> Manufacturer-backed 911 GT3 R to race at all four events
> Star-studded driver line-up heading to Suzuka
> 47th Summer Endurance event set for August 25/26
Yet another major manufacturer will compete at the inaugural Suzuka 10 Hours on August 25/26 after Porsche announced its 2018 Intercontinental GT Challenge factory programme during the annual ‘Night of Champions’ motorsport gala in Weissach last weekend.
The German marque will nominate one of its regional partner teams to run a single 911 GT3 R in each of the global campaign’s four events.
While Suzuka’s team has yet to be confirmed, Porsche has signalled its intent by naming a star-studded full-season factory driver line-up. Le Mans 24 Hours winner and 2016 FIA World Endurance champion Romain Dumas will be joined by fellow Frenchman and FIA WEC ace Frederic Makowiecki, as well as IMSA SportsCar Championship front-runner Dirk Werner.
Dumas is also a two-time winner of the Total 24 Hours of Spa, which precedes Suzuka in the 2018 Intercontinental GT Challenge schedule. Both of those victories, in 2003 and 2010, were scored at the wheel of Porsches.
The same trio will also compete together in next season’s Europe-based Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.
Porsche is the latest manufacturer to confirm its Intercontinental GT Challenge and Suzuka 10 Hours plans after Bentley and Mercedes-AMG committed to both the championship and Japanese race in recent weeks. Meanwhile Honda, Lamborghini, Nissan and Toyota all confirmed their presence at the 47th Summer Endurance event earlier this year.
Four iconic and historic venues stage Intercontinental GT Challenge rounds in 2018, starting at Mount Panorama in Australia where the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour once again opens the campaign. It’s then on to Blancpain GT Series’ showpiece, the Total 24 Hours of Spa, for Europe’s round before Suzuka stages Japan’s first ever Intercontinental GT Challenge race. The season concludes at Laguna Seca in America with the Mazda Raceway California 8 Hours.
Uniquely, Suzuka’s event will see traditional FIA GT3 cars go head-to-head against their JAF GT-spec counterparts on the same control Pirelli tyre as used around the world. Prize money totalling 100-million Yen has already been confirmed for a blue riband race that many more teams and manufacturers are expected to support in the coming months.
The race, which maintains the tradition of previous ‘Summer Endurance’ events at Suzuka, is being jointly co-ordinated by SRO Motorsports Group – best known for overseeing the Blancpain GT Series in Europe and Asia – SUPER GT organiser GTA, and Mobilityland who are all collaborating closely on the project.
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