2023 was a year of “What ifs” for Ferdinand and the #31 Team WRT crew. They lost a Le Mans podium in the final hour due to a failed suspension, lost the win in Monza with 20 minutes remaining due to engine failure, and lost the win in Bahrain with 40 minutes left due to a bad pit stop. All these issues and some other smaller technical hiccups are the reason why they have never really been in contention for the title, despite their impeccable pace and performance. Ferdinand, Robin and Sean still managed to finish the season in fourth place in the LMP2 standings.
How the race unfolded:
Matching their best Qualifying result of the season, Robin put the #31 in P3 for the final race of the season. Sean took the wheel at the start and skillfully avoiding the opening lap drama he moved up to second place. Ferdinand took over after the first double stint in P3 and with spectacular driving worthy of a world champion, he took the lead shortly after the 2-hour mark. He then passed the wheel to Robin, who did a superb job maintaining the lead and controlling the LMP2 field. Unfortunately, disaster struck with only 40 minutes remaining when the #31 car’s final pit stop took longer than expected because a wheel nut got stuck on the front left wheel. Due to the time lost, the sister car jumped them and they remained in P2 until the chequered flag came out.
This podium closes an important era in Ferdinand’s career. As the LMP2 class won’t be part of the FIA WEC any longer, he bids farewell to Team WRT. Ferdinand joined Vincent Vosse’s outfit in 2020, and delivered the Belgian squad’s most impressive results in DTM, including a maiden pole and podium in Zolder. He then made the jump into LMP2 and FIA WEC together with the team and was part of the trio who took WRT’s maiden LMP2 win, Le Mans win and FIA WEC LMP2 title. After 4 years, 37 races 10 podiums 4 wins together, a chapter ends and a new one begins.
“The race might not have gone to plan but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter. We were the fastest on track, we led most of the race and the way we stuck together at the end really represents how we are as a team. We help each other, we are there for each other and we all try our best for each other. I’ve spent four incredible years with WRT, some of the most important and instrumental years of my career. I have so many memories, I have goosebumps every time I think of them. It’s been really special for me and I never took anything for granted, I really appreciated everything the team did for me. They helped me grow and they made my biggest dreams come true. Thank you for everything to every single member of the team but especially Vincent for putting his trust in me all those years ago. Hopefully, one day I will come back.”
Jamie Campbell-Walter Managing Director, Bullet Sports Management:
“I’ve known Vincent (Vosse) for a long time as we raced together over 20 years ago, so when we first signed with Team WRT I knew Ferdinand would be in good hands, but I couldn’t have predicted how big of a success story it would become. The year in DTM was a terrific start to the relationship and what he achieved with the team in his rookie year in LMP2 was exceptional. In these past three years of racing in LMP2, Ferdinand matured into one of the best sports car drivers of his generation. He won the Asian, European and World Championships plus Le Mans. There isn’t much more you can achieve in this category. There are exciting things on the horizon and I am positive that the next chapter that begins now will be just as successful for Ferdinand.”
Ferdinand’s 2024 program will be revealed shortly.