- GT1 World Championship to be held with GT3 cars in 2012
- Team WRT from Belgium is set on battling for championship
- Two new Audi R8 LMS ultra cars on the grid
The new Audi R8 LMS ultra will also be competing in the FIA GT1 World Championship next year. Two vehicles of the brand new customer sport race car will be independently fielded by Team WRT in the world's highest-caliber GT racing series.
Successful ascent: when Audi in the 2009 season initiated its customer sport program with the R8 LMS for the GT3 class, this class was one of four major GT categories. Meanwhile the GT3 is not only making its mark nationally but increasingly on an international level as well. Following the inception of a FIA European Championship for GT3 models in 2006, there will also be a FIA GT1 World Championship exclusively held for GT3 vehicles in the future. Consequently, the Audi R8 LMS ultra will be able to compete in the world's top racing class for GT vehicles and, in the 2012 season, fight for a world champion's title of its own for the first time.
"We very much welcome the decision of the FIA World Motor Sport Council on December 7th in favor of the GT3 cars," emphasizes Werner Frowein, Managing Director of quattro GmbH. "In the future, this vehicle class will not only stand for high-caliber national and European customer sport but also for the world's pinnacle in GT racing. We are delighted that Team WRT has submitted its entry for the World Championship and will be representing the colors of Audi Sport customer racing."
The squad based in Flenu, Belgium, has been fielding the Audi R8 LMS in various European championships since 2010. Only two years old, the team has celebrated some remarkable successes this season, having clinched overall victories at the Spa and the Zolder 24 Hours plus having won the Blancpain Endurance Series. "The GT1 World Championship is a wonderful new commitment for us," says a pleased Team Director Vincent Vosse. "We're facing a challenging new task which all of our team members are looking forward to."
According to the wishes of World Championship promoter SRO each team is to compete with two cars of a single vehicle model from a single brand, respectively. While in most GT3 racing series professionals and amateurs share a cockpit, only professional racers compete in the GT1 World Championship. WRT is planning to select and announce its drivers before the end of December. The details on the format of the competition will be approved by the FIA shortly. It is expected that there will be ten worldwide events, each featuring two one-hour races. A provisional race calendar has already been established.
2012 FIA GT1 World Championship
Round 1: Apr 08 Nogaro (France)
Round 2: Apr 22 Zolder (Belgium)
Round 3: May 27 Navarra (Spain)
Round 4: Jul 08 Algarve (Portugal)
Round 5: Aug 26 Peking (China)
Round 6: Sep 02 Ordos (China)
Round 7: Sep 16 Moscow (Russia)
Round 8: Oct 07 Zandvoort (Netherlands)
Round 9: Nov 25 San Luis (Argentina)
Round 10: TBA