IMSA news: Albuquerque in, van der Zande out at WTR for 2021

Renger van der Zande will part ways with Wayne Taylor Racing at the conclusion of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, with Filipe Albuquerque replacing him.

Dutch driver van der Zande as recently as this week told Motorsport.com that he had been expecting to remain at the squad for a fourth successive season as WTR makes the transition from Cadillac to Acura DPi machinery for the 2021 campaign.

His links to Acura parent Honda, for which he races in the Intercontinental GT Challenge, appeared to make the two-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winner a strong candidate to line up alongside Ricky Taylor, who is widely expected to return to his father’s outfit next year following a three-year spell with Acura Team Penske.

But now van der Zande has revealed that Albuquerque has instead been given the nod to take the seat alongside Taylor, as WTR gets set to drop both van der Zande and his current teammate Ryan Briscoe in favour of an all-new line-up in 2021.

“They’re going for somebody else, it’s unbelievable,” van der Zande told Motorsport.com. “During the Daytona 24 Hours and Petit Le Mans I was the fastest man on the track, the statistics show that too.

“I’m leading the championship [along with Briscoe], I have three years of experience with this team and then they just go for someone else.

“They opted for Albuquerque: a good driver but comparable to me. I don’t know why they chose him. The engineers at WTR also think it’s unbelievable. I haven’t had an answer from the team why they made this decision.

“I am now at Spa for the 24 Hours and everywhere in the paddock I hear surprised reactions. At least I’m not the only one who thinks it’s a strange decision.”

#10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. Cadillac DPi, DPi: Renger Van Der Zande, Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

The last-minute nature of WTR’s decision means that van der Zande is in danger of not having a full-time IMSA ride for next season, especially as next season appears set to feature a diminished field of DPis at the head of the field.

“I was more or less confirmed for 2021 but they have now gone back on that,” said the Dutchman. “That means that I still have to talk to other teams but it’s too late for that, a lot of teams already have the line-up for next year. So that’s actually bad timing twice.”

Albuquerque meanwhile is set for a full-time return to IMSA having lost out when Action Express Racing slimmed down from two cars to a single Cadillac for this season, taking up a third driver role alongside AXR full-timers Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani.

This year he has also claimed the European Le Mans Series crown with a round to spare and victory in the LMP2 class of the Le Mans 24 Hours, both with United Autosports.

Albuquerque could combine his WTR drive in IMSA with another season in the WEC with United, as the two schedules do not clash in 2021.

#31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi, DPi: Pipo Derani, Felipe Nasr, Filipe Albuquerque

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images


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