The 49th Summer Endurance Race’s entry process opened on February 1 just as the nine full-season manufacturers contesting the world’s only global GT3 series prepared for Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour qualifying.
Triple Eight, which finished third overall on home soil in Australia, are also travelling to Japan later this year when the team’s 2020-spec Mercedes-AMG will be run in partnership with Johor Racing, just as it is in GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS. Its full-season drivers, Prince Jefri Ibrahim and Supercars ace Shane van Gisbergen, are both expected to feature at Suzuka.
Four Japanese teams have also confirmed their plans.
The crowd-favourite Goodsmile Racing Mercedes-AMG shared by Super GT front-runners Nobuteru Taniguchi and Tatsuya Kataoka as well as international sportscar star Kamui Kobayashi returns for a third successive year along with GT300 rivals LM Corsa, whose Porsche raced at Suzuka last August.
Another 911 GT3 R, this time entered by GT World Challenge Asia squad ARN Racing, also features amongst the initial batch of regional confirmations. All are eligible to score Intercontinental points for their respective manufacturer, subject to nomination.
Tairoku Racing with B-Max Engineering have also confirmed their participation with Nissan. The driver line-up features team owner Tairoku Yamaguchi and three-time Super GT500 champion Satoshi Motoyama.
Meanwhile, the event’s ¥100m (€800,000) prize fund remains unchanged for 2020, with the overall winning entry awarded ¥30m. The top-three Overall, Pro/Am, Silver Cup, Am Cup, Asian, Super GT and Super Taikyu entries will also receive a share of the prize money.
Elsewhere, the event’s city centre parade – which attracted 11,000 passionate fans last year – returns for a second outing on August 20 when all Suzuka 10 Hours entries will be driven from the circuit into town via public roads.
Intercontinental’s nine full-season manufacturers – Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Honda, Lamborghini, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche – will all be there along with several other marques contesting Japan’s domestic Super GT and Super Taikyu championships. Indeed, an incredible 13 different manufacturers raced at Suzuka in 2019, while 27 of the 36-strong entry received #IntGTC nominations.
Suzuka represents the halfway stage of this year’s globe-trotting Intercontinental GT Challenge, which began at Bathurst earlier this month. The campaign continues at the Total 24 Hours of Spa (Europe) on July 23-26 before Suzuka takes centre stage one month later. It’s followed by the inaugural Indy 8 Hour (North America) in early October before the Kyalami 9 Hour (Africa) closes out the season in late November.
Source. SRO Motorsports Group