Published on November 22nd, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Motul Sepang 12 Hours Confirmed Entry List for 2017
Its confirmed, the Motul Sepang 12 Hours was officially presented in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. The entry list for the final round of the inaugural season of the Intercontinental GT Challenge looks promising and high-level teams and drivers will certainly produce some top-notch racing.
The 2016 edition of the Motul Sepang 12 Hours was presented today, during a press conference in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. At the press conference, Stephane Ratel, founder and CEO of the SRO Motorsports Group, and Tan Sri Azman Yahya, Chairman of the Sepang International Circuit, once again stressed the importance of their co-operation for the organisation of the Motul Sepang 12 Hours.
When this partnership was announced in the beginning of 2015 the aim was to develop the Asian endurance classic into one of the must-attend events on the international motorsports calendar. Last year’s event was already promising and this year’s race, the deciding round of the first season of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, could prove to be even more exciting.
Strong entry list
Just like last year, major teams from America, Australia, Europe and Asia will be taking the start of the Motul Sepang 12 Hours. With no fewer than 13 cars, the GT3 category is by far the largest, with works-supported teams aplenty. Porsche will bring an all-factory driver line-up to the Motul Sepang 12 Hours, with two Manthey Racing-run Porsche 911 GT3R representing the German manufacturer, who will make its debut in the Motul Sepang 12Hours. 2015 Le Mans winners Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy will be joined by Patrick Pilet on the #911 car, while Richard Lietz, Michael Christensen and Fred Makowiecki will be at the wheel of the #912.
American team K-PAX will enter its Pirelli World Challenge-winning McLaren 650S GT3 in the upcoming Motul Sepang 12 Hours. The exact driver line-up is yet to be announced, but the car will be shared by three McLaren GT factory drivers. For its first-ever endurance race, K-PAX will also have the support of the Flying Lizard squad, well-known for its several participations in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Last year, Audi Sport Team Phoenix’ Audi R8 LMS finished in third in the Motul Sepang 12 Hours; this time German squad is aiming to shine even more on the circuit near the Malaysian capital. To do, Audi Sport Team Phoenix brings two Audi R8 LMS to Sepang, with a star-studded line-up. The #15 car will be driven by Christopher Haas, Robin Frijns and Laurens Vanthoor, while the #16 has Pierre Kaffer, René Rast and Markus Winkelhock at the wheel.
Both the McLaren and Audi teams will also try to conquer at the first manufacturers’ title in the Intercontinental GT Challenge. Audi is in third in the standings and McLaren in fourth. In the drivers’ standings, Belgian Audi driver Laurens Vanthoor is currently topping the classification.
Representatives of Ferrari (Singha Motorsports Team, Nexus Infinity, HubAuto Racing, Spirit of Race and T2 Motorsport), Mercedes (Saitama Toyopet Green Brave) and Lamborghini (J-Loc) add more spice to the GT3 battle, and with teams in the other GT and Touring Car classes entering a Toyota, Lexus, Ginetta, Honda, Subaru, Seat or Ford, the total number of manufacturers represented is thirteen.
The agreement between Super GT promotors GTA and the SRO Motorsports Group has increased the number of teams from Japan, with J-Loc, APR (Toyota Prius), HubAuto Racing and Saitama Toyopet Green Brave all bringing GT3 machines to Sepang. The former two enter a full Pro line-up, with South African Adrian Zaugg joining the J-Loc squad for the event.
The 2016 edition of the Motul Sepang 12 Hours also sees the introduction of the GT4 category. With Simpson Motorsport and Ayelzo Ecotint Racing representing Ginetta and Muta Racing bringing a Lexus RC350 to Sepang, this race-within-the-race could become quite interesting.
The same goes for GTC category. B-Quik Racing finished on the class podium last year, and again has GT legend Peter Kox at the wheel of the ‘Bumblebee’ Audi, but it will face strong competition. GDL Racing, fourth in class last year, has switched from Porsche to Lamborghini and brings a new Huracan Super Trofeo, while Belgian squad SpeedLover – earlier this year at the start of the Total 24 Hours of Spa – brings a couple of Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
The Motul Sepang 12 Hours is also open to Touring Cars. There are several teams and drivers from Down Under in Sepang, and Australian Jim Hunter Motorsports is one of them. With their Subaru Impreza, they will certainly want to erase the memory of last year’s early retirement. However, the Honda Civic Type R of Team ST Powered and the Toyota GT86 of Amuse & SPV Racing will also want to grab the class victory. And do not forget the newcomers of Australian team MARC Cars. Their Focus V8 could produce some eye-opening performances.
An event such as the Motul Sepang 12 Hours deserves a suitable TV coverage, and several networks have shown big interest in the race. In South East Asia, Fox Sports Asia will show large parts of the race live through Fox Sports 3, Fox Play and the full race live on their website. Afterwards a one-hour highlight programme will be broadcasted.
Pan-European network Motors TV will cover the race completely live in all their territories, and will also show the highlights of the race afterwards, as will BT Sport in the UK and Ireland.
Due to the strong presence of drivers and teams from Down Under, Fox Sports Australia and Sky New Zealand will cover the once-round-the-clock race live from start to finish, just like the American motortrendondemand.com website.
Other networks will show extensive highlights of the race, such as Fox Latin America, CBS Sports in the USA, BeIn Sports in the Middle East and Fox Sports Africa.
For those unable to watch the Asian endurance classic on television, there will be a live feed on the official website, www.sepang12hours.com, on the Blancpain GT Series website, and on the GTWorld YouTube and Dailymotion channels. Obviously, the race will be covered through the usual social media channels as well.
Stephane Ratel (Founder and CEO SRO Motorsports Group): “We are happy to see the popularity of GT3 racing in the Asia-Pacific region. We would like to welcome back the teams that showed faith in us last year and are looking forward to see them competing again in the final round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. The new cars in the GT4 and MARC categories are an interesting addition to the entry list. I am convinced that the Motul Sepang 12 Hours will again be a gruelling race, with some extreme weather conditions, and it will be a fitting finale of the inaugural season of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank our new partners Motul and Yokohama for the trust they put in us.”
Tan Sri Azman Yahya (Chairman, Sepang International Circuit): “Interest and enthusiasm for GT Racing is growing all over the world, and this will increase international interest in the Sepang leg, improving the attractiveness of the event to fans, sponsors and the media. SIC is aiming to grow motorsports in Malaysia, and through events with significant downline potential such as this, there is immense opportunity for local supporting teams and talents to improve their experience and abilities by working with the international engineers and drivers. We are glad to have Yokohama as the official tyre supplier, whose tyres will provide an excellent opportunity for drivers to further experience the resurfacing and upgrading works on the circuit, that have created an impact in our major international races to date.”