Audi Sport today announced the completion of a 13-year collaboration with Vincent Voss’s team, Team WRT (W Racing Team), for which 9-time world champion, superstar, and MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi is riding in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe. What can change in case of refusal of WRT from Audi cars?
One of the main endurance races of this season has just ended in Belgium – 24 Hours of Spa, where Team WRT has been winning since 2011, winning the race in the Silver Cup standings this time too (Goethe-Neubauer-Zimmennoer, Audi R8 LMS). The crew of Valentino Rossi lost 2 laps to fellow winners due to a night accident but coped with the task perfectly in the end.
Team WRT has always been the flagship customer team of Audi Sport, providing the top level of racing service to amateur racers. They followed the system of providing turnkey services (car + service), as well as supplementing the crews with professional racing drivers in order to maintain the highest effective level.
Valentino Rossi’s participation in this project follows a similar principle: the 9-time Moto Grand Prix world champion acts as a client, and his partners are professional racers. Valentino’s goal in 2022 was to get the maximum experience, learn the tracks and learn from his colleagues.
In November 2021, he announced a collaboration with Team WRT, where he was “identified” by Audi partners-Volkswagen Group: after all, Valentino Rossi’s project in MotoGP – Mooney VR46 Racing Team is a Ducati client included in VAG! VAG, as part of its projects, tries to cross marketing schemes as much as possible so that all Ducati pilots and team managers drive Audi cars, in races, or on public roads – it doesn’t matter.
Up to this point, Rossi had always been part of the Ferrari fan camp, and at all amateur races endurance performed with the support of the Kessel Racing team in a Ferrari 488 GT3 and achieved great success in amateur races, won them, and climbed to the podium. So the transition to WRT was kind of a surprise, but the sources of this idea surfaced immediately.
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But now, Audi has decided to change the form of cooperation with WRT. This should also affect the relationship with Valentino Rossi, who last Friday, at a press conference in Spa, said that he intends to continue his racing career in 2023 in endurance and that he plans to continue in the GT World Challenge. But with whom, he did not specify.
Audi’s announcement of parting with WRT appeared on the morning of Tuesday, August 2. Of course, Vincent Voss could not have been unaware of this. But did the customers know about the format change?