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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Porsche Registered for IGTC; Kyalami Pro Entry Unlikely

Porsche re-commits to IGTC although will not entirely fund teams in globe-trotting GT3 series…

Photo: JEP/SRO

Porsche will continue as a registered manufacturer in Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli this year although will not likely have a Pro class entry on the grid for the Kyalami 9 Hour according to Porsche Motorsport boss Thomas Laudenbach.

The German brand, which won the IGTC manufacturer’s titles in 2019 and 2020, is set to be represented by Manthey EMA and Grove Racing in this weekend’s season-opening Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

While having a Pro class car for Bathurst in the Mathieu Jaminet, Matt Campbell and Thomas Preining-driven, EMA-backed Porsche 911 GT3 R, Laudenbach admitted that such prospects are currently not in the cards for the second round of the globe-trotting GT3 series.

“I was in contact with Stephane Ratel and he asked us,” Laudenbach said about continuing as an IGTC manufacturer.

“It’s a bit tricky for us. There is a crucial race with Kyalami. I like the idea Stephane’s idea and I’m in great support of this idea, to have local teams [race] and you don’t have to ship the stuff.

“In Kyalami we’re struggling in getting a team there.

“I was in close contact with Stephane in saying that I’m really pushing for that but it makes no sense if we have to pay a team [entirely] and this is factory sport and this is not what we do.

“He accepted that. He said, ‘You know me, I’m the first one to say I don’t want factory [teams] in there.’ I don’t know what other car manufacturers are doing; that’s not our style.

“That part is a bit tricky. We’ve talked to many teams but [Kyalami] is really difficult.”

The Kyalami 9H, which was facing uncertainty late last year due to lack of IGTC entries, was officially given the green light by SRO Motorsports Group just prior to Christmas, in what’s believed to be a limited grid of overseas teams.

While the EBM-run Grove team is expected to be in South Africa in the Pro-Am class, it could be Porsche’s only international representation.

“It’s a bit sad but on the other side I don’t think we should open the door and just pushing that by putting money on the table,” Laudenbach said. “That’s not the idea of customer sport, at least not at Porsche.

“We’re happy to support and help but not to say, “OK, here’s the full money and go there.’ That’s not the idea.

“Long-term we have to think about it because the IGTC is a good idea. It’s the real only manufacturer championship, so I would be pleased if we only have races where you can follow the idea and send local teams.”

Laudenbach stressed that it will continue to support customer-led efforts in IGTC and expects to again have a large representation for the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa.

“There’s always teams at Spa,” he said. “We have teams in the U.S. for Indianapolis, so you can always send somebody with some kind of support. It’s a [customer] effort and not factory sport, and then it’s great.

“We are in a real, very productive and close communication with Stephane. We follow the same idea. It just needs to make sense in the end. He’s very open to discuss, so it’s OK.”

Fellow German brands BMW and Mercedes-AMG are also registered for the IGTC season, although Lamborghini has elected not to continue as manufacturer according to its motorsports boss Giorgio Sanna.

Sportscar365 understands that U.S.-based Lamborghini squad K-PAX Racing had been eying a full season IGTC run but did not move forward after being unable to work out logistics between Bathurst and Kyalami, which is separated by only three weeks.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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