Marc VDS Returns to GT3 With New Boutsen Racing Partnership – Sportscar365

Photo: Boutsen VDS

The Marc VDS name will return to sports car racing as part of a new partnership with Boutsen Racing that will compete in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe.

The newly named Boutsen VDS operation will campaign two Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo IIs in both the Sprint and Endurance Cup, with Aurélien Panis and Alberto di Folco confirmed as the two first drivers in the lineup.

Marc VDS Racing Team was a firm presence in sports car racing in the first half of the 2010s, competing in the FIA GT Championship, European Le Mans Series and in the 24 Hours of Le Mans alongside its activities in motorcycle racing.

In 2015, its final year of GT3 competition before it shifted its focus fully to racing on two wheels, it won the 24 Hours of Spa with a BMW Z4 GT3 driven by Lucas Luhr, Markus Palttala and Nicky Catsburg.

“Everyone knows my passion for motorsport, which is a family heritage,” said Marc van der Straten.

“In motor racing, my Marc VDS team is known for winning the 24 Hours of Spa in 2015, but everyone also remembers the Gillet Vertigo, the Ford GT, the Ford Mustang and even the Aston Martin prototype which competed in our colours at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2011.

“The Marc VDS Racing Team has also been active in motorcycling since 2010, with three world titles in Moto2. However, I wanted to return to GT and endurance racing, one of my favorite disciplines.

“The possibility of associating myself with the Lainé-Boutsen family allows me to revive the cat, which is my logo, without starting from scratch.

“I am very happy about this and I cannot wait for 2023 to start.”

Olivia Boutsen, the sister of ex-F1 driver Thierry Boutsen and responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Boutsen Racing operation, described the new collaboration with Van der Straten as the first step towards greater aspirations.

“We have a great many ambitions,” said Boutsen. “But we also know that we have to progress step by step.

“In 2023, we will still be present in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo and we will strengthen our presence in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe. For the future, everything is possible, but we will take one year at a time.”

Boutsen Racing switched to Audi machinery for the first time this year, having competed with BMW and McLaren previously.

The rest of the driver lineup will be announced in the coming weeks.

Davey Euwema is a Sportscar365 reporter based in The Netherlands, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, DTM, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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