The ‘big one’ has come! The 24 Hours of Le Mans is without a doubt the biggest endurance race of the year and arguably also the biggest race in the world, and this year its status has grown even further. What will go on stage this weekend is no less than the ‘Course du Centenaire’, celebrating the first hundred years of the legendary enduro. It is already deemed also as the ‘race of the century’ given the quality of the entry, which sanctions the rebirth of endurance racing.

Team WRT will have the privilege to be part of this history-writing event, but its focus will be on the race itself and on the heavy points that the longest race of the year awards, which always play a crucial role in the quest for the FIA WEC’s LMP2 crown.

At the wheel of the two Oreca 07 Gibson of the Belgian squad, in what is its last Le Mans outing in the class before joining the Hypercar elite in 2024, will be the usual driver line-ups. Car #41, with Rui Andrade, Louis Delétraz and Robert Kubica, is currently second in the standings, only eight points from the top, having taken two podium finishes, including a home win at Spa in May. Robin Frijns, Sean Gelael and Ferdinand Habsburg, in car #31, are further down in the standings but equally determined to improve their position.

Le Mans remains an unpredictable race, where many variables play a role, but Team WRT is strongly committed to repeating the success conquered in its maiden appearance in 2021. In the test day yesterday, both cars completed the foreseen work programme, with the test runs aimed at working on set-up ahead of the official practice sessions. Both cars proved competitive, with #31 finishing the two sessions in the top three on the time sheets.

Team Principal Vincent Vosse remains humble ahead of the important week-long event: “We are so involved in what we do that we tend to forget that we have to feel blessed by simply being here and being part of the biggest race in the world. It will be our third participation only, and we have already tasted the up and downs that this race can provide: joy and bitterness at the same time at the very end of the race in 2021, frustration since the initial phases last year. We have learned those lessons and we come back with more experience and fresh from the win at Spa. We’ll try to be competitive, start well, have a clean race, and hopefully be in a good position to fight for victory at the end!”

Robin Frijns: “I did two Le Mans, one I won, one I lost. It’s a track we all love to go back to as it is the biggest event of the season. Le Mans has been kind to me so far, it’s a pity that last year we had an engine issue and then we crashed out, by my own mistake as I was over-pushing. If we have a solid weekend, without any big issues, we will be there to race for the win at the end. We [car #31] also need to win as the championship so far hasn’t come in our direction. A win would help us to come back and have a shot for the title.”

Sean Gelael: “In the past, I have lost Le Mans by 0.7 seconds [in 2021, to Team WRT] and one retirement. I have two legends in the car who beat me that year, so I feel no pressure. I prefer not to think that if we win Le Mans, this will be the turning point in the #31 car’s season and that we will go down in the history books as the winners of the Centenary race, with all its glory…”

Ferdinand Habsburg: “Even though it is an anniversary edition, even though it gives double points, and even though it is a nerve-racking race, I like to approach Le Mans as any other race. I want to try to win, I will give my best and I have prepared as best as I could have. I really love to work with this team, I know they’ve put in every effort even if we have had a rocky start of the season, and I feel optimistic as we have already done it in the past.”

Rui Andrade: “It’s always a pleasure to return to Le Mans and this being the 100th anniversary of the race makes it even more special. The #41 squad is enjoying good momentum, coming from two back-to-back podiums including a win at the team’s home race in Spa, so hopefully we can continue this form this weekend. I know Robert and Louis have some unfinished business in Le Mans and I personally never had much luck at the 24 Hours but this year we will do everything we can to get that win.”

Louis Delétraz: “Le Mans is the race you want to win, as it means as much as winning the championship. We’ve worked hard with the team and my teammates to be ready for this huge event. The momentum is good after winning the last WEC race at Spa. I am really excited to get going. Together with Robert and the #41 car crew, we have some unfinished business following what happened in 2021. Having Rui with us to try to accomplish this is perfect!”

Robert Kubica: “We have in front of us the biggest race of the season and the biggest endurance race in the world. Le Mans is a very big and very difficult challenge, first of all, because of its length. Twenty four hours can offer you everything, we have been a good example of that in 2021 together with Louis [Delétraz] and Yifei [Ye] when we lost the win in the last lap. Last year’s edition was more gentle to me, as I finished second. This will be the third attempt to win it, it won’t be easy at all but I look forward to the challenge and I prepared as well as I could in the last month. The highlight is that it is going to be the centenary of the race, it just shows how important it is in history and I congratulate the organizers. This adds some spice and I am happy to be part of this edition, but it doesn’t change the way we approach the race and how we prepared for it.”


There will be two more Team WRT cars in action on the 14-km track in La Sarthe, as two BMW M4 GT3s of the Belgian squad will be competing in the Road to Le Mans, the top supporting competition in the race programme, which is officially part of the Michelin Le Mans Cup open to GT3 and LMP3 cars.

One, in GETTRX livrey, will be in the hands of Tim Whale, the Bronze driver who competes for Team WRT in the Fanatec GT World, and BMW works driver Max Hesse.

The other will be be entrusted to an unusual pair composed of Valentino Rossi and Jérôme Policand, the boss of Akkodis ASP Team. In this capacity, Policand is usually a rival to Team WRT, but on this occasion, given his long experience as a driver still enjoying racing occasionally and his Bronze status, he was deemed as the best choice to accompany Vale in his discovery of the ‘big’ Le Mans track.

Vincent Vosse explains: “We have already taken part in the Road to Le Mans double race in the past, and looking into the possible future, it is a perfect opportunity to test ourselves on the big track with a GT3 in an FIA WEC environment, and to give some drivers the possibility of first contact with the big track. Vale, who has raced many times on the MotoGP layout was very keen to take the bigger ride! Jérôme will be the perfect teammate for him, given his experience and knowledge. In normal circumstances, he is a tough rival, our respective teams fight against each other all the time in GT3 racing, but he is also a friend and we are bound by huge mutual respect.”

The two 55-minute races of Road to Le Mans will take place on Thursday at 18:30 and Friday at 11:30, respectively.

FIA World Endurance Championship – Round 4
24 Heures du Mans – Le Mans, France, 10-11 June 2023

24 Hours Timetable (local time: CEST)

Wednesday 7 June 2023
14:00-17:00 Free Practice 1
19:00-20:00 Qualifying

22:00-24:00 Free Practice 2 (night)
Thursday 8 June 2023
15:00-18:00 Free Practice 3
20:00-20:30 Hyperpole
Saturaday 10 June 2023
16:00 Start of 24-hour race
Sunday 11 June 2023
16:00 Finish

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)

Road to Le Mans Timetable (local time: CEST)

Wednesday 7 June 2023
11:30-12:30 Free Practice 1

20:30-21:30 Free Practice 2
Thursday 8 June 2023
12:55-13:15 Qualifying 1
13:30-13:50 Qualifying 2

18:30-19:25 Race 1
Friday 9 June 2024

11:30-12:25 Race 2

Team WRT entries (BMW M4 GT3)
#31 Max Hesse (DE) – Tim Whale (GB)
#46 Jérôme Policand (FR) – Valentino Rossi (IT)