At its annual winter party in Spa, Belgium Friday, Team WRT revealed the remaining names in its driver roster for its upcoming FIA WEC campaign with BMW, which will see it run cars in both Hypercar and LMGT3.
Longstanding BMW factory driver Augusto Farfus, Sean Gelael (who drove with WRT in LMP2 the past two seasons) and reigning British GT3 champion Darren Leung will drive the No. 31 M4 GT3.
“It’s my third year with Team WRT and it is an honor to be part of this great family and also the BMW M family,” Gelael said.
“I am super-excited. I have been LMP2 vice-champion twice in the WEC. I hope I can get over the hump, and there is one clear goal this year — to get the championship and Le Mans. There are no better team and teammates to go for it.”
Meanwhile, MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi headlines the No. 46, with experienced GT racer Ahmad Al Harthy and works driver Maxime Martin.
“I am extremely delighted to be part of an amazing team such as WRT, at such an exciting time for the WEC,” said Al Harthy, who made his FIA WEC debut last season with TF Sport, who he will now compete against in LMGT3 this season.
“I look forward to working closely with my teammates and achieving great results with them. I have worked with Maxime in the past and he’ll definitely help me improve my driving. Sharing the seat with a legend such as Vale…who would have said that a kid from Oman watching MotoGP on TV would end up racing with such an iconic sportsman? I’m pleased to be working with the entire WRT family.”
It will be Rossi’s first WEC campaign and follows his successful 2023 campaign with WRT in the Intercontinental GT Challenge, World Challenge Europe and Road To Le Mans, which saw him win his first races in a GT3 car.
“The WEC will be new for me. I’ll be with Maxime and Ahmad, and I’m eager to race in the main event at Le Mans, and at places like Austin and Sao Paulo,” said Rossi, who was confirmed for the full WEC season last November. “A brand-new experience for me and hopefully we will be competitive.”
This adds to the previous confirmation of its full Hypercar driver lineup for the M Hybrid V8’s first season in the FIA WEC. The No. 15 will see newly minted BMW factory driver Raffaele Marciello share driving duties with Dries Vanthoor and Marco Wittmann. The No. 20 will be driven by Robin Frijns, Rene Rast and Sheldon van der Linde.
Vincent Vosse, WRT co-CEO, says the upcoming season in the FIA WEC marks a significant milestone for the Belgian team, which is doubling the size of its WEC effort to four cars in the championship after winning the LMP2 title last season.
“As we embark on this exciting journey, many thoughts are coming to my mind,” he said. “Contesting the WEC and Le Mans for overall honors has always been our objective, as a team and mine, personally. Now the dream comes true.
“To be participating with a Hypercar, in what is probably the most competitive era of endurance racing, to defend the colors of a mythical brand [like] BMW, is already an achievement in itself, but of course we want to be successful in this new challenge.
“The entire team has prepared for months for that and we all will give everything to succeed. It won’t be easy, we know, but we have an extraordinary team, incredible driver lineups, a great car and the support of BMW M Motorsport, where we have found many old friends and made new ones.”
Adding to its 2024 commitments with BMW, WRT revealed its plans to contest the World Challenge Europe Endurance and Sprint Cups with the M4 GT3. It will campaign multiple cars in both series.