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Intercontinental GT Challenge

KCMG, Nissan Considering IGTC Entry

KCMG looking at IGTC program with Nissan, Ratel “very confident” of new manufacturers…

Photo: NISMO

Nissan could join the Intercontinental GT Challenge next season, with KCMG looking at a possible full-season entry in the globe-trotting championship according to team owner Paul Ip.

The Hong Kong-based squad is “considering” an IGTC program after successfully competing with the new-for-2018 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 in the Blancpain GT Series Asia this season.

While a program isn’t yet confirmed, Ip explained it is one of the team’s options next year, expressing his desire to compete in the full five-race cup.

“We’re looking at it, and we hope we can do it, but at the moment, we’re still waiting for a few final [things],” Ip told Sportscar365.

“There are still a lot of factors. Right now, we are considering, that’s all I can say. Until everything is confirmed, anything can change.”

Ip says a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans isn’t currently on the cards, as the team is looking to focus on its GT and Super Formula programs in 2019.

“Maybe after GT3, we’ll probably consider Le Mans again,” he said. “At the moment, there are a few other boxes I want to check before we go back to Le Mans.”

Its season will begin at the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai in January, which the team will use as preparation for the rest of the season.

“We’re trying to use the Dubai 24 as a pre-season test program for the season,” he said.

“We’re not really going for the win or anything, it’s more like team bonding, the drivers knowing the car, knowing the team, finding out the setup.

“[We will] try a lot more different endurance strategies, et cetera.”

Ratel “Very Confident” of Additional IGTC Manufacturers 

Additional manufacturers are almost certain to enter the fourth year of IGTC, which will see an increase to five races for the first time, according to SRO Motorsports Group founder and CEO Stephane Ratel.

Five manufacturers were registered for IGTC this season, although only Audi, Mercedes-AMG, Bentley and Porsche had cars at all four races.

“We could double [the number of brands],” Ratel told Sportscar365. “It’s looking good.

“If we had six, seven, it would be good. Eight would be a dream. It’s step by step.”

Ratel was positive about the growth of IGTC, and believes the upcoming season will see it reach its original targets.

“Intercontinental took two or three seasons to develop,” he explained. “The fourth season is the one where that’s it.

“We have finalized what we said we would do four years ago with the concept.

“We would go to five of the most iconic circuits on five different continents, and we will aim at having six or seven manufacturers. Four years down the road, we are there.”

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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