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
How Toyota’s sole survivor turned the tables at Spa Plus

How Toyota’s sole survivor turned the tables at Spa

After a chastening opening to the season at Sebring that ended in an enormous accident, Toyota's #7 crew got their World Endurance Championship underway with victory at a treacherously slippery Spa to make up for its sister car's Sebring defeat to Alpine, as Glickenhaus's promising qualifying turned to disaster in the race

WEC
May 9, 2022
The Chinese sportscar protege targeting a path to the top with Porsche Plus

The Chinese sportscar protege targeting a path to the top with Porsche

Yifei Ye came within one lap of winning the LMP2 class on his Le Mans 24 Hours debut last year, and his eye-catching 2021 has gained Porsche’s interest. With the German manufacturer preparing for a return to the top tier, the Chinese youngster is on the path to join it

WEC
Apr 14, 2022
How WEC got off to a stormy start in 2022 as rulemakers dampen Toyota's dominance Plus

How WEC got off to a stormy start in 2022 as rulemakers dampen Toyota's dominance

Toyota’s stranglehold on the World Endurance Championship ended at the 2022 opener at Sebring, but all accusing eyes were on the Balance of Performance system as the key to the shake-up. Here's how it unfolded, to see Alpine celebrating under a stormy sky having blown away the defending champions

WEC
Mar 21, 2022
Why Penske remains ambitious for its WEC learning year Plus

Why Penske remains ambitious for its WEC learning year

Team Penske is gearing up for its role in running Porsche’s LMDh programme from 2023 by entering this year's World Endurance Championship with an LMP2 car. Although the team is considering 2022 as a season to learn, it is no less serious about winning than ever - which should make the already fiercely competitive class even more so

WEC
Mar 17, 2022
Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022 Plus

Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022

Ahead of the much-anticipated arrival of its new 9X8 Hypercar, Peugeot revealed that it would not be entering this year's Le Mans 24 Hours with its incoming machinery. Although development restrictions for homologated cars are partially responsible, the French marque can draw on its own lessons from its history in sportscars

WEC
Feb 28, 2022
Why two names for the same thing could cloud sportscar racing's new golden era Plus

Why two names for the same thing could cloud sportscar racing's new golden era

OPINION: The adoption by IMSA of the GTP name for its forthcoming LMDh versus Le Mans Hypercar era in 2023 appeals to fans of nostalgia - but it undermines the commonality achieved by bringing its rulebook into line with the World Endurance Championship. GTP or Hypercar, both sides should settle on a single name

WEC
Feb 15, 2022
Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing Plus

Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing

Few disciplines of motorsport offer better possibilities to build a colossus of the track than sportscars. For Autosport's recent Monsters of Motorsport special issue, we picked out some of the finest (and not so fine) that have graced sportscar classics including Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring

Le Mans
Feb 4, 2022
Why an F1-snubbed British world champion has no regrets in retirement Plus

Why an F1-snubbed British world champion has no regrets in retirement

He may not have won the Le Mans 24 Hours - falling agonisingly short in 2016 - and didn't get the opportunities in Formula 1 his talents merited. But after calling time on his professional career last month, Anthony Davidson says his pride in his performances with Peugeot and Toyota in LMP1 mean more than the results he achieved

WEC
Dec 17, 2021