Title favourite WRT has "surprised everyone" in first WEC season

Belgian squad WRT has “surprised everyone” by challenging for the LMP2 title in its maiden season in the FIA World Endurance Championship, according to Ferdinand Habsburg.

Title favourite WRT has "surprised everyone" in first WEC season

After winning prestigious GT races like the Nurburgring 24 Hours and Spa 24 Hours, WRT has ventured into prototype racing this year with a twin programme in the WEC and European Le Mans Series, running an Oreca 07 in both categories.

Having wrapped up the ELMS title with a round to spare, WRT is now gunning for LMP2 honours in the WEC, with back-to-back victories in Le Mans 24 Hours and Bahrain 6 Hours putting it in the lead of the championship ahead of this weekend’s title decider.

Habsburg, Robin Frijns and Charles Milesi currently sit five points clear of the #28 JOTA Oreca of Stoffel Vandoorne, Sean Gelael and Tom Blomqvist, with Anthony Davidson, Antonio Felix da Costa and Roberto Gonzalez a further 12 points adrift in third in the other JOTA entry. 

United Autosports’ Philip Hanson is also in mathematical contention for the title, but at best has an outside chance of defending his crown in the car he shares with Filipe Albuquerque and Fabio Scherer.

“When you speak of expectations, the team always expects to win,” Habsburg told Autosport. “At the moment we are hitting the target. 

“But I think if someone had told WRT that in their first year of prototypes, that they will win ELMS, that they will Le Mans and that they will be leading the World Endurance Championship after the penultimate round, I think they would sign that deal any day and they'd be super happy with it.

“They deserve everything that they've earned this year. They surprised everyone and have earned their respect up and down the grid. I think it will pay off in the long term to have put all this effort in.”

Podium P2: #31 Team WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson: Robin Frijns, Ferdinand Habsburg-Lothringen, Charles Milesi

Podium P2: #31 Team WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson: Robin Frijns, Ferdinand Habsburg-Lothringen, Charles Milesi

Photo by: Adrenal Media

With a maximum of 39 points on offer in the Bahrain 8 Hours, including an extra point for pole position, Habsburg feels WRT must win the title decider this Saturday to guarantee itself the title.

“[The points situation] keeps us on our toes, we've got to win, we've got to win on Saturday,” he said. “If we don't win we have a high risk of losing the championship and we are super aware of that.” 

“I think the pressure is on and whoever deals with that pressure best will win the championship. I don't think we are necessarily better than JOTA or United, I think we all are on a very very high level and at the moment we have the edge but we need to keep at it, otherwise we are going to lose it.”

Read Also:

Habsburg joined WRT during its second season in the DTM with a customer Audi RS5, impressing the outfit with a strong run of results including a podium finish at Zolder before making the move to prototypes with the team in 2021.

Asked if he wishes to remain with WRT for the 2022 season, Habsburg said: “I would like to, yeah. My contract with WRT ends this year and I'll be absolutely chuffed and honoured to be re-signed by them.

“I think we always speak about what the future can hold. I think we have a good relationship and get on with everyone really well and I hope that they are happy with my performance this year, and if it seems solid enough Vincent [Vosse, team boss] might have me for another year. 

“But I think Vincent has got very big plans, he's got a lot of cards to hold and he's got to prioritise the team and I think that's what he does best. if I am a part of that, that's awesome. If not, we will stay good friends. And if not next year, maybe the year after.”

shares
comments
Ferrari gets BoP boost ahead of Bahrain WEC finale
Previous article

Ferrari gets BoP boost ahead of Bahrain WEC finale

Next article

Buemi: Toyota #8 crew "will take risks" in season finale

Buemi: Toyota #8 crew "will take risks" in season finale
Load comments
Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021 Plus

Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021

Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez scored a second successive World Endurance Championship title in the #7 Toyota, as its new Le Mans Hypercar went unbeaten. Autosport recaps how each of the four classes in the 2021 season were won and picks out the best LMH and GTE drivers

WEC
8 h
The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending Plus

The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending

OPINION: The deeply unsatisfying ending to a brilliant World Endurance Championship GTE Pro battle in Bahrain had Ferrari provisionally heading back from the desert as the victor. But Porsche plans to appeal the outcome, which rests on a number of confusing elements that have yet to be satisfactorily explained

WEC
Nov 9, 2021
How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint Plus

How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint

The Ferrari versus Porsche fight for the World Endurance Championship's GTE Pro title had been a finely-poised affair, right up until Alessandro Pier Guidi's punt on Michael Christensen in the closing stages of the Bahrain 8 Hours handed Ferrari a provisional title, pending Porsche's appeal. Here's how the controversy played out

WEC
Nov 8, 2021
The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster Plus

The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster

The 1-2 finish achieved by Toyota at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was a result that will have surprised few, given its status as pre-event favourite. But the result was anything but straightforward, as worsening fuel pressure concerns required the team's drivers and engineers to pursue "creative fixes" on the fly. Here is the full story of how it reached the end without a lengthy pit visit

Le Mans
Nov 3, 2021
How the #7 Toyota squad moved closer to clinching WEC's 2021 title Plus

How the #7 Toyota squad moved closer to clinching WEC's 2021 title

In the penultimate round of the 2021 World Endurance Championship, a better run of tyre wear for Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi brought the Toyota trio its third win from five events, as the #7 squad put one hand on the title. Here's how the first of the WEC's two Bahrain enduros played out

WEC
Nov 1, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Plus

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
The standout memories of Le Mans 2021 Plus

The standout memories of Le Mans 2021

OPINION: With four of the five Hypercar entries unproven in a 24-hour race, it would not have been unexpected for at least one of them to suffer serious reliability trouble. That they all managed to make it through the race relatively unscathed, says GARY WATKINS, was something of a surprise.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021