Grove Racing will contest the full Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli this year as Bronze driver Stephen Grove eyes Independent Cup honors in Porsche machinery.
The Australian team is receiving technical support from Earl Bamber Motorsport for the five-round season, which starts at this weekend’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
Grove and his son Brenton are planning to drive in all of the races, while two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Earl Bamber is set to make appearances during the campaign.
Grove Racing entered last year’s CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa with EBM, however this will represent its first full season in IGTC, racing in the new Independent Cup class.
“Rather than doing a lot of one-off races like we did last year, now we can get into a series,” Grove told Sportscar365.
“It’ll be exciting – I really like that challenge. It’s just an ability to do a worldwide series rather than an Australian series. We took the opportunity to do it.
“I really enjoy long-distance racing. It takes us to some tracks we haven’t been to like Kyalami and Indianapolis. We just decided to put a plan together and go and do it.”
The Groves are joined by Australian Supercars driver Anton De Pasquale at Bathurst, while Grove said that Bamber will come on board for the Kyalami 9 Hour this month.
It is understood that both Bamber and De Pasquale could be involved in the driving crew for the 24 Hours of Spa in July.
The season rounds off with the Indianapolis 8 Hour powered by AWS in October and the Gulf 12 Hours in December.
Grove Racing will use two different types of Porsche 911 GT3 R during the campaign, considering the manufacturer’s new Type-992 model can only run after Kyalami.
The team is using an EBM-supplied Type-991.2 Porsche at Bathurst and will run its own car of the same generation at Kyalami, after being shipped from the Hankook 24H Dubai.
“We’ve driven it [the Type-991.2] a lot,” said Grove. “We’ll give it a send-off and keep it in the family because it’s a great car and great generation.
“Our new one will arrive for a test in May. We’re going to do a two-day test at Spa and then use it for the rest of the year.”
Grove described EBM’s support as a “collaboration” while Bamber said that the IGTC program will be a “cool adventure” for both parties.
“I’ve known Steve and Brenton since 2013 when I started racing Porsches in sports cars,” Bamber told Sportscar365.
“Steve’s always wanted to have ambitions to go over and do something. After he did Spa last year, he said, ‘look, I want to do all the big races’.
“I suggested to him that probably the best and most exciting championships in the world is the IGTC, where you accumulate together Bathurst, Kyalami, Spa – which is one of the ultimates – Indy and Gulf. It’s a really cool calendar.
“We’ve committed to doing that with them. It’s going to be a cool adventure. And for us, the team, it’s a big step up to go and fight some of the big, big teams.
“Dubai was the first step in that challenge and I think we weren’t too bad that we could take the fight to WRT in the middle of the race. It’s been a fun adventure into Europe as well, and for us this is going to feel like the next step.”