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FIA GT NATIONS CUP – ENTRY LIST CONTINUES TO TAKE SHAPE

Australia, France, Russia, Germany and Thailand among stellar line-up for inaugural event

The first edition of the FIA GT Nations Cup, to be held at the Bahrain International Circuit from 30th November to 1st December 2018, has created much interest around the world with entries now flooding in ahead of the event. 

With the final entry list due to be announced at the beginning of November, we will be taking a look at some of the nations that already have signalled their intentions to join this inaugural event.

This week we will be previewing entries from five countries across three continents – all with differing degrees of motorsport history – as Australia, France, Russia, Germany and Thailand confirm their entries.

NATION: Australia

TEAM: Herbeth Motorsport

CAR: Porsche 911 GT3 R

DRIVERS: Stephen Grove/Brenton Grove

Grove Racing became the first team to announce its participation with the father-and-son collaboration of Stephen and Brenton Grove set to represent Australia.

The team has a number of class wins at the famous Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour race under its belts – including at this year’s event – with Porsche often being the squad’s weapon of choice. The team also competes in Porsche Carrera Cup Australia as well as other national series’.

“To represent Australia at an international event with my father is pretty special,” said Brenton Grove.

“We have strong ties to Porsche in Australia and Germany so to be able to do the event in a Porsche GT3 R, representing Australia is a really special thing.”

Herbeth Motorsport will prepare and run the Porsche 911 GT3 R for this event.

NATION: France

TEAM: AKKA-ASP Team

CAR: Mercedes-AMG GT3

DRIVERS: Jean-Luc Beaubelique/Jim Pla

France is another nation to have already signalled it intentions to race at the inaugural FIA GT Nations Cup and will do so in a AKKA-ASP-run Mercedes-AMG GT3.

The reigning Blancpain GT Series Teams’ Champions has also confirmed its drivers for the event, with Jim Pla and Jean-Luc Beaubelique carrying out duties behind the wheel.

Beaubelique has played a part in the team’s Blancpain GT Series campaign and both drivers have contested the Championnat de France FFSA GT for the team in a Mercedes-AMG GT4 this season.

The double-act will remain with Mercedes machinery for the FIA GT Nations Cup, albeit stepping up to the GT3 edition, and whilst the remainder of the entry list is not yet confirmed this pairing could be already earmarked as a possible front-running contender.

NATION: Germany

TEAM: Rinaldi Racing

CAR: Ferrari 488 GT3

DRIVERS: Alexander Mattschull/Nico Bastian

Rinaldi Racing has confirmed that it will run cars for both Germany and Russia in this year’s FIA GT Nations Cup, with one of its regular Blancpain GT Series pairings being split across the two countries.

Nico Mattschull competes in Rinaldi’s Blancpain GT Series line-up, whilst Nico Bastian ran with AKKA-ASP in the same series this year, but both will now link up to try to bring home Nations Cup success to Germany.

NATION: Russia

TEAM: Rinaldi Racing

CAR: Ferrari 488 GT3

DRIVERS: Rinat Salikhov/Denis Bulatov

Rinat Salikhov has teamed up with Germany’s Alexander Mattschull in Rinaldi’s Blancpain GT Series campaign this year, whilst interestingly Denis Bulatov has been racing with Germany’s other driver Nico Bastian with the AKKA-ASP Team.

Now with the pairings being swapped around in the name of national pride, it will be interesting to see how both countries perform.

With the experienced Rinaldi Racing at the helm of both cars, however, it is likely that these entries will be competitive.

NATION: Thailand

TEAM: Kessel Racing TP12

CAR: Ferrari 488 GT3

DRIVERS: Piti Bhirombhakdi/Pasin Lathouras

Kessel Racing will be bringing a Ferrari 488 GT3 to the party for a Thailand team assault on the first ever FIA GT Nations Cup.

Bangkok-born Pasin Lathouras accumulated experience in Asia via the Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific, amongst others, before he moved on to the likes of British GT, International GT Open and Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.

‘Todd’ Piti Bhirombhakdi is the driving force behind the team with the TP12 following his ‘Todd’ Piti name and favourite number. The Managing Director of Singa Beer has been a lifelong follower of motorsport and he now has several years of GT experience under his belt.

A further five nations will be confirmed next week as preparations ahead of the 2018 FIA GT Nations Cup continue.

The event itself will meet FIA GT3 regulations with each nation being represented by a line-up of two drivers, classified at either Silver or Bronze level, but with a maximum of only one Silver ranked driver being granted per entry. The competition will feature two practice sessions, two qualifying sessions, two qualifying races of sixty minutes each, and a third and final race of sixty minutes to determine the overall winners.

The FIA GT Nations Cup will headline the Bahrain GT Festival, sharing a busy weekend of racing with supporting series including the SRO GT4 International Cup, Patrick Peter’s Bahrain Classic Challenge and the Porsche GT3 Challenge Middle East.

Source. SRO Motorsports Group/Photo. Porsche

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