British ex-Formula One driver Will Stevens continues his successful relationship with the multi-Championship winning Belgian Audi Club Team WRT in both the Blancpain GT Series’ Sprint and Endurance Cups in 2017. Stevens, who switched to Blancpain GT racing last year impressively scoring three podiums in the ultra-competitive GT3 category, competes in the Sprint Cup with Markus Winkelhock (D) and with Marcel Fässler (CH) plus Dries Vanthoor (B) in the Endurance Cup in an Audi R8 LMS.
Will, aged 25, also contested the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship, scoring two LMP2 victories plus second in class – sixth overall – on his Le Mans 24 Hour race début in his three races with G-Drive Racing. Despite receiving multiple offers to complete a full WEC season this year, Stevens has opted to concentrate on the 10-event Blancpain programme due to clashing dates – a pro-active decision taken by Will to benefit his long-term career prospects in GT racing. Stevens has been pre-season testing the WRT Audi R8 LMS at Misano this week, the Italian track that hosts the season-opener on 1-2 April. Meanwhile Will gets the opportunity to race on “home” soil twice – at Brands Hatch (6-7 May) and Silverstone (13-14 May).
Stevens’ career began in karts (2003) and led to several National and International Championship titles including winning the European, Asia-Pacific and International Open Championships in 2007. Formerly a member of the Honda F1 Racing Team’s Driver Development Programme, Will then scored numerous victories in Formula Renault 2.0 in both the British and EuroCup Series and in Formula Renault 3.5 as part of his top level junior single-seater career. In 2013 and 2014, Stevens was part of the Caterham F1 Team Driver Academy and undertook a substantial amount of development work in the simulator before briefly leaving to take up a role as Reserve Driver at Marussia and then returning to Caterham to make his F1 race debut at Abu Dhabi in 2014. Stevens duly completed a full F1 season in 2015 with the Manor F1 Racing Team taking his GP starts to 18.
2017 Blancpain GT Series
Rd1 01-02 Apr: Misano (I) – Sprint Cup
Rd2 22-23 Apr: Monza (I) – Endurance Cup
Rd3 06-07 May: Brands Hatch (GB) – Sprint Cup
Rd4 13-14 May: Silverstone (GB) – Endurance Cup
Rd5 02-04 Jun: Zolder (B) – Sprint Cup
Rd6 23-24 Jun: Paul Ricard (F) – Endurance Cup
Rd7 27-30 Jul: 24 Hours of Spa (B) – Endurance Cup
Rd8 25-27 Aug: Hungaroring (HUN) – Sprint Cup
Rd9 15-17 Sep: Nürburgring (D) – Sprint Cup
Rd10 30 Sep-1 Oct: Barcelona (SP) – Endurance Cup
Will Stevens (GB): Lives: Surrey, England. Aged 25.
“I’m very pleased to be continuing my relationship with Belgian Audi Club Team WRT and to be racing the Audi R8 LMS again. I’ve made the decision to prioritise GT racing and specifically the two Blancpain Series this year. Both will be incredibly competitive again in 2017 but I’m really looking forward to the challenge. The racing will be extremely close and it requires full focus to be successful. I had several very good opportunities to also continue my career in the WEC but there are a couple of date clashes. For my career in the long term, I believe it’s best I concentrate on the Blancpain campaigns although I’d love to return to Le Mans which would fit in with this year’s Blancpain calendar. The experience I gained in my first GT3/LMP season and driving alongside René [Rast], will also serve me well this season. I’m delighted to have Markus, Marcel and Dries as co-drivers in order that we can challenge for race victories and be in contention for championship title success.”
Vincent Vosse, Team Principal WRT:
“Having shown good potential with us last year in his first GT3 season, I’m certain Will is going to do a very good job in 2017 with WRT. Last year’s results didn’t really show his true pace, his performances deserved better results. I’m confident he will shine this season. He’s totally focussed on Blancpain and ‘his’ car will be a strong performer in both the Sprint and Endurance Cup events.”
Source. Martyn Pass Public Relations