Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific aims to build on its success with the new-generation Porsche 911 GT3 R in 2019 at the iconic Suzuka 10 Hours with four factory-supported regional customer teams fielding three Porsche works drivers and three Porsche Young Professionals.
After the previous-generation Porsche 911 GT3 R was seen out with a stunning victory at the Bathurst 12 Hour in January, the new-for-2019 version has lived up to its predecessor’s reputation. In addition to scoring Porsche’s first Total 24 Hours of Spa win in nine years, the car has multiple accolades from Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia and America as well as the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.
Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific will be on-site at Suzuka with technical backing in the form of support and performance engineers and a large parts supply, helping teams to extract the maximum from their cars as Porsche pursues the Intercontinental GT Challenge manufacturers’ title.
Adorning a new livery for this event, 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia teams’ champion Absolute Racing brings the Bathurst 12 Hour-winning trio on board the #912 car.
Australian Matt Campbell arrives fresh off the back of victory at the Road America circuit in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship’s GTD class with the Porsche 911 GT3 R. The 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia champion is reunited with fellow Porsche Young Professional Dennis Olsen and Porsche works driver Dirk Werner, who currently lie third in the IGTC drivers’ championship.
Earl Bamber Motorsport, the triumphant team at Bathurst, also enters for its second outing in the series. Now armed with the new-generation car, the #911 machine will have 2016 LMP1 World Endurance champion Romain Dumas behind the wheel.
Alongside the multiple Nürburgring 24 Hours class winner is 2016 Porsche Supercup champion Sven Müller and reigning ADAC GT Masters champion Mathieu Jaminet. They sit fifth in the standings after their podium finish at Laguna Seca.
Having enjoyed success in Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia with an Am win in its first Porsche outing, LM Corsa joins the Intercontinental GT Challenge field for its home event. The team will arrive with expert knowledge of the Suzuka circuit from its many years in Super GT, having taken the GT300 victory at the Grand Prix venue in 2018.
The #60 Am entry fields its GT World Challenge Asia drivers Kei Nakanishi and Shigekazu Wakisaka as well as the latter’s brother, double Super GT champion Juichi who won the 1,000km of Suzuka in 2002 alongside Shigekazu.
Returning to Porsche with the Porsche 911 GT3 R (Type 997) is AMAC Motorsport, victors of the Mount Panorama Production Sports Car One Hour race with Porsche in 2017 and 2018. The winning line-up from that event, Brad Shiels and Andrew MacPherson, make up two of the #51 Pro-Am entry’s squad.
Triple Australian Formula Vee champion Ben Porter, who alongside MacPherson has taken the Am honours in Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia this year, completes the line-up.
Track action will begin with a two-hour practice on Friday 23 August at 14:10 followed by night practice at 18:30. Qualifying kicks off on Saturday at 13:00 (local time, GMT+9) with the top 20 making it to the Pole Shootout at 17:30. Lights out for the race will be on Sunday at 10:00.
Fabien Fior, Absolute Racing Team Director: “Suzuka is a special place to compete in Asia and it has been kind to us in the past. We celebrated an overall podium at this race last year and we won here in Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia in June. It’s an old school track that punishes mistakes and is challenging for both drivers and team crews. We know the huge responsibility that Porsche is entrusting to us, but the whole team is confident heading into the race weekend.”
Dennis Olsen, Absolute Racing: “I’m really looking forward to coming back to Asia and racing at Suzuka for the very first time. It looks like a great track, and there’s going to be some interesting racing. I’ve known Absolute Racing for quite a few years, since I did a single-seater race at Sepang. Their Suzuka experience is going to be a great asset. Hopefully we will have a great result here.”
Matt Campbell, Absolute Racing: “This will be my second ever race at Suzuka. I can’t wait to get back to the Intercontinental GT Challenge and meet the Absolute Racing team. Dennis, Dirk and I have been driving together all year and we are quite high in the points. We’re hoping for another strong finish at Suzuka.”
Dirk Werner, Absolute Racing: “Suzuka is an amazing track, the atmosphere is very cool and I’m very excited about driving it again. Together with Absolute Racing we should have a strong package to fight for a podium position and collect some valuable points for the Intercontinental GT Challenge classification.”
Romain Dumas, Earl Bamber Motorsport: “I’m very happy to be back with Earl Bamber Motorsport and Porsche. I’m sure we will have a good car in the form of the Porsche 911 GT3 R that will help us score a good result.”
Mathieu Jaminet, Earl Bamber Motorsport: “I’m excited to be back together with Earl Bamber Motorsport for this round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. Suzuka is going to be a tough race, with high temperatures expected, and the circuit is always a physical challenge for everyone. We have a great team behind us so the target is clear – fighting hard to finish at the front.”
Sven Müller, Earl Bamber Motorsport: “Suzuka has been one of my favourite tracks since I drove there in Super GT for a few seasons. I’m very proud to be joining one of the best teams in the field with Earl Bamber Motorsport. We had a great start to the year at Bathurst with strong pace, so we hope to be able to carry that over to this weekend. I drove alongside Earl at this event last year, so it’s special to now be driving for his team.”
Shigekazu Wakisaka, LM Corsa: “It’s exciting being the only Japanese team running the Porsche 911 GT3 R, especially on one of my favourite circuits and I get to race alongside my brother Juichi. I look forward to taking advantage of being part of a Porsche customer team this weekend.”
Alexandre Gibot, Head of Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific: “We’re very happy to be back at the Suzuka 10 Hours for a second year to provide on-site support for our customers, which ranges from the performance side on the track, through the technical and strategic areas in the garage, to marketing and promotion elsewhere. We have three of the new Porsche 911 GT3 R and it’s great to see a previous generation car still active and going well. The number of regional Porsche customer teams taking part is a testament to the ever-growing status of Asian motorsport and that Porsche is committed to supporting its development.”
Source. Porsche/Photo. SRO Motorsports Group