Thursday, February 29, 2024
HomeMotorsportsSpotted at Barcelona test: DTM driver Kelvin van der Linde in a...

Spotted at Barcelona test: DTM driver Kelvin van der Linde in a Lexus in 2024?

Kelvin van der Linde in the Lexus of ex-AMG team ASP? What could be behind it and why a commitment does not conflict with his DTM program at Abt

Spectacular news about Kelvin van der Linde: The Abt driver, who has no longer been part of the Audi Sport squad since the end of 2022, was spotted testing in Barcelona these days. That alone is not particularly exciting, but the car in which the 27-year-old South African was sitting was: it was the ASP team’s Lexus RC F GT3.

This matches Kelvin van der Linde’s Instagram story a few days ago: “Excited to begin a new chapter,” he wrote – and posted a photo taken from the plane, with the location Barcelona. A new chapter? That doesn’t sound like a one-off test.

It would therefore stand to reason that the ASP team, which has fielded the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in recent years, would join forces with Kelvin van der Linde in the future

ASP team wants to compete with Lexus in the WEC

In fact, the strong French team, which secured the drivers’ and teams’ title in the GT World Challenge Europe endurance series this year, is currently looking for drivers to compete in the LMGT3 class in the WEC and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The newly established class, which will replace the GTE cars in the World Endurance Championship from 2024, will feature GT3 cars for the first time this year, giving teams like ASP the opportunity to compete at Le Mans. Especially as Toyota has almost guaranteed a starting place, as manufacturers who also run a hypercar program are preferred in the class

Why a Lexus entry would not be a problem for Abt

The team has already engaged Jose Maria Lopez for the race, who will be replaced by Nyck de Vries in Toyota’s hypercar program. With Kelvin van der Linde, the team would have a top-class driver on board, who is also one of the most experienced GT3 drivers.

But would a Lexus entry not cause a conflict of interest with the DTM program in the Abt-Audi in the 2024 season, which was confirmed by the Kempten-based team at the season finale in Hockenheim in October 2023?

No, because Abt only needs the South African, who is entering the second year of a two-year contract with the team, for the DTM commitments and he has no obligations to the Audi brand. As there is no overlap between the DTM and WEC, the path would be clear

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