Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli championship leaders Mercedes-AMG have named another strong line-up for the season-closing Kyalami 9 Hour on November 21-23.
Three of its seven entries are competing with extended factory support, while the maximum number of #IntGTC nominations – four – have been submitted.
Mercedes-AMG heads to South Africa leading the Manufacturers’ Championship by 22 points from Porsche who are now the only other marque able to win the crown. The Drivers’ title is less clear cut, though, with just six points separating Maxi Buhk from Maxi Goetz and Audi’s Frederic Vervisch.
Buhk has been the only driver to appear exclusively with GruppeM Racing this year, a stat that continues in Kyalami where he’s joined by Suzuka 10 Hours co-drivers Raffaele Marciello and Maro Engel.
Had they been separated, both Marciello and Engel would have enough points to challenge Buhk. Instead, it’s his namesake and former team-mate Goetz who has a chance of stealing the crown at the final round. Like Vervisch, victory for the German – who shares Team SPS’s factory-backed entry with Yelmer Buurman and Luca Stolz – would overturn the current six-point deficit regardless of Buhk’s result.
There’s also continuity in the form of Strakka Racing who once again enter two cars, one of which features an Intercontinental crew comprising Gary Paffett, Lewis Williamson and outgoing Drivers’ Champion Tristan Vautier. The other features Dominik Baumann, Adrian Henry D’Silva and Christina Nielsen who last competed together at Suzuka.
SunEnergy1 also return with a Bronze Championship entry for Kenny Habul, who’s joined by Thomas Jaeger and Bernd Schneider.
Elsewhere, Tim Müller, Miguel Ramos and Valentin Pierburg share SPS’s second entry, while Black Falcon – who also oversee SunEnergy1’s car – are represented in their own right by Hubert Haupt, Patrick Assenheimer and Sergej Afanasiev.
“After four high-class races, we are now expecting a season finale of the Intercontinental GT Challenge that is no less thrilling,” said Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing boss, Stefan Wendl.
“With the new race in Kyalami, the IntGTC has reached yet another level in terms of appeal and significance this year. All drivers and manufacturers are keen on scoring a historic maiden win in the nine-hour race and we are no exception, of course! Nevertheless, we will not just be looking for victory, but also have to drive a clever race in order to get the maximum out of our excellent initial position, which is the double of drivers’ and manufacturers’ title.”
The provisional Kyalami 9 Hour entry list will be revealed later today.