Triple Eight Race Engineering has confirmed a Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia entry with Shane van Gisbergen and Jazeman Jaafar amongst the driver lineup.
The Australian operation will run a Mercedes-AMG GT3 for the full season of SRO Motorsports Group-run series.
Prince Jefri Ibrahim, a member of the royal family ruling the Malaysian state of Johor, will serve as the Am driver at all six rounds.
He will be joined by van Gisbergen and Jafaar at different races, with each Pro driver competing three rounds each.
Van Gisbergen will share the cockpit at Buriram, Suzuka and Yeongam, while Jafaar will compete at Fuji, Shanghai and his home race at Sepang.
Brisbane-based Triple Eight has competed in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship since 2003, scoring eight drivers’ titles, nine teams’ championships and seven wins at the Bathurst 1000.
“GT racing is something I’ve been looking at for a few years now and our two campaigns in the Bathurst 12 Hour have cemented in my mind that it’s something I want Triple Eight to be involved in on a longer-term basis,” commented Triple Eight managing director Roland Dane.
Of note, van Gisbergen and Jafaar were close rivals in European Blancpain GT competition in 2016, with the Australian, driving for Garage 59, beating Jafaar’s HTP Motorsport Mercedes to the Endurance Cup title by one point.
“It’s really exciting that Roland and Triple Eight are expanding into Asia and GT racing,” said van Gisbergen.
“To be driving alongside Prince Jefri will be really cool, he’s come to Australia for a few of our races and I’ve been over to England with him for driver training, so he’s a good mate.
“Of course, my focus is still going to be fully on our Supercars campaign and making sure I’m giving myself and the team the best opportunity to win races, but it was in 2016 when I won my Supercars title, the Blancpain GT Endurance championship and the Bathurst 12 Hour, so racing as much as possible seems to be the best form of training for me.
“I feel like I’m at my best when I’m always in the car, so it’s a great opportunity for me to expand my racing in 2019 and have a lot of fun doing it.
“I think we’ve got a great platform in the Mercedes GT3 car, it seems to be an all-rounder that suits most types of tracks.”