The 2021 season finally gets underway with the opening round of the GT World Challenge Europe taking place at Monza in Italy, with Cumbrian driver Frank Bird in action in what is widely referenced as the pinnacle of the GT3 racing scene.
While the most significant change is that the official name of the series has become the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, the series is introducing a new and very innovative feature, the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series, a one-hour virtual race to take place on Saturday evening, which will count towards the championship, in what is the first attempt to combine track with virtual racing.
This race will award 3-2-1 ‘real’ championship points in the Teams’ standings only (in each the Pro and Silver classes) to the first three classified teams. The series is expected to be even more competitive and well-attended this year with no less than 44 cars being entered in this weekend’s first round of the Endurance Cup, which as normal, traditionally takes place at the Autodromo di Monza in Italy.
Team WRT is entering three Audi R8 LMS in the series this year and will have in Kelvin van der Linde, Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts a Pro trio of the highest calibre. The two other cars will bid for honours in the Silver Cup with line-ups exuding youth and talent including Benjamin Goethe, Stuart Hall, James Pull, Valdemar Eriksen and Ryuichiro Tomita, who will team up with Penrith’s Frank Bird.
WRT is the defending team champion in the overall GTWCE, having also conquered in 2020 the Team and Driver crowns in the Sprint Cup. For the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series race, van der Linde (Pro) and Tomita (Silver) will represent Team WRT at Monza.
Frank Bird: “I am really pleased to be joining Team WRT for the upcoming season which gets underway thisweekend at Monza. We have a great driver line-up, so hopefully we can start with a good result. Thanks to the team for the opportunity and I can’t wait to get cracking now.”
Team WRT entries (Audi R8 LMS)
#30 Benjamin Goethe (DE) – Stuart Hall (GB) – James Pull (GB) Silver
#31 Frank Bird (GB) – Valdemar Eriksen (DK) - Ryuichiro Tomita (JP) Silver
#32 Kelvin van der Linde (ZA) – Dries Vanthoor (BE) – Charles Weerts (BE) Pro
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