Boutsen VDS joins forces with Mercedes-AMG for 2024 Fanatec GT Europe campaign

Boutsen VDS joins forces with Mercedes-AMG for 2024 Fanatec GT Europe campaign

Boutsen VDS will link up with Mercedes-AMG in 2024 to run a two-car Fanatec GT Europe programme, including a move to the top-tier Pro class. 

The Boutsen VDS name debuted in 2023 thanks to a partnership between established Belgian squads Boutsen Racing and Marc VDS. Running a multi-car programme with Audi, the new alliance earned the Fanatec GT Europe and Sprint Cup teams' titles in the Gold Cup class at the first time of asking.   

For 2024, Boutsen VDS will switch manufacturer to Mercedes-AMG, campaigning the Affalterbach marque's ultra-successful AMG GT3 Evo model in the full 10-round championship. It will continue to be led by Marc VDS founder Marc van der Straten and the husband-and-wife duo of Olivier Lainé and Olivia Boutsen. 

In a significant development, the team's Pro car is set to feature official Mercedes-AMG Performance and Junior representatives, while the second will compete in either the Gold Cup or Silver Cup, depending on the categorisation of the drivers selected. Line-ups will be announced at a later date. 

“I was delighted to return to the paddocks of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe in 2023, and I had a great time as part of the team led by Olivier Lainé, his wife Olivia Boutsen and their son Amaury,” said Marc van der Straten.

“I am proud of what we have achieved, including the title of best team in the Gold Cup class, both in the Sprint championship and in the Overall classification combining Sprint and Endurance. 

"From the outset, Olivier and I had the idea that we would also be able to fight for the overall classification as soon as possible. So that will be the case from next year and I am delighted. Of course, the dream would be for the cat to win the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa a second time, nine years after the success with my team... It is a major challenge, but luck only favours the bold!” 

Olivier Lainé added: “First of all, I would like to thank Audi Sport for those two years of collaboration. However, for the future of the team, the opportunity that presented itself with Mercedes-AMG was one not to be missed. 

"We will be entering two cars for the entire championship, including one in Pro with Mercedes-AMG Performance and Junior drivers. It is a great challenge for us, but it is also very exciting and motivating. 

"I would like to thank Stefan Wendl, Head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing, and the entire Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing team for their confidence. We are already hard at work and we will be doing our utmost to make this collaboration a success.”

Following winter testing, Boutsen VDS will officially debut its new programme during the 2024 Fanatec GT Europe Prologue at Circuit Paul Ricard (5/6 March). The season launches with an Endurance Cup race at the same venue on 5–7 April, followed by the Sprint opener at Brands Hatch on 4–5 May.