W Racing Team - victorious force in any kind of racing
W Racing Team, also known as WRT, is a Belgian racing team which currently competes in the Blancpain GT Series as one of Audi customer teams and also in the TCR International Series, running two Volkswagen Golf GTI cars under the Leopard Racing banner.
The team was founded in 2009, entering the Blancpain GT Series in 2011. Since then, WRT is the most successful team in the Blancpain Endurance Series and Blancpain Sprint Series, winning eight teams’ titles and five drivers’ titles in the overall classification. In the famous 24-hour endurance races, WRT scored two wins at Spa (2011, 2014) and one victory at Nürburgring (2015).
Besides GT racing, WRT captured few championship titles in other motorsport disciplines and was the best team in the Trophee Andros ice racing championship for two years in a row (2016, 2017) and it took the TCR International Series title with Stefano Comini in 2016.
Victory in the first ever race for WRT
W Racing Team was founded in 2009 by the former head of Volkswagen Motorsport Rene Verbist, racer Vincent Vosse and entrepreneur Yves Weerts. The team is located in a village called Baudour.
The W Racing Team had its racing debut in April 2010, winning the first race with Volkswagen Scirocco GT24 in the T3 class of the Belgian Touring Car Series. The victorious drivers were Ronnie Latinne and Jean-Jacques Smits. Later in the season, they added two more wins to finish second in the final standings.
Two titles in the 2010 Belcar endurance championship
For GT racing, WRT purchased three Audi R8 LMS race cars, participating during the season in the Belcar Endurance Championship, French GT Championship and at 24 hours of Spa. The team was successful from the start, finishing on the podium with at least one car in every Belcar. Gregory Franchi and Anthony Kumpen won two races together. A third victory came at 10-hour endurance race at Zolder, where François Verbist, Bert Longin and Bill Bailly won the race. Franchi and Kumpen won the 2010 Belcar Drivers’ Championship, while WRT secured the Teams’ Championship.
At 2010 Spa 24 Hours, the best-placed Belgian Audi Club WRT’s Audi R8 LMS was the number 73 in the 13th place overall and fifth in GT3 class.
After a successful debut year, WRT expanded a racing program for 2011 season by adding the FIA GT3 European Championship and Blancpain Endurance Series to the schedule for their Audis. Volkswagen Scirocco continued to run in the Belgian Touring Car Series, finishing third in the final T3 class standings.
Three wins in the 2011 FIA GT3 European Championship
Two cars participated full season in the FIA GT3 Championship, under the name Belgian Audi Club Team WRT. Enzo Ide and Gregory Franchi scored two wins early in the season, at Algarve and Navarra, driving the #33 Audi R8 LMS. Enzo Ide also won the last race of the season, sharing the car with Christopher Haase. At the end of the year, Ide was third in the points and the team finished sixth.
2011 – Spa 24h victory and two championship titles
In the 2011 Blancpain Endurance Series season, the highlight of the year was WRT’s victory at the most famous endurance race reserved for GT cars – the 24 hours of Spa. The winners in the #33 Audi were Gregory Franchi and two factory drivers Timo Scheider and Mattias Ekstrom.
One victory in five races was good enough for Gregory Franchi and the team to take the Blancpain Endurance Series titles in 2011, starting a streak which would turn the WRT into the most successful BES team.
2012 – one more double triumph in the Blancpain Endurance Series
Another double triumph followed in the 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series season. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT scored one victory, with Stephane Ortelli, Christopher Mies and Christopher Haase in the #1 Audi R8 LMS. At Spa 24 hours, they finished in second place, collecting enough points to take the championship title for drivers, just three points ahead of the closest rivals from another Belgian team Marc VDS Racing. In the teams’ classification, WRT had five points more than Marc VDS.
When it comes to other competitions, WRT participated full season with two cars in the FIA GT1 World Championship and in one round of the FIA GT3 Championship. Laurens Vanthoor and Stephane Ortelli scored three wins in the GT1 championship, finishing fourth and fifth in the points respectively. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT finished third among the teams.
