21 March 2018

JLOC names Blancpain GT Series champion Caldarelli amongst its Suzuka 10 Hours line-up

JLOC names Blancpain GT Series champion Caldarelli amongst its Suzuka 10 Hours line-up

JLOC has announced the six drivers that will contest this year’s inaugural Suzuka 10 Hours, as well as a new partnership with EVA Racing which sees its two Lamborghini Huracan GT3s sporting distinctive anime liveries.

The Japanese squad, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, claimed second and third in the GT300 class at the same event last season when the race was run to a distance of 1000 kilometres and reserved for Super GT teams. 

Now, with only GT3/GT300 cars eligible and the race constituting Asia’s round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, JLOC has assembled an international driver line-up capable of fighting for victory once again.

Reigning Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup champion Andrea Caldarelli is joined by fellow Italian and Lamborghini Squadra Corse factory driver Marco Mapelli in JLOC’s #88 Huracan, which also features experienced Super GT racer Kazuki Hiramine. The 25-year-old Japanese finished second in Super Taikyu last season aboard a Nissan GT-R but also dovetailed that programme with JLOC in Super GT.

Meanwhile, the team’s #87 entry is an all-Japanese affair. The country’s 2015 Porsche Carrera Cup champion Yuya Motojima contested two Super GT rounds with JLOC last season and returns to partner Kimiya Sato, who enters his fourth year with the outfit. They’re joined by Super GT veteran Taiyou Iida.

JLOC’s entries should also be instantly recognisable at Suzuka thanks to a partnership with EVA Racing that sees both Huracans liveried as the iconic giant mechs, EVA Unit 01 & 02, from the animated TV series Neon Genesis Evangelion.

The team’s two Lamborghinis were confirmed as part of a 27-car provisional entry list issued on March 2. Further announcements are expected in the coming months ahead of the race itself on August 24-26.

The 47th Summer Endurance Race, which builds on the tradition of Suzuka’s previous 1000km event, has also become Asia’s sole leg of the Intercontinental GT Challenge this season. The race is being jointly administered by SRO Motorsports Group, Super GT organisers GT Association, and Suzuka’s management company Mobilityland Corporation.

Pirelli has been chosen as the event’s official tyre supplier while prize money totalling 100-million Yen has also been confirmed. 

Uniquely, the race offers FIA GT3 cars from all over the world an opportunity to compete equally against Japanese teams running similar machinery and the JAF GT-spec chassis only found in Super GT’s GT300 category.

The Total 24 Hours of Spa hosts round two of this year’s Intercontinental GT Challenge on July 26-29.