it step by step. It’s the first race of the year, we should not stress, do the best we can and hopefully, we’ll enjoy the spray of champagne at the end, if everything goes well.”
Rui Andrade: “We had a very positive Prologue here in Sebring with two great days of testing. It felt great to finally be back on track with everyone and see what we can do. We managed to run faultlessly throughout both days and complete our running plan, which was the most important. Now it’s time to analyse data and relax before it all gets going again on Wednesday.”
Louis Delétraz: “The Prologue went well. It was great to be all together for the first time and start working as a group. I felt comfortable in the car from the first lap and I think we have achieved good work throughout the two days of testing. We now have some rest and time to prepare for the race weekend. I can’t wait to get going and chase that Sebring victory!”
Robert Kubica: “It is going to be a big race, the track is very demanding and quite tricky. In addition, it will be quite hot, so we’ll have a big challenge ahead. The Prologue was smooth, we would have liked to have more time, but we collected a lot of useful data to improve our package.”
FIA World Endurance Championship - Round 1
1000 Miles of Sebring – Sebring, Florida (US), 15-17 March 2023
Timetable (local time; CET: -5 hrs)
Wednesday 15 March 2023
10:55-11:55 Free Practice 1
16:35-17:35 Free Practice 2
Thursday 16 March 2023
11:55-12:55 Free Practice 3
18:55-19:10 Qualifying (LMP2)
Friday 17 March 2023
12:00-20:00 Race (1000 Miles or 8 hours max.)
Team WRT entries (Oreca 07 Gibson)
#31 Robin Frijns (NL) – Sean Gelael (ID) – Ferdinand Habsburg (AT)
#41 Rui Andrade (AN) – Louis Delétraz (CH) – Robert Kubica (PL)
5 months ago
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