***A Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR, with Nick Tandy at the wheel, turned demonstration laps Friday at Sepang, in the build-up to the formal launch of SRO’s GT4 platform in Asia next year. SRO Motorsports Group boss Stephane Ratel said he’s expecting a number of Clubsport MRs in the new Blancpain GT Asia Series.
***Two GT4-spec cars are on the grid for Saturday’s race, both Ginetta G55 GT4s, entered by Ayelzo Ecotint Racing and Charlie Robertson/Simpson Motorsport. It marks the Asian debut for the car. “We got the car a little but late; it had some customs issues, and then some general catch-up things. So we missed three hours of practice. But since we’ve been running we’ve been quickest in each session,” said class polesitter Dan Wells.
***ABS issues for the No. 16 Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi R8 LMS saw Rene Rast qualify only 9th overall, with a Shootout time that was some half-second slower than his time set in the 60-minute qualifying session. Teammate Laurens Vanthoor will start sixth, also having struggled.
***Vanthoor heads into tomorrow’s IGTC title-decider with a six-point lead over Shane van Gisbergen, who’s in the K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 this weekend, and seven points ahead of Rast, who is also in the three-way championship fight.
***While K-PAX Racing is taking part in its first endurance race, and first event overseas, the Flying Lizard Motorsports-run operation are no strangers to the format, although it’s also the team’s first trip to Asia.
***The majority of the K-PAX crew arrived Monday evening, direct from the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, where Flying Lizard scored its second consecutive overall victory, as well as a 1-2 finish in class with an Audi R8 LMS ultra and Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
***McLaren GT has brought the majority of the equipment over for the race, although the car is K-PAX’s PWC championship-winning 650S GT3 chassis. “We flew a minimal amount of things out,” Program Manager Darren Law told Sportscar365. “All of the pit equipment, radios and stuff like that, they helped support a lot of stuff with us.”
***In addition to the Super GT300-spec Toyota Prius, the event features a number of cars and teams from other regional series in Asia. The No. 35 HubAuto Racing Ferrari 488 GT3, No. 39 Muta Racing Lexus RC350, No. 100 Amuse & SPV Toyota FT86 all come from the Japanese Super Taikyu series, with the Saitama Toyopet team also present, but entering a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 car.
***The No. 11 Singha Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 regularly competes in the Thailand Super Series, alongside the No. 26 B-Quick Racing Audi R8 LMS, which is competing in the GTC class this weekend, as a previous-generation GT3 car.
***A number of past and present Asian Le Mans Series teams are also in attendence, including Spirit of Race, Aylezo Ecotint, HubAuto (Team AAI) and Nexus Infinity. T2 Motorsport, meanwhile, is taking part in its first race outside of Indonedsia with its Ferrari 488 GT3 car, which regularly competes in a local Ferrari-based club championship.
***K-PAX’s Law said they could take part in additional overseas races next year, having initially also looked at the FIA GT World Cup in Macau. “The top priority is PWC,” he said. “We have to go back and defend our championship, so that takes priority over everything. I don’t know if we would do anything mid-season, in the middle of our [PWC] race season but at the end of the year, we may look at some more of these things.”
***One of the races that could be in the plan, Law said, is the new eight-hour Intercontinental GT Challenge round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in October. The PWC-supported event will not feature regular-season GT/GT3 or GTS/GT4 events that weekend.
***Click Here to download the Spotter’s Guide for tomorrow’s race. Watch live coverage of the race, with commentary from Jack Nicholls, David Addison and John Watson, beginning Saturday at 12 p.m. local time (Fri. 11 p.m. ET) on the official web stream and also Motor Trend on Demand.