Former Nissan pilot Reip could join Bentley in Blancpain GT enduros

Former Nissan GT Academy winner Wolfgang Reip could defend his Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup title with the M-Sport Bentley team

Former Nissan pilot Reip could join Bentley in Blancpain GT enduros

The Belgian won Nissan's gamer-to-racer programme in 2012, and what was then the Blancpain Endurance Series last year with the RJN Nissan squad alongside Alex Buncombe and Katsumasa Chiyo.

After being released by Nissan, Reip is in the frame for the vacant seat in the second factory Bentley Continental GT3, along with Briton Matt Bell.

Reip is trying out for M-Sport at the official BGTS test at Paul Ricard on Wednesday.

Matthew Wilson, who manages the Bentley programme at M-Sport, told Autosport: "We want to get him in the car to see what he can do, though we know he was quick in a front-engined Nissan.

"And we're not necessarily testing him only with a view to filling that opportunity."

Wilson did confirm that Reip and Bell were the "two most serious candidates" for the seat alongside Maxime Soulet and Andy Soucek in the #8 Continental in the enduros.

Having raced for Bentley at the Bathurst 12 Hour this year and last, Bell is not at Ricard, but did take part in M-Sport's 30-hour endurance test at the French track over the winter.

Wilson stressed there wasn't a need to run the 26-year-old Briton.

"We already know what Matt can do and we only have one car for our two driver line-ups here," he explained.

The seat has become vacant after Maximilian Buhk decided to stay with the HTP Motorsport squad following the German team's late switch to Mercedes.

He raced for M-Sport in the BES last year, but drove an HTP-run Bentley in the sister Blancpain Sprint Series and ADAC GT Masters.

M-Sport will race in the BGTS sprints for the first time to defend the crown won last season by Buhk and Vincent Abril, who joined Bentley's factory line-up late last year.

New rules for the BGTS this season demand that a manufacturer must be represented in both the Endurance and Sprint Cups if it is to compete at the Spa 24 Hours.

That has compelled M-Sport to do the sprints - with yet to be revealed driver pairings - because Bentley has no other representative in the series, but Wilson stressed that there was a strong desire to take part.

"It's more attractive to us now that it has been cut to five races [from seven] and is going to better circuits," he said.

"We also want to go back and defend the sprint title."

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