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SunEnergy1 Planning IGTC Return, Blancpain GT Expansion

Kenny Habul planning full-season Blancpain GT Series program; IGTC return for 2019…

Photo: Gruppe C/Mercedes-AMG

SunEnergy1 Racing is set to return to Intercontinental GT Challenge competition, while also adding the balance of the Blancpain GT Series in Europe to its program, according to team principal Kenny Habul.

Habul, who won the inaugural IGTC Bronze Cup drivers’ title in last weekend’s season-ending California 8 Hours, has reaffirmed plans to again field one of his Mercedes-AMG GT3s in the SRO’s global series, which expands to five rounds next year with the addition of a new nine-hour race in Kyalami. 

The U.S.-based Australian additionally plans to contest the the entire Blancpain GT Series, including the newly named Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe sprint series, as part of an expanded program for 2019.

“I’m definitely going to be doing a lot more racing in Europe,” Habul said. “I’d like to support SRO in the World Challenge and all of the different SRO series in Europe and this same one.

“Adding Kyalami in South Africa, I grew up watching as a kid. So that’s going to be exciting.

“I really love the Pirelli tire. It makes these things come alive. So it should be fun.”

After utilizing five different teams for race operations this year, with Riley Motorsports in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Scott Taylor Motorsport in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, HTP Motorsport in the Total 24 Hours of Spa, Black Falcon in the Suzuka 10 Hours and AKKA ASP at Laguna Seca, Habul admitted he’ll likely focus efforts around a single team.

A decision, however, has not yet been made according to the 45-year-old solar energy mogul.

“I’ve probably got to pick a team,” Habul said. “This AKKA ASP team has been great and of course to race with Black Falcon, they were amazing.

“We own the cars so it’s just a matter of picking a team and depending on my work schedule, which of course is busy, I’d like to try and find out how many races I could do.

“I’d like to do a lot more than this year and work less if I could!”

AKKA ASP team principal Jerome Policand, meanwhile, told Sportscar365 that hopes to carry on with Habul into next year. 

Habul said no racing in the U.S., except for the California 8 Hours in March, is currently planned, although he wound’t rule out one-off WeatherTech SportsCar Championship appearances later in the year.

He confirmed SunEnergy1 will not be at the Rolex 24 at Daytona or Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, with his focus instead around the IGTC season-opener in Bathurst during that time period.

The team had planned to contest the entire GT Daytona class season this year prior to promptly withdrawing following the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in July.

“I’m really enjoying the Pirelli tire and the way SRO runs races,” Habul said. “But hopefully I’ll come back to some IMSA stuff somewhere.

“I enjoyed Detroit. And we’ll just see how their rules evolve and whether that becomes a little more fair for a Bronze driver. If it does, then we’ll hopefully do some more races too.”

Jake Kilshaw contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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