Trio Look to Build on No. 16 Porsche’s Endurance Cup Title This Year
By Mark Robinson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Coming off a season that saw Wright Motorsports claim the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup championship in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Daytona (GTD) class, the team has added one of the GTD overall season champions to its driver mix for 2022.
Jan Heylen and Ryan Hardwick return to drive the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R for the full season. Zacharie Robichon, who drove to the 2021 GTD title with Laurens Vanthoor in the Pfaff Motorsports Porsche, will join Heylen and Hardwick in the Wright Motorsports entry for the four IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup events in 2022.
Hardwick and Patrick Long finished second in the 2020 GTD standings and were slated to pair again in the No. 16 this year, until Hardwick missed the first two races of the season after sustaining a concussion in practice at Daytona International Speedway in January. Trent Hindman drove in place of Hardwick at all but one race this year, with Heylen joining the team for the endurance races.
Long, Hindman and Heylen combined to capture the Michelin Endurance Cup this year. Long announced on Thursday of the Motul Petit Le Mans season finale week that he was retiring from fulltime driving, so team owner John Wright opted to move Heylen – who also won the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Grand Sport (GS) championship this year in a Wright Motorsports Porsche – into Long’s spot in the WeatherTech Championship entry sponsored by 1st Phorm, Una Vida Tequila and Mountain Motorsports.
“I’m really excited, and I know this goes for the whole team, to continue this relationship with Ryan and 1st Phorm,” Heylen said. “We’re coming off of a strong season in GT4 (Michelin Pilot Challenge) with Ryan as my teammate, to now go back to a full season with Ryan in GTD. This is something we’re all really excited about.
“Ryan is the guy that is making all this happen, so I’m grateful for this opportunity. This will be my eighth year with Wright Motorsport, and it means a lot to be a part of this team, especially with John Wright and Bobby Vigilone’s (technical director) support.”
Hardwick looks to rebound from the 2021 season that saw him sidelined early with the concussion and later in the year after testing positive for COVID-19.
“The 2021 season didn’t quite go as planned for me personally,” he said. “After a major setback in Daytona to start the year, I put my entire focus squarely on our Michelin Pilot Challenge GS program, and along with my teammate Jan Heylen, we accomplished our goal of winning the team and driver championships in that series. Now for 2022, I am directing all my energy and focus back on our primary GTD program.”
Robichon and Vanthoor rallied to win the GTD season crown by finishing first or second in the final five races. Robichon hopes to bring those same type of results to Wright next season.
“I’m excited at the opportunity to be joining Wright Motorsports for the 2022 Michelin Endurance Cup races,” he said. “Their endurance cup championship in 2021 speaks to the level at which this team operates, and I’ll be looking to help them achieve even more success next year. … I’ve spent a few years competing against this team, and I know how strong they are. The opportunity for myself to join this lineup is one I don’t take for granted and the season can’t come soon enough.”