Winning both titles in the 2013 FIA GT Series
In 2013, WRT gained a success in the FIA GT Series. The team was running three cars for the full season and additional car at the season finale (Baku World Challenge). The most successful crew was in the #11 car – Stephane Ortelli and Laurens Vanthoor. They scored three wins and captured the championship title. Other crews added two more wins, bringing the teams’ title to Belgian Audi Club Team WRT.
On the other side, after two victorious seasons in the Blancpain Endurance Series, WRT lost both titles in 2013, not winning any race. At Spa 24 hours, the best WRT crew finished in third place, with Frank Stippler, Christopher Mies and Andre Lotterer in the #2 Audi R8 LMS.
Three of four titles in the 2014 Blancpain GT season
In 2014, FIA GT Series was renamed to Blancpain Sprint Series. With three full-time entries and one additional car in the second part of the season, Belgian Audi Club Team WRT clinched a title in the teams’ category, scoring six wins in 14 races. Laurens Vanthoor and Cesar Ramos were the winners five times in the #1 car, Rene Rast and Enzo Ide added one more victory in the #2 car. Vanthoor/Ramos finished fourth in drivers’ standings.
In the Blancpain Endurance Series, Belgian Audi Club Team WRT gained a full success, taking both teams’ and drivers’ titles. The #1 Audi scored two wins, including the Spa 24 Hours. The winners in that race were Laurens Vanthoor, Rene Rast and Markus Winkelhock. The 2014 BES champion was Laurens Vanthoor.
Two titles and Nürburgring victory in 2015
WRT continued to collect championship titles in 2015. This time, WRT was the best in the teams’ standings only, both in the Blancpain Endurance Series and Blancpain Sprint Series. In the drivers’ classification, Nissan’s and Bentley’s drivers took the laurels.
Belgian Audi Club Team WRT didn’t win anything in the Blancpain Endurance Series and scored six wins in the Sprint Series. Robin Frijns and Laurens Vanthoor won five races together. At Spa 24 Hours, the #2 WRT Audi started from pole and finished second, a lap behind BMW of the Marc VDS team.
2016 – maiden championship title for Enzo Ide
In the 2016 Blancpain GT Series, the competition was stronger than before but WRT managed to win both titles in the Sprint Cup – the fourth consecutive title for the team and the first drivers’ title for Enzo Ide. He won two qualifying races (Nurburgring, Hungaroring) and one main race (Brands Hatch), sharing the #33 Audi with Christopher Mies. In the season’s finale at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Ide won one more race, together with Robin Frijns.
In the Endurance Cup, WRT was again without wins but finished second in the final standings, tied in the points with McLaren’s Garage 59 team.
TCR International Series title with Stefano Comini
In 2016, WRT made its debut in the international touring car racing, running two Volkswagen Golf GTI TCRs in the TCR International Series. The team was named Leopard Racing due to sponsorship from the manufacturer of energy drinks.
The team signed reigning TCR champion Stefano Comini to drive the #1 Golf, along Jean-Karl Vernay in the #2 car. Comini scored three wins and defended his title. Vernay added three wins and finished third in the points. In the teams’ classification, Leopard Racing finished second, behind Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil.
Trophee Andros’ best team for two years in a row
In December 2015, WRT started its participation in the Trophee Andros ice racing series with two Audi A1 Quattro cars, the #2 for Olivier Panis and the #11 for Adrian Tambay in the Elite Pro class. In its first season of ice racing, WRT captured Teams’ championship, with Tambay and Panis fourth and fifth in the points.
In the next season (2016-2017), Olivier Panis was driving #5 Audi, with Benoit Treluyer as a teammate in the #10 car. Berenice Demoustier and Nathanael Berthon were the drivers in the Elite class. WRT defended its Teams’ championship, with Panis third in the points and Treluyer sixth in the final standings. Nathanael Berthon became the champion of Elite class.
Five-car attack in the 2017 Blancpain GT Series
For the 2017 Blancpain GT Series, WRT announced another exciting season with nine cars in two competitions – five in the Sprint Cup and four in the Endurance Cup. The defending Sprint Cup champion Enzo Ide is returning in the #1 Audi. He will share a car with Christopher Mies. Other four cars (#3, #5, #6 and #17) will participate in the Sprint and Endurance races.