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GT World Challenge Asia

Record 25-Car GT3 Field for Sepang Opener

Seven GT3 manufacturers, 30 cars set for World Challenge sprint round in Malaysia…

Photo: Blancpain GT Asia

A record 25 GT3 cars will line up for the opening round of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia series at Sepang this weekend.

The entry list, released on Wednesday, includes 14 crews in the top Pro-Am category as well as six Silver Cup cars, five in Am-Am and five competitors in the GT4 class.

Seven GT3 manufacturers are represented while Mercedes-AMG and Ferrari each have four drivers on-hand to score points for the Blancpain GT World Challenge umbrella prize that spans the Asian, American and European sprint competitions.

Absolute Racing holds the largest single-team entry with six cars, split evenly between Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos and Porsche 911 GT3 Rs.

Craft-Bamboo Racing, meanwhile, has a trio of Mercedes-AMG GT3s as well as an additional Mercedes in the GT4 ranks.

Sepang will mark the Asian debut of the McLaren 720S GT3 which is being entered by ABSSA Motorsport and driven by Piti Bhirombakhdi and former FIA World Endurance Championship racer Keita Sawa.

California 8 Hours winner HubAuto Corsa returns to the Blancpain GT Asia field with a Ferrari 488 GT3 each in the Silver and Am-Am categories, while Ferrari’s Pro-Am hopes are pinned on the T2 Motorsports entry which includes ex-Formula 1 driver Rio Haryanto in its lineup.

Vincenzo Sospiri Racing returns after a year out with the only Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo in the Pro-Am pack, with another Lamborghini for Australian team AMAC Motorsport in Am-Am.

Rounding out the GT manufacturers’ list is Honda, which will be represented by a single NSX GT3 Evo run by Am-Am squad Arrows Racing.

There are no Nissans listed after KCMG switched its efforts to the Intercontinental GT Challenge, while the top two teams from last year – FFF Racing and GruppeM Racing – have also left.

Notable drivers racing at Sepang include Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour winner Dennis Olsen in the No. 912 Absolute Racing Porsche and two-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar GTD champion Christina Nielsen, who is sharing a Craft-Bamboo Mercedes with Darryl O’Young.

Nielsen is one of Mercedes-AMG’s four World Challenge nominated drivers, along with Jeffrey Lee, Xu Wei and MG Choi, while Ferrari has put forward Haryanto, David Russell, David Tjiptobiantoro and Yuya Sakamoto.

Free practice takes place on Friday before qualifying for the first of two 60-minute races gets underway on Saturday at 11:35 a.m. local time (11:35 p.m. Friday EST).

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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