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GRT go on a charge with doubled forces in the prestigious Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup

Grasser Racing are all set and ready to go on a charge in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Endurance Cup. Just in time for the prologue of the top-class GT3 endurance series in Le Castellet, France, GRT have finalised their squad for the 2024 season. Lamborghini Squadra Corse supported squad from Austria is fielding two Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2s with powerful driver pairings in the 55-strong field this year. In the PRO category, Christian Engelhart, Marco Mapelli and Franck Perera make for a first-class line-up of three Lamborghini Factory Drivers in the hunt for the overall victory. A trio of promising talents will take to the wheel in the Silver Cup. Hugo Cook, Mateo Llarena and Haytham Qarajouli make their joint debut in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS.

For GRT, the omens for the team's ninth season in the international endurance championship could hardly be better. With three wins from five races, Gottfried Grasser's outfit celebrated the team and drivers' titles in the Silver Cup last year. It was the team's second championship in the GT3 series organised by the SRO Motorsports Group, after racing the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 to overall title honours in the then Blancpain GT Series consisting of the Sprint and Endurance Cup in 2017. With the support of Lamborghini Squadra Corse, the PRO line-up has all the ingredients to build on the great successes.

Christian Engelhart was already part of the team's winning line-up seven years ago. The 37-year-old German will line up again in 2024 as a Lamborghini Factory Driver in the colours of GRT and will contest the five race weekends of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Endurance Cup for the team in addition to his duties in the DTM. Together with Franck Perera (39, France) and Marco Mapelli (36, Italy), he looks back on an extremely successful history in the endurance series. The three Lamborghini Factory Drivers combine a total of 9 victories, 17 podiums, 6 pole positions and 3 fastest laps in the #163 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2.

After winning the Silver Cup title, GRT is relying on a combination of international rookies in the category this year. 19-year-old Hugo Cook stepped up from the British TCR Championship to GT3 racing in 2022. Since then, he has celebrated 14 race wins in national racing series and the championship title in the GT Cup Championship UK in 2023. The British driver will be joined on the grid by Haytham Qarajouli, who is of the same age. The Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 is completely new territory for the youngster from Kuwait. He earned his spurs in one-make series, including winning the Ligier European Series in 2022 with five race victories. He was also successful in endurance racing with one victory and three podiums in the GTX class of the 24H Series.

Mateo Llarena completes the driver pairing of the #19 entry. For the 20-year-old, his involvement with GRT in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Endurance Cup is the next step on the career ladder. The Guatemalan-born Italian has been racing on the world stage of GT3 as a Lamborghini Young Driver since 2021. In addition to competing in the endurance classics at Daytona and Sebring, he made a name for himself in the Italian GT Championship. In the cockpit of the Lamborghini’s GT3 machine, he achieved one victory, six podiums and one pole position.

The season kicks off for GRT and their two driver trios next week with the official tests for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Endurance Cup on 5 and 6 March at the Circuit Paul Ricard. One month later, the season opener will take place on the former Formula 1 circuit in the south of France. The second round on the calendar is the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa at the end of June, which is also the big highlight of the season. After the endurance classic in Belgium, two 3-hour races at the Nürburgring and in Monza are on the menu before the series makes its first appearance in Saudi Arabia for the grand finale. The fifth and final round on the calendar will take place on the Jeddah Grand Prix circuit at the end of November.

Christian Engelhart: "It is something very special for me to be driving with GRT in the Endurance Cup again this season. Our collaboration began in this very championship eight years ago and winning the title together in 2017 was an absolute highlight for both me as a driver and for the team. The aim is of course to build on these successful times. I have two fast and experienced team-mates in Franck and Marco. We are three complete drivers, which definitely makes the difference in endurance racing. I'm looking forward to the season and to going for the win with this strong team."

Marco Mapelli: "I'm really pumped for the season. The team and Gottfried are super motivated and are working very hard to prepare the car. The whole crew is in a great flow and that gives me pretty good vibes. I'm absolutely looking forward to working with Franck and Christian again. As always, it will be a tough season, because the level in the Endurance Cup is extremely high every year. But we have all the ingredients and a capable team lined up to battle for the victory. I am very confident that we have a good chance."

Franck Perera: "I’m really looking forward to this season in the GT World Challenge Endurance Cup. It feels great to be back with Grasser Racing. I did my first race as a Lamborghini Factory Driver with them back in 2018, winning the 24 Hours of Daytona, and of course we’ve had some success in the ADAC GT Masters and the GT World Challenge as well. It’s a great team that always keeps improving and I’m really delighted to be racing with Marco again and also with Christian for the first time. We have good ingredients to achieve something big this year and we will fight for it and give everything."

Hugo Cook: "Driving for such an amazing team makes me very happy. I can't wait to start the next chapter of my career with such a great outift and fantastic team-mates. The Endurance Cup is certainly a big challenge, but I feel well prepared after two years in GT3. We will use the prologue in Le Castellet to prepare and put ourselves in the best possible starting position."

Mateo Llarena: "I am very happy to be joining the Grasser Racing Team for the Silver Cup of the 2024 GT World Challenge Endurance Cup. For sure GRT is a reference team in the GT3 world and inside Lamborghini Squadra Corse. Being part of a first-class team at this level is a privilege. I feel honoured and will be giving my best this year to defend the title in the Silver Cup. I would like to thank Gottfried Grasser, Lamborghini Squadra Corse and particularly Giorgio Sanna for this great opportunity."

Haytham Qarajouli: "I am incredibly proud to announce that I am joining Grasser Racing Team representing the Lamborghini brand in the GT World Challenge Europe. GT3 racing has been a goal of mine for a long time and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the mighty Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2. It’s a fantastic Championship, racing on iconic circuits, some of which I have experienced over the past few years. I am especially looking forward to the Jeddah round, it’s a unique new street circuit. I want to thank my family and management team for making it all happen, we are all looking forward to testing next week at Circuit Paul Ricard."

Gottfried Grasser, Team Principal of GRT: "We are extremely proud to be competing in the Endurance Cup this year with such a strong line-up. Endurance racing has always been part of our team's DNA, which we were able to prove once again last year with the Silver Cup championship. After winning the title, we are of course hungry for more in 2024, which is why we are all the more delighted to be competing in the PRO category again with the fantastic support of Lamborghini Squadra Corse and our new partners from Mountain Wolf. Christian, Marco and Franck are absolute professionals and with three factory drivers of this quality we feel we are ideally positioned for this challenge. In addition, we have a driver pairing with promising rookies in the Silver Cup. Hugo, Mateo and Haytham have made a great impression on the career ladder and we will do everything we can to support them with top material to realise their potential in the highly competitive Endurance Cup. Many thanks to all our partners and sponsors for making this project possible."