It represents a significant development for the event, which last season featured the likes of Audi, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren and Mercedes-AMG, as well as Porsche, in its GT3 ranks.
In 2016 the factory-assisted Manthey Racing squad’s two 991 GT3 Rs finished second and fifth at the Malaysian F1 venue, which is once again preparing to host the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC) season finale. The race will follow blue riband long-distance GT events held in Australia (the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour), the Total 24 Hours of Spa and the Mazda Raceway California 8 Hours.
The IGTC is the only global series to exclusively feature GT cars. But instead of freighting chassis, spares and personnel around the world, GT3 manufacturers are encouraged to reduce budgets and promote local teams by supporting official factory partners already operating in each region that IGTC visits. Points are then awarded on a manufacturer vs manufacturer basis rather than individual teams.
This model is possible due to the large number of homologated GT3 cars competing worldwide as well as SRO Motorsports Group’s existing presence in each continent’s major GT series.
Porsche currently lies second in 2017’s IGTC standings after its Australian partner, Competition Motorsports, finished runner-up in the opening round at Bathurst in February. Later this month its hopes will rest with KÜS Team75 Bernhard and Herberth Motorsport, which have been selected to represent the brand at the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
Porsche’s Mazda Raceway California 8 Hours and Sepang 12 Hours teams will be announced in due course.
As well as GT3 manufactures’ and drivers’ titles, the IGTC also awards a GT4 manufacturers’ championship.
Sepang 12 Hours General Manager Benjamin Franassovici: “Securing a brand as prestigious as Porsche for this year’s event emphasises how highly manufacturers regard the Motul Sepang 12 Hours and Intercontinental GT Challenge. It’s the the only long-distance GT event held in Asia, an incredibly important continent for manufacturers, so I’ve no doubt that more will follow Porsche’s lead by committing to enter this season’s IGTC season finale. Teams from across the region operate at an incredibly high level, as SRO has witnessed first hand in this year’s inaugural Blancpain GT Series Asia campaign and in 2016’s FIA GT World Cup at Macau. It has the makings of an incredible end-of-season event.”
Round two of this season’s Intercontinental GT Challenge, the Total 24 Hours of Spa, takes place at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on 27 – 30 July.