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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Whincup to Drive SunEnergy1 Mercedes at Laguna Seca

Australian star Jamie Whincup to make international GT debut at Laguna Seca…

Photo: Virgin Australia Supercars

Seven-time Virgin Australia Supercars champion Jamie Whincup will make his IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship debut at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca next month.

The 35-year-old Melbourne native, who is the most successful driver in Supercars history, will partner with Kenny Habul in the GT Daytona-class No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes AMG-GT3, which will make its series return for the Sept. 7-9 event.

Whincup previously teamed with Habul to drive a Scott Taylor Motorsport-entered SunEnergy1 Mercedes in this year’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour along with Tristan Vautier and Raffaele Marciello.

The quartet finished second overall in Whincup’s second-ever GT3 race, following on from his sports car debut in 2017 when he won at Bathurst with the Maranello Motorsport Ferrari squad.

A gap in the Supercars calendar between the championship’s visit to The Bend on Aug. 25-26 and the first endurance race of the season at Sandown on Sept. 16 opened the possibility of Whincup making his IMSA debut.

“I’ve never been to Laguna Seca,” he told Supercars.com. 

“I’ve watched Champ Car there for many years, back when I was a kid and just really want to experience the Corkscrew, to be honest.

“The opportunity came up and I jumped at it. It should be good fun.

“I’ve got no plans, there’s nothing more to it than it came up as the right thing at the right time and I grabbed it with two hands.”

Whincup will test for his Supercars team, Triple Eight Race Engineering, at Queensland three days before track activity starts at Laguna Seca.

He described the trip to California as a “quick in and out” to be ready for the classic 500km race at Sandown the following weekend.

“[The schedule] is a lot tighter than what I’d like,” he said.

“I think we’re testing on the Tuesday before the event, which means I can only fly out on the Wednesday.

“Then I’ve got the Sunday night flight back, to make sure I don’t have any jetlag before Sandown.”

The race will give Whincup his first taste of sharing a track with a quicker class, as all three WeatherTech Championship categories return for the Laguna Seca weekend.

It’s unclear which team will operate SunEnergy1’s Mercedes for the race, following its split from Riley Motorsports last month.

SunEnergy1 Confirmed for Suzuka 10H

Habul has also been a late addition to the Suzuka 10 Hours, with the U.S.-based Australian set to share a SunEnergy1-backed Mercedes with Luca Stolz and and Mikhail Greiner.

Stolz is currently tied for second in the overall IGTC drivers’ standings, following outings in Black Swan Racing’s Porsche 911 GT3 R and a Black Falcon Mercedes in the season-opening rounds at Bathurst and Spa, respectively.

Habul, meanwhile, is in the midst of the fight for the inaugural Bronze drivers’ title, and is likely to also contest the season-ending California 8 Hours at Laguna Seca in October.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.

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