Laurens Vanthoor will be replaced by fellow Audi factory driver Rene Rast in the WRT team’s lineup on the FIA GT World Cup in Macau later this month.
Vanthoor has been ruled out of the Nov. 21-22 event as a result of the leg injuries he sustained in the penultimate round of the Blancpain Sprint Series at Misano at the beginning of October.
Rast, who has raced with Vanthoor at WRT in the Spa 24 Hours in the last three years, is stepping into his place in the Belgian squad’s pair of second-generation Audi R8 LMS GT3 contenders, one of which will be run under the Audi Hong Kong banner for local driver Marchy Lee.
WRT team boss Vincent Vosse explained that it had been decided to err on the side of caution and give 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series champion Vanthoor extra time to recover from the fractures to both legs he sustained in Misano.
“Laurens’ safety is the most important thing, which is why he is not doing Macau,” Vosse said. “We will give him a few more weeks to him to recover and the bones to mesh, and he will be fine for the Sepang 12 Hours in December [Vanthoor’s next scheduled appearance with the team].”
Vanthoor is scheduled to drive a racing car for the first time since the accident today at a track-day and incentive facility close to WRT’s workshops in Belgium.
Rast will be making his race debut on the Guia circuit at Macau, but Vosse has no doubts that the German will be competitive.
“There’s no pressure on him and we know he is a special guy,” he said.
The third new Audi R8 registered for World Cup points will be entered by Phoenix and driven by DTM ace Edoardo Mortara, who is bidding for a fourth victory in Macau’s GT event to go with his pair of wins in the Formula 3 Grand Prix.
Audi will be joined by Mercedes, McLaren, Porsche and Aston Martin in pursuit of the World Cup manufacturers’ crown at Macau.