Championship leader Van der Zande loses WTR drive for 2021

Renger van der Zande will part ways with Wayne Taylor Racing at the conclusion of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, despite currently leading the points race.

Championship leader Van der Zande loses WTR drive for 2021
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Dutch driver van der Zande as recently as this week told Motorsport.com that he had been expecting to remain at the squad for a fourth successive season as WTR makes the transition from Cadillac to Acura DPi machinery for the 2021 campaign.

His links to Acura parent Honda, for which he races in the Intercontinental GT Challenge, appeared to make him a strong candidate to return to the squad for whom he has twice won the Rolex 24 Hours (2019 and ’20) and Petit Le Mans (2018 and ’20).

Ricky Taylor is widely expected to return to his father's outfit next year following a three-year spell with Acura Team Penske, and most sportscar insiders believe he will be joined by current Action Express Racing endurance 'extra' Filipe Albuquerque.

That would mean that both van der Zande and his current teammate Ryan Briscoe will lose their full-time rides with WTR after the next two races, despite currently leading the standings by eight points ahead of – ironically – the Acura Team Penske pairing of Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves.

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"They're going for somebody else," van der Zande told Motorsport.com. "During the Daytona 24 Hours and Petit Le Mans I was the fastest man on the track, the statistics show that too. I'm leading the championship [along with Briscoe], I have three years of experience with this team… 

"I am now at Spa for the 24 Hours and everywhere in the paddock I hear surprised reactions. I'm not the only one who thinks it's a strange decision."

#10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. Cadillac DPi, DPi: Renger Van Der Zande, Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon

#10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. Cadillac DPi, DPi: Renger Van Der Zande, Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

The result of this decision means that van der Zande is in danger of not having a full-time IMSA ride for next season, especially as next season appears set to feature a diminished field of DPis at the head of the field.

He added: "I still have to talk to other teams but it's too late for that. A lot of teams already have the line-up for next year."

If Albuquerque is indeed confirmed at WTR, it means a full-time return after a year as Action Express Racing's 'third man' having lost out when AXR slimmed from two Cadillacs to a single one this year and hired Pipo Derani to accompany incumbent Felipe Nasr.

This year Albuquerque has also claimed the European Le Mans Series crown with a round to spare and victory in the LMP2 class of the Le Mans 24 Hours, both with United Autosports.

Albuquerque could theoretically combine a WTR drive in IMSA with another season in the WEC with United, as the two schedules do not clash at all in 2021.

#31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi, DPi: Pipo Derani, Felipe Nasr, Filipe Albuquerque

#31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi, DPi: Pipo Derani, Felipe Nasr, Filipe Albuquerque

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

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