Belgian sportscar racing outfit Team WRT is set to run BMW’s M Hybrid V8 LMDh car in the WEC from 2024.
“It is fantastic to see how our LMDh project has been gaining momentum in recent weeks,” said Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M. “First the successful rollout of the BMW M Hybrid V8, followed by the decision of the board to approve the return to the WEC – and now the agreement with one of the best and most successful teams in endurance racing. We are proud and delighted that a top-quality team like Team WRT has agreed to take on our BMW M Hybrid V8 and compete with it at Le Mans, and at all the other WEC races. The next few years will see us in a great position in both top race programs, with BMW M Team RLL in the IMSA series and Team WRT in the WEC.”
According to head of BMW M Motorsport Andreas Roos, WRT will make the ideal partner in Europe. The team is set to part ways with Audi at the end of this year, a brand which it has been associated with since its founding. However, with Audi’s LMDh project shelved and the company’s motorsport involvement decidedly down at heel, there were clearly no options for the team to progress in the upper echelons of sportscar racing with the Ingolstadt marque.
“From the word go, discussions with Vincent Vosse (WRT team principal) and his partners were very positive. It was immediately clear that we share a passion for the WEC project and the BMW M Hybrid V8, and it did not take long to come to an agreement on collaboration,” said Roos. “There will now be a period of intensive preparations next year, before the first competitive appearances in 2024. We have not yet considered any potential appearances for Team WRT in GT racing. Over the coming months, we will make a decision about our race program for the BMW M4 GT3 in the 2023 season in close collaboration with all our BMW M Motorsport teams.”
Vincent Vosse summed up that the project was a culmination of over a decade’s work for the team: “Team WRT was launched 13 years ago and has enjoyed continuous success in different categories, mainly GT3 and endurance racing. Since the very beginning, the 24 Hours of Le Mans has been in our plans and in our dreams, and being part of the new Hypercar era of the FIA WEC that is about to open, was our strongest desire.
“To prepare for that, we have launched a program in LMP2 two years ago, where we have proved to be competitive and successful, taking ELMS and FIA WEC titles, and also a class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in our maiden participation. Entering the LMDh arena with a strong partner such as BMW M Motorsport was the logical next step and we are not only thrilled about the challenge ahead but also thankful for BMW M Motorsport’s trust in us. I can still remember when BMW M Motorsport won at Le Mans in 1999, as I was one of the drivers of the team in the neighboring box. We will work hard to repeat these moments and live them together.”