BMW M Team WRT has a busy season ahead, with running a pair of M Hybrid V8 prototypes in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), as well as M4 GT3 entries in both the WEC and GT World Challenge Europe series (GTWC). The team has recently announced their M4 GT3 drivers for the coming season, which firms up their entire lineup for both M4 GT3 entries as well as the M Hybrid V8.
BMW M Team WRT announced the M Hybrid V8 drivers for WEC back in January. The #15 M Hybrid V8 will be shared by Dries Vanthoor, Marco Wittmann, and Raffaele Marciello, while the #20 car will be shared by Sheldon van der Linde, René Rast, and Robin Frijns. Vanthoor and Rast gained valuable experience in the car in the IMSA Rolex 24 at Daytona, which was their first competitive race in the car. Wittmann and van der Linde also drove the car in IMSA races last year, but Marciello and Frijns will have their first competitive outing in the Hypercar in the WEC season opener.
BMW M Team WRT will have a strong LMGT3 program in WEC this year alongside the Hypercar program and will also compete in their second consecutive season of GTWC with the M4 GT3. The FIA rules for the WEC LMGT3 class require drivers in the lineup from each of the FIA driver categories, which includes Platinum or Gold (which are typically factory drivers), Silver and Bronze (with Bronze being the least experienced drivers on the roster).
In the WEC LMGT3 class, Augusto Farfus will spearhead the #31 entry as the works driver in the car and will share it with Sean Gelael (Silver rating) and Darren Leung (Bronze rating). Gelael has a lot of experience and was vice champion twice previously in the WEC LMP2 prototype class. Leung was very impressive last year in the Century Motorsport M4 GT3 entry in the British GT Championship, winning the title with works driver Dan Harper. The #46 entry in the WEC LMGT3 class will see works driver Maxime Martin share the car with Valentino Rossi (Silver) and Ahman Al-Harthy (Bronze).
In GTWC, Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts will once again compete in the full season in the Pro class in the #32 M4 GT3, and will be joined at the longer Endurance Cup rounds by Sheldon van der Linde. Maxime Martin and Valentino Ross will share the #46 M4 GT3 again as they did in 2023 in the Pro class, with a focus on the Endurance Cup rounds where they will be joined by Raffaele Marciello. Martin and Rossi will also enter select Sprint cup rounds, with Brands Hatch and Misano confirmed so far. BMW M Team WRT will also have an entry in the Bronze class of the Endurance Cup rounds with Ahmad Al-Harthy and Sam De Haan sharing the #30 M4 GT3 with works driver Jens Klingmann. De Haan will also drive in the Silver class of the Sprint Cup races with Calan Williams.
Team owner Vincent Vosse is excited for the challenges ahead. “In GT racing, we had a positive start to our collaboration with BMW M Motorsport last year,” he said. “We took up the challenges, we won races, long-distance and sprint ones, and we collected some memorable moments like those lived in Misano. But we want more! We want to improve, to win more races, to be champions again. I think we have what it takes, including stellar line-ups, and we’ll go for it. Now is the time, to show we know what to do, with the determination and the passion we have always had.”
The FIA WEC season will open at Qatar in the Middle-East on March 2nd. The only US round of the FIA WEC will be at Circuit of the Americas on September 1st. The GT World Challenge Europe season begins with an Endurance Cup round at Paul Ricard in France on April 5th-7th, followed by the first Sprint Cup round at Brands Hatch in England on May 4th-5th.
[Photos courtesy SRO, BMW]