SRO and GTA renew Motul Sepang 12 Hours partnership
> Race organisers maintain strong links with Super GT promoter
> Both parties working to encourage Japanese entries
> Intercontinental GT Challenge finale scheduled for December 7-10
Motul Sepang 12 Hours organisers SRO Motorsports Group have renewed their partnership with Super GT promoter, GT Association, in a bid to encourage more Japanese teams and drivers to compete in Asia’s only Intercontinental GT Challenge round on December 7-10.
Malaysia’s Formula 1 venue plays host to the 2017 campaign’s fourth and final endurance race later this year following stops in Australia, Europe and North America. The event’s proximity to Japan - where the same FIA GT3-eligible cars regularly compete in GTA’s Super GT GT300 class, as well as Super Taikyu - makes Sepang an ideal opportunity for existing teams and drivers to race on the international stage.
SRO and GTA first worked together in 2016 when their collaboration resulted in more Japanese teams (six) and drivers (20) than any other nation contesting that year’s Motul Sepang 12 Hours.
The inaugural Blancpain GT Series Asia campaign has also helped SRO gain more valuable experience of working with Japanese teams and drivers. Several services offered by the SRO-organised championship will be available at Sepang, including separate Japanese-language team and driver briefings, and internal/external written communications.
A high-class entry, in which GT4 and Marc Cars classes will also feature, is currently being assembled ahead of this year’s event. Porsche recently confirmed that it was aiming to avenge last December’s defeat by Audi, while other Intercontinental GT Challenge manufactures competing at last month’s Total 24 Hours of Spa included Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren and Nissan.
Masaaki Bandoh, GT Association Co. Ltd. President: “GTA is pleased to be working alongside SRO to help deliver another successful Motul Sepang 12 Hours later this year. We will act as liaison between the Japanese teams and event organisers, just as we did in 2016, to help ensure this season’s entry is represented by every corner of Asian motorsport.”
Benjamin Franassovici, Motul Sepang 12 Hours General Manager: “Our partnership with GTA was one of the unheralded success stories of 2016’s Motul Sepang 12 Hours and is certainly something I was eager to renew ahead of this year’s event. The incredible number of Japanese teams and drivers GTA helped assemble last season proves that an appetite exists within the country to race internationally, and Asia’s only Intercontinental GT Challenge round provides exactly that right on their doorstep. We have already seen Japanese entries achieve success in Blancpain GT Series Asia’s shorter sprint races, and I’m confident several more will now take up the challenge of competing over 12 hours against world-class opposition at Sepang.”
Round three of this season’s Intercontinental GT Challenge - the Mazda Raceway California 8 Hours - takes place on October 14/15 ahead of Sepang’s championship showdown on December 7-10.
2017’s season opener - the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour - was won by Ferrari, while Audi claimed the Total 24 Hours of Spa spoils at the end of July.