Team WRT is delighted to announce its collaboration with the Fondation Arthritis for the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2024. The Belgian team will be raising funds to advance research on Rheumatism and Musculoskeletal Diseases (RMDs). Vincent Vosse and Kathleen Schurmans’ team will also host young people suffering from juvenile arthritis on race day to introduce them to a world where tenacity, like for them, is the key word. 

This partnership was born after an inspiring meeting with Lionel Comole, General Director of the Fondation Arthritis and a race car driver himself, who has suffered from chronic inflammatory rheumatism since childhood. Despite the challenges of his treatments, Lionel was able to get back behind the wheel thanks to biotherapy, a treatment discovered through research supported by the Fondation. Lionel's story is a living testament to resilience and the importance of medical research, as well as physical activity, in improving the quality of life for patients with rheumatism, conditions that remain incurable to this day and, contrary to popular belief, do not only affect the elderly. 

  • RMDs affect 1.3 billion people worldwide. 
  • In Europe, this represents 100 million people. 
  • There are more than 4,000 children affected in France. Supporting children with Arthritis 

Concerned about the well-being of all, it was therefore evident for Team WRT to support the Fondation Arthritis. After inspiring discussions with Lionel, the Belgian team decided to support the project on Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA). This chronic joint inflammation affects children under 16, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness, often requiring regular medical follow-up. The funds raised will support Ulrich Meinzer's JIA project in partnership with the Pasteur Institute, which proposes a new concept for analysing the gut microbiome. This innovative project will allow for better diagnosis and treatment of JIA patients. The team will donate funds proportional to the number of participants in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, i.e., 62 cars. Thanks to the patronage of the Clarins Group covering all operating costs of the Fondation, all funds raised by WRT will go directly to research. The final amount will be announced after the race. 

To mark this alliance, Team WRT will host three young people suffering from rheumatism at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Saturday, June 15. Their program will include garage visits, meetings with drivers and key team members. An exceptional day awaits them, trusting it will be a source of inspiration and hope. The Belgian team, also participating with four Fun Cup cars in the support race for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will run one of its Fun Cup cars, the #527, with the logos of the Fondation Arthritis.

Team WRT has chosen to support this organisation for its dedication to youth and its commitment to improving lives through new research. Through motorsport, the team wishes to demonstrate that it is possible to push boundaries and pursue passions, even in the face of adversity. This project makes perfect sense in the context of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world's most iconic endurance race, where tenacity is essential. This determination is crucial not only to excel in this legendary competition but also to overcome the challenges posed by still incurable diseases, as demonstrated by Lionel and the Fondation. 

Kathleen Schurmans, co-CEO of Team WRT: “WRT is proud to support young children in their fight against arthritis. Helping them realise their potential is a core value of WRT. Making a difference, even a small one, in their daily struggle is an important victory for us in this edition of Le Mans.” 

Lionel Comole, Spokesperson and General Director of the Fondation Arthritis: “This project embodies the essential values for fighting autoimmune diseases: endurance, determination, and practice to keep our skeletons mobile. The Fondation Arthritis improves the lives of patients just as Team WRT improves the performance of its crews and race cars to aim for victory at the world's greatest race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans... like life itself."