Benoit to contest Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with WRT
- The Frenchman will also race in the Italian GT Championship
Benoit Treluyer will compete in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, as he aims to add more victories to his impressive CV.
Driving for the team that took him to sixth in his maiden Andros Trophy campaign last winter, it may be a new championship, car and different team-mates for Benoit, but it’s still the same Audi family that he won three Le Mans 24 Hours with.
W Racing Team is one of the leading GT outfits in the world and the 2012 World Endurance champion is looking forward to his first race with them in the Audi R8 LMS.
“I drove GT 500s in Japan and I’ve had some GT racing experience in Europe with the previous Audi R8 in 2014,” said Benoit. “I really enjoyed driving this year’s car and if I had any doubts, they are gone. I’m very excited after the recent test, it feels so good to be back on the track.
“Whatever happens, I think GT racing is where I’m at right now. I’m lucky to still be a part of the Audi team, I’ve enjoyed some amazing memories and I hope to continue making them!”
With a racing career spanning more than 20 years, Benoit is looking forward to bringing experience to the line-up, as he joins Nathanael Berthon and Stephane Richelmi, both aged 27.
“They are quick and friendly,” underlined Benoit. “I am delighted to be able to bring some experience to the line-up. I was helped when I was a young driver and I will be happy to give them a few tips that I’ve learned over the years.
“Nathanael and Stephane are great guys, with a friendship that stretches back to their GP2 days. I know “Nat” well, as we were team-mates last winter in the Andros Trophy, I am delighted to have him join our crew. I do not know Stephane very well, but I saw him compete in WEC and he did a great job. I am convinced that we will make a strong trio.”
The crew will be hoping to get the better of the other WRT Audi R8s in the Endurance Cup, especially Benoit’s very close friend Fassler, with whom he shared all of his LMP1 success.
“It will be strange being in the same team as Marcel but not in the same car,” laughed Benoit. “We will see if there is a way to race again together. Anyway, this is part of what we want for the future.”
In the meantime, the two partners in crime will have to make sure to follow the rules set by their new team, which Benoit has been excited by.
“WRT is an incredible organisation,” added the Frenchman. “I am really impressed. After working with one of the best, if not the best, WEC team, I was expecting to go down a step… Not at all! The whole approach is as professional as it was with the Audi Sport Team Joest.
“It is really fantastic to see and, in addition to this, there is also the friendly atmosphere that we had at Joest. The only exception is that here everybody speaks French, which is obviously a bonus!
“This season, I want to enjoy myself and push my limits. In LMP, due to the technology, we drivers were dependant on the car and were less involved in the overall performance. This is not the case in GT racing where “attack” really does mean attack!”
Monza hosts the first round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup on 22-23 April.
Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup 2017 calendar:
Monza, Italy, 22-23 April
Silverstone, United Kingdom, 13-14 May
Circuit Paul Ricard, France, 23-24 June
Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, 4 July (Test Day)
24 Hours of Spa, Belgium, 27-30 July
Barcelona, Spain, 30 September-1 October
Alongside his Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup duties, Benoit will contest the Italian GT Championship with Audi Sport Italia this season. He joins 2013 Auto GP winner Vittorio Ghirelli and will drive an Audi R8 LMS in the Super GT3 class.
The championship gets underway on April 28-30 at Imola, with rounds also taking place at Misano, Monza, Mugello and Vallelunga.
Italian GT Championship 2017 calendar:
Imola, 28-30 April
Misano, 2-4 June
Monza, 16-18 June
Mugello, 14-16 July
Imola, 8-10 September
Vallelunga, 22-24 September
Mugello, 6-8 October