SRO Motorsports Group has published a 14-car entry list for next weekend’s rescheduled Joburg Kyalami 9 Hour, which marks the final round of an Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season that has been heavily disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grid includes eight international entries headlined by factory-supported crews from Audi, Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG, as well as six entries from local competitors.
Drivers’ championship leaders Come Ledogar, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Nicklas Nielsen will share the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020, as they did at the previous two IGTC rounds held at Spa-Francorchamps and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Runaway manufacturers’ points leader Audi has made some changes to the Kyalami crews that it originally announced when the race was due to be held in December 2021.
Rather than providing extended factory support to a pair of WRT entries and one from Sainteloc Racing, the Audi Sport Team backing will only apply to one entry from each team.
That move has resulted in alterations to the Audi driver lineups, with Markus Winkelhock and Kelvin van der Linde moving from the canceled WRT entry over to the No. 25 Sainteloc Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo.
They will team up with Patric Niederhauser, who is the only unchanged member of the originally announced Audi Sport Team Sainteloc crew.
The arrivals of Winkelhock and van der Linde at Sainteloc have led to Christopher Haase being reassigned to the No. 32 Audi Sport Team WRT entry next to Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts, who were originally slated to team up with Frederic Vervisch.
Being paired with title contender Haase removes Vanthoor and Weerts from drivers’ championship contention because they have fewer points than the German.
Indianapolis 8 Hour winners Winkelhock, Niederhauser and Haase are equal-second in the drivers’ standings. Audi is splitting its title contenders to maximize its chances of getting any of its drivers above the No. 51 Ferrari crew.
The No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari lineup has been adjusted, with Miguel Molina joining Alessio Rovera and Antonio Fuoco. IndyCar-bound Callum Ilott drove the car at Spa and Indianapolis, while Davide Rigon was set to replace the Brit on the original Kyalami date.
Mercedes-AMG’s effort will be led by the factory-assisted AKKA-ASP car driven by Raffaele Marciello, Jules Gounon and drivers’ title outside bet Timur Boguslavskiy.
Craft-Bamboo Racing’s planned entry with Mercedes-AMG factory drivers Maro Engel, Luca Stolz and Daniel Juncadella is not shown on the updated entry list.
Fellow Mercedes-AMG entrant SunEnergy1 Racing and the WRT-assisted High Class Racing Audi effort complete the field of international runners, as Pro-Am entries.
Most of the National-class competitors from the SA GT Racing Series are fielding Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos.
The Lamborghini contingent includes Stradale Into Africa, Stradale Motorsport and Scuderia Scribante, which is only slated to contest the opening hour of the race with its two-car stable.
The National field is completed by the Audi GT3 and GT4 cars run by MJR Motorsport.
Kyalami was originally set to close the 2021 IGTC season on Dec. 2-4 but the event was postponed to Feb. 3-5 in light of travel restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the Omicron variant.