Fuji Speedway is all set to welcome a record-breaking Blancpain GT Series Asia grid of 34 cars this weekend as the inaugural campaign begins the second half of its 2017 season.
Following events at Sepang, Buriram and Suzuka, 28 GT3 and six GT4 supercars travel to the foot of Mount Fuji for another two 60-minute races.
ENTRY LIST: Fuji
At the front all eyes will be on GruppeM’s championship leader Hunter Abbott who enjoys an eight-point advantage over Audi Hong Kong duo Marchy Lee and Shaun Thong.
OD Racing’s Mitch Gilbert and Aditya Patel are also in title contention despite the spectacular tyre blow-out that cost them a likely victory during the previous round at Suzuka.
GT4 is even closer with just six points separating the first three crews. EKS Motorsports’ Eric Lo and Byron Tong top the table for now but have Taiwan Top Speed’s Keo Chang plus Craft-Bamboo Racing duo Frank Yu and Jean-Marc Merlin right behind them.
The GT4 class has been exclusively contested by Porsches so far this season, but that all changes at Fuji where Clearwater Racing debut its brand-new McLaren 570S GT4.
It will be the first time that the car has raced in Japan while the Singapore outfit and its driver Richard Wee make their championship return after contesting 2017’s opening round at Sepang.
The lineup is completed by Mok Weng Sun who, although new to Blancpain GT Series Asia, is a three-time GT Asia champion and former Asian Le Mans Series title winner who currently competes with Clearwater in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Fuji also welcomes back Blancpain GT Series Asia’s Sepang race winners Anthony Liu and Davide Rizzo, whose BBT squad has switched from Ferrari to Audi since missing Suzuka, while two FIST – Team AAI BMWs also return for the first time since their scheduled one-off appearance in Malaysia.
Both of the squad’s driver crews look strong, with Super GT co-drivers Sean Walkinshaw and Takagi – who together won last weekend’s GT300 race at Fuji aboard an M6 GT3 – split between Jesse Krohn and Jun San Chen, respectively.
Elsewhere, Buriram race winners Rino Mastronardi and Rui Aguas have been reunited in Spirit of Race’s No. 38 Ferrari, Martin Kodric returns to drive VSR’s Lamborghini alongside Sandy Stuvik, and CMRT’s Aston Martin resumes its Am Cup title chase in the hands of regular co-drivers James Cai and Kenneth Lim.
In GT4, the championship-chasing Keo Chang is rejoined by Jeremy Wang who missed Suzuka, and Eric Zang makes his series debut alongside Ringo Chong in HubAuto Racing’s Porsche.
Free Practice kicks off the weekend on Friday ahead of Race 1 at 3:35 p.m. local time on Saturday and Race 2 at 2:25 p.m. on Sunday.