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Modest Entry for GTWC Asia’s First Round in 32 Months

GTWC Asia set for return after lengthy absence; more cars anticipated for Japan Cup stretch…

Photo: SRO

A modest entry of eight cars will contest this weekend’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS season-opener at Sepang for the SRO series’ first racing in 32 months.

After more than two years of coronavirus restrictions that caused the cancelation of the 2020 and 2021 seasons, GTWC Asia is ready to open its 2022 campaign in Malaysia.

Regional logistics remain challenging and that is reflected in the small grid for Sepang, although the entry is set to swell to 24 cars for the second round at Suzuka, courtesy of strong interest in the new Japan Cup class that will be contested at four of the six events.

The eight-car field for the season-opener involves EBM Giga Racing, Triple Eight Race Engineering, Yogibo Racing, AMAC Motorsport and Team X-Works, which is running its own entry and also supporting Yasser Shahin’s The Bend Motorsport Park effort.

EBM Giga Racing is running a pair of Porsche 911 GT3 Rs at the opening round, including one for Adrian D’Silva and two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Earl Bamber.

The full-season Earl Bamber Motorsport-run Porsche will be driven by Setiawan Santoso and Reid Harker.

Triple Eight also has two cars on the grid, with 2019 GTWC Asia competitor Prince Jefri Ibrahim and Nick Foster teaming up in the No. 888 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

Prince Jefri’s brother, Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim, will share the other Triple Eight Mercedes-AMG with former FIA World Endurance Championship driver Jazeman Jaafar.

The Elf Bar Racing-badged Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II run by X-Works is set to be driven by David Pun and recently-announced Audi Sport Asia official driver Shaun Thong.

GTWC Australia front-runner Shahin will partner with Thailand Super Series ace Sandy Stuvik, another member of the Audi Sport Asia roster, in the No. 22 Audi.

The Sepang entry is completed by a Silver Cup-class Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 for newly-formed Japanese outfit Yogibo Racing, and an Am-category Porsche for AMAC which previously operated Lamborghini machinery.

More manufacturers will be represented when GTWC Asia embarks on its summer stretch of Japanese rounds at Suzuka, Fuji, Sugo and Okayama.

Teams running McLaren, BMW, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Honda GT3 cars are signed up for the Japan Cup, which also has a GT4 element with Mercedes-AMG, Toyota and McLaren outfits involved.

All races in the GTWC Asia season will be 60 minutes in length, with a mandatory driver change window between 25 and 35 minutes.

Cars that finish in the top three will be subject to success penalties of 15, 10 and five seconds at pit stops during the following race.

The Sepang races will be held on Saturday and Sunday and will break a 980-day drought, equating to just over 32 months, since the last GTWC Asia round took place at Shanghai International Circuit in September 2019.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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