Some time ago, we saw Nissan take the decision to not retain most of its factory driver pool, and immediately the problem for the GT Academy graduates would put them in the same situation of a former Red Bull Junior Team driver: will they be able to promote themselves and get contracts elsewhere as the beacking is no more there? For the Belgian driver Wolfgang Reip, the answer is Yes.
Reip already tested the Bentley Continental GT3 machine and will be one of the drivers for M-SPORT Bentley in the Blancpain Endurance Cup, alongside Maxime Soulet and Andy Soucek, as he enters to fill the void of the German driver Maximilian Buhk, who chose to go HTP Motorsport once their contract with Bentley was over. But it's not like Wolfie's achievements would let him behind the German, as he brings a Bathurst 12 Hours win in 2015 and the Blancpain Endurance Series Pro Cup title in the same year. In both occasions when Reip got his titles, one of the main oppositions he had to face off was Bentley M-SPORT, and even Bentley's Brian Gush stated to Sportscar365 that you have to look at your rivals sometimes to get a good factory driver.
What Bentley did is in fact common practice by the manufacturers, as very recently Aston Martin, Porsche and Ford acquired new drivers by looking what their opponents had in their camps, like Kevin Estre, Nicki Thiim and Stefan Mücke.
M-SPORT Bentley is improving its program in order to be eligible for the Blancpain GT title, with Soucek and Soulet participating of the sprint races, with Vincent Abril and Steven Kane will drive the second Continental GT3, with Bentley's ace Guy Smith joining in the endurance races.
Reip is also confirmed in the Sepang 12 Hours race in Asia, and with Bentley extending its program at the Bathurst 12 Hours in Australia, he will be likely to return to get his second title.
PHOTO: Blancpain GT Series