Porsche Customer Teams Ready For Suzuka

by Jean-Paul Hackett
Manthey-Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 R (911), Romain Dumas (F), Frederic Makowiecki (F), Dirk Werner (D), Spa-Francorchamps 2018

Five Porsche 911 GT3 R racers will tackle the Suzuka 10 Hours on 26 August. For the first time, the 47th running of the Summer Endurance Race on Japan’s Grand Prix circuit counts towards the Intercontinental GT Challenge.

Manthey-Racing, Craft-Bamboo Racing and Black Swan Racing will each field one 911 GT3 R, with D’station Racing campaigning two vehicles. All four Porsche customer teams receive support from works drivers and engineers from Weissach at the endurance highlight in Asia.

Seven works drivers and one Porsche Young Professional share driving duties in the 500-hp vehicles.

Currently, there are 35 entries for the race on the 3.6 Mile Suzuka Circuit. The field is made up predominantly of vehicles that comply with FIA GT3 regulations and cars from the GT300 class of the Japanese Super GT Series.

New on the 2018 calendar, the Suzuka 10 Hours marks round three of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. The first edition of the race was held here in 1966.

This year’s race will be contested over ten hours instead of the previous 1,000 kilometres as support to the Super GT. Last season, around 45,000 spectators witnessed the Summer Endurance Race on the high-speed circuit in the Mie Prefecture.

Just like at the 24 Hours of Spa, the regular Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup factory drivers Romain Dumas, Frédéric Makowiecki and Dirk Werner will tackle the race for Manthey-Racing.

French driver Frédéric Makowiecki said, “Having spent two years contesting the Super GT Series it’s rather special for me to return to Japan, especially after clinching a victory at the 2013 Summer Endurance Race.

I have great memories of Japan and Suzuka. The fans are fantastic, and the circuit is breathtaking. The fast corners are mercilessly unforgiving. It’s a real old-school racetrack that is among the world’s best.”

Also contesting the Pro class for professional drivers are Laurens Vanthoor, Kévin Estre and Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet.

The trio shares the cockpit of the 911 GT3 R fielded by Craft-Bamboo Racing, which also took on the season-opening race at Bathurst, Australia.

In the Pro car fielded by D’station Racing, Kiwi Earl Bamber joins forces with local hero Tomonobu Fujii as well as his works driver colleague Sven Müller, who is contesting his second complete Super GT season for the Japanese customer team this year.

Earl Bamber had this to say about the race, “I’ve driven Suzuka often with a games console, but never in reality. I’m looking forward to competing for the D’station team; the squad is very popular in Asia.

Having Sven Müller now as a teammate after our time as rivals in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup will be another cool experience.”

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