Impressive last year on his debut in the World Touring Car Cup (FIA WTCR), Benjamin Lessennes is about to take on a new challenge. After having brilliantly replaced Tiago Monteiro, who was convalescing at the time, in the Honda Civic of Boutsen Ginion Racing, it is now in a GT car that the talented 19-year-old hopes to make a lasting impression. In 2019, the Belgian will take part in the GT4 European Series with a McLaren 570s GT4 entered by Equipe Verschuur. At his side, Benjamin will meet Daniel McKay, from the British GT Championship.
“Since I switched from karting to motor racing, I have focused on racing touring cars,” explains the 2017 TCR Benelux champion. “But this is a great opportunity to drive a GT car and to work with a very prestigious manufacturer. It will be a new experience for me. The GT4 European Series is a championship which is both challenging and very well rated. But with Equipe Verschuur and Daniel, my team mate, I am convinced that we can compete at the front right from the start. I would like to thank all the people who believe in me and are supporting me in this project, as well as Tiago Monteiro and his Skywalker Management structure for the excellent work they have done this winter.”
For the man from Portugal, who has been managing the young Belgian since July, this new stage in his protégé's career looks very promising. “It's a great opportunity for him to show how fast and how versatile he is,” says the former Formula 1 driver. “After his remarkable debut at a world level last year, he will have to make his mark this year in one of the most popular categories in motor sport today. Nowadays, professional drivers must be able to perform well in any type of car and be able to jump from one championship to another. Driving in GT4 will therefore be a very important step for him!”
The GT4 European Series consists of six events, beginning in mid-April at Monza and closing with a final on 1 September on the Nürburgring. In the meantime, Benjamin will have visited the tracks at Brands Hatch (4/5 May), Circuit Paul Ricard (1/2 June), Misano (29/30 June) and Zandvoort (13/14 July).
“This schedule will obviously be the backbone of my season,” smiles the young man. “But everyone who knows me will also know that I am always hungry for competition. With Tiago and my entourage, we are therefore on the lookout for any proposal. For us, it is very clear that this transition to GT4 does not mean we are closing the door on the TCR, for instance. Whatever the championship, if a good opportunity presents itself, we will analyse it carefully. But I must say that this new challenge in GT4 motivates me as much as anything could!”
Pictures : European GT4 Series and Honda Motorsport