The FIA GT1 World Championship enters its final phase, with the last two rounds taking place in the framework of eight days. This weekend, the series will visit the mythical Nürburgring and the following weekend it will come to a closure at Donington Park. The UK event replaces the round initially foreseen in India.

#32 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS ultra: Stéphane Ortelli, Laurens Vanthoor
#32 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS ultra: Stéphane Ortelli, Laurens Vanthoor

Photo by: SRO

The rendez-vous at the Nürburgring will almost have a home taste for the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, as the legendary track in the Eifel is quite close to the Belgian border and the team’s base, but it will be a tremendous logistical and technical challenge: the team will be busy on two fronts, with a Blancpain Endurance Series round taking place within the same event.

Stéphane Ortelli-Laurens Vanthoor and Frank Stippler-Oliver Jarvis will try to build-up on the excellent results collected at the previous round in Moscow and to visit the podium again.

“We are racers and for us, it is never over until the numbers say it’s over”, says Team Principal Vincent Vosse, “Although it is clear that we are not in an ideal position in the standings, there are still 66 points to be awarded and we’ll keep fighting as long as it is mathematically possible.”

The team has been encouraged by the recent win in Race 1 at Moscow, the third success of the season, and by the slight improvements brought to the Balance of Performance. “Theoretically, the Nürburgring, with only one point of severe braking and reacceleration, at the hairpin at the bottom of the main straight, should suit us well”, comments Pierre Dieudonné.

The Sports Director of the Belgian squad is more worried about the planning of such an intense weekend, with two commitments running in parallel.

“It’s a challenge, given also the tight timing”, admits the former European Touring Car champion, “but we are ready for it. We will have different cars for each the FIA GT1 and the Blancpain, as we have had throughout the season, and separate teams of engineers and mechanics serving them.

Except for two of the drivers [Ortelli and Vanthoor], who are entered in both series, and for the top management, it will be like having two distinct teams. We will count on the support from our colleagues at Audi Sport, but, still, this means a total of 43 people at the Nürburgring and implies a lot of planning and managing to be efficient as always.”

As for the drivers of the Audi R8 ultra #32, Stéphane Ortelli and Laurens Vanthoor, who have a double commitment this weekend, they do not seem worried at all. “It’s going to be a lot of work”, acknowledges the young Belgian, “but it will be ok, WRT is a very professional team and we can cope with this.

I know well the Ring, I like it and I have very fond memories there, as it is the track where I was crowned German F3 Champion, so I look forward to be again in what is historically known as the Green Hell!”.

One who certainly shares the same feeling is Frank Stippler, who drives car #33 with Oliver Jarvis. The German will race at home and has conquered here (on the Nordschleife, though) a superb win in this year’s 24 Hours.

The two one-hour races will follow the usual FIA GT1 format, with the first one kicking off at 14:20 on Saturday and the second one at 12:45 on Sunday.

Source: Belgian Audi Club Team WRT