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Intercontinental GT Challenge

GPX Planning Four-Race IGTC Entry After Bathurst

GPX Racing planning to enter IGTC after Bathurst and two cars in GTWC Europe…

Photo: Porsche

Reigning Total 24 Hours of Spa winner GPX Racing is set to contest the majority of this year’s Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season as part of an expanded program.

The team, based at Dubai Autodrome and led by Frenchman Pierre-Brice Mena, debuted as a Porsche customer team last year with a single Silver Cup entry in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup.

It replaced its usual drivers with a factory lineup of Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen and Richard Lietz for Spa, however, and went on to win the Belgian endurance classic before fielding the same lineup at November’s Kyalami 9 Hour. 

Mena has revealed plans to continue in IGTC for four of five races this year alongside an expanded entry in the European series, which will be based out of its facility in Barcelona.

“The plan for this year is to run two cars in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup,” Mena told Sportscar365.

“One car will be Silver Cup, probably with the same lineup (Jordan Grogor, Stuart Hall, Ben Goethe) as this year, and the other car will be a Pro car.

“We also plan to have one car in IGTC, and maybe a second car. The idea is to have one or two Pro cars in IGTC. We really want to win races and be at the front.

“Also maybe we will do some preparation races for the Silver car, maybe in Creventic because there is a 12-hour in Spa, and Monza as well, so maybe it will be a good idea to prepare the races with the Silver crew.”

GPX’s IGTC program will begin at Spa, where it will be present anyway with its likely two cars in the GTWC Europe Endurance Cup, and continue through races at Suzuka, Indianapolis and Kyalami.

It won’t, however, compete at the season-opening Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in two weeks’ time.

“We decided to not jump into Bathurst because it was a bit tight in terms of timing because we [did] Dubai,” Mena explained.

“All the crew worked a lot during winter with the Gulf 12 Hours and Dubai, so I wanted to give them a bit of rest. I did not want to go there not doing 100 percent.

“We decided to skip Bathurst but the plan is to do the other races in IGTC, so Spa, Suzuka, Indianapolis and Kyalami.”

With plans for a Pro lineup in Europe and IGTC, GPX could receive the support of Porsche factory drivers as it did at Spa and Kyalami last year, but Mena says this is not confirmed yet.

“We would like to be close to Porsche and achieve things like we did a bit last year,” he said. “For the moment I still don’t know the plan from Porsche.

“They have not announced anything but of course we are talking. I don’t know their plan but I would be happy to do something with Porsche, if not we will do it with other Pro drivers.”

Despite a big step up from running a single car last year in just six SRO races, Mena is cautious about expanding too quickly, and as such has shelved initial consideration to enter the GTWC Sprint Cup.

“We don’t want to go too fast,” he clarified. “We had one car last year in Blancpain and next year we’re going to have probably two cars in IGTC and also in [GTWC]. It is already a big step.

“If we add Sprint it could be a mistake. I don’t want to try and do everything, and do everything wrong, I just want to focus on some stuff and do it perfectly.”

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

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