With less than two months to go before the Motul Sepang 12 Hours, which will be the final round of the 2016 Intercontinental GT Challenge, the first confirmed entries have set the tone for what promises to be a thrilling edition of the Malaysian endurance classic. The premier Asian endurance event for GT and Touring Cars attracts attention from all over the planet and some teams have already announced their entries for the December 11th event. Here are the first names.
Porsche works drivers for Manthey Racing
Porsche will bring an all-factory driver line-up to the Motul Sepang 12 Hours. Two Manthey Racing-run Porsche 911 GT3R cars will represent the German manufacturer, which will be making its debut in the Intercontinental GT Challenge. 2015 Le Mans winners Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy will be joined by Patrick Pilet on the #911 car, while Richard Lietz, Michael Christensen and Fred Makowiecki will be at the wheel of the #912. A clear sign that the Stuttgart-based brand is not travelling to Malaysia to simply make up the numbers!
Pasin Lathouras and AF Corse/Spirit of Race aiming for glory
Thai driver Pasin Lathouras, the winner of the Pro-Am category in the 2015 Total 24 Hours of Spa, wants to add another prestigious title to his already impressive list of successes. Judging by the talent of his co-drivers – Italians Michele Rugolo and Alessandro Pier Guidi – the Spirit of Race Ferrari will certainly be among the frontrunners. Especially since Pier Guidi has some experience in the Sepang endurance race, as he was leading the early stages of the 2015 edition.
T2 Motorsport bring another new Ferrari 488 GT3
A second Ferrari 488 GT3 will be in the hands of Indonesian team T2 Motorsport. The squad acquired the latest of the Prancing Horses in August and with the help of AF Corse, the car will make its debut in the Sepang 12 Hours. At the wheel will be Am drivers Greg Teo from Singapore and Indonesian David Tjiptobiantoro – both regular podium finishers in the Ferrari Asia Pacific Challenge – who will be joined by Italian Christian Colombo.
Naza Nexus wants another top-10 finish
The predecessor of the 488, the Ferrari 458 GT3, is still a mightily competitive car. Last year Naza Nexus managed to run in a top-10 position all through the race and the squad of driver/manager Adrian Henry D’Silva wants to do at least as well in its home race. The complete driver line-up will be announced shortly.
Amuse & SPV Racing want to shine in the TC and GT4/S classes
In the Sepang 12 Hours there are not only GT3 cars at the start. Japanese squad amuse & SPV Racing will even be entering cars in two different classes: a Toyota GT86 in the TC class and a Lexus RC350 in the GT4/S category. The driver line-up is yet to be confirmed, but will probably include drivers with a wealth of experience.
B-Quik Audi is back!
Last year the Audi R8 LMS Cup of B-Quik Racing was one of the crowd’s favourites. Not only for its unique ‘bumblebee’ livery, but also because its line-up included one of the all-time great GT drivers, Peter Kox. The Dutchman is back this year, and will again be joined by his countryman Henk Kiks and Australian Dan Bilski.
Jim Hunter Subaru aiming for class win
There are plenty of other Australians participating in Sepang, and four of them are at the wheel of the Jim Hunter Motorsport Subaru. The Impreza is entered in the Touring class and Jim Hunter, Grant Johnson, Andrew McPherson and Allan Letcher are aiming for at least a podium finish in their category.
Jim Hunter, team manager : “The Jim Hunter Motorsport team are keen to get to the top step of the podium this year after mechanical problems dropped us to third last year. We have been the fastest car in the class every year but that does not guarantee a podium finish. Motor racing is the hardest sport to succeed in with the cheapest component in the car able to bring you to a halt. The drivers are really looking forward to the new SIC track with the different corner profiling and surface.”