BMW M Team WRT has revealed a pair of full-season driver line-ups that will contest Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS in 2023.
The announcement was made ahead of the Belgian squad's Christmas party, which takes place this evening in Stavlot, near to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Interest in its crews is especially high, with Team WRT switching to BMW in 2023 following more than a decade with Audi.
Despite the change in machinery, there is plenty of stability on the driver front. As expected, Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts will chase a fourth successive Fanatec GT Sprint Cup title at the wheel of the #32 BMW M4 GT3, having recently been confirmed as factory drivers by the Bavarian marque. The Belgian duo have been teammates since 2020 and earned a record 12 wins together in the short-format championship.
They will also handle the #32 BMW in the Endurance Cup alongside fellow factory driver Sheldeon Van der Linde. Now firmly established on the international stage, the South African made his series debut with Team WRT in 2018 before joining the BMW roster the following year. Coincidentally, van der Linde takes over from elder brother Kelvin, who shared Endurance Cup duties with Weerts and Vanthoor during the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
The second confirmed line-up is the #46 BMW, which provides a major clue as to who will get behind the wheel. Following his first full season in GT racing last year, Valentino Rossi will remain with the Team WRT setup for its switch to BMW machinery, once again running the complete 10-round championship.
His full-season team-mate will be Maxime Martin, who recently returned to the BMW camp following a five-year spell with Aston Martin. Regarded as one of the leading drivers of his generation, Martin will contest the full Fanatec GT season for the first time. At Endurance Cup events their trio will be completed by the vastly experienced Augusto Farfus. BMW's longest serving active factory driver, the Brazilian will rejoin Martin for the first time since the 2015 TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa.
Both line-ups will also contest the 2023 LIQUI MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour, which opens the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli season on 3-5 February. Prior to this, Team WRT will make its first start with the M4 GT3 in January as a privateer entry at the 24 Hours of Dubai
Team WRT Principal Vincent Vosse commented: “It’s a very busy and exciting period for us, as we advance in the new partnership with BMW and prepare for the 2023 season. The end-of-the-year break will be very short, but today is the time for our yearly party, a tradition we cherish and allows the entire WRT family to get together around a good dinner. It’s a perfect time to show our people the BMW M4 GT3 in full race gear and announce some more elements of our 2023 race programmes. We are extremely happy to retain and welcome heavy names such as the ones you have read above. Our first race in Dubai is basically around the corner, shortly followed by our debut as BMW M Team WRT at Bathurst. We are terribly excited at what is ahead of us and can’t wait to be hitting the track!”
BMW M Team WRT is expected to confirm further entries for the 2023 Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS season, which will begin with the traditional test days at Circuit Paul Ricard on 7-8 March. The Endurance Cup launches at Monza on 21-23 April, while the Sprint season gets under way at Brands Hatch on 13-14 May.