Honda is likely to return to the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli next year according to Alessandro Mariani, CEO of its operating partner JAS Motorsport.
JAS and Honda joined IGTC as the eighth manufacturer at the second race of the season this year and had one factory-entered car for the remaining four rounds, along with additional customer entries at Spa and Suzuka.
Jenson Team Rocket RJN ran its Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup car at Spa, while three Asian teams joined for the Suzuka 10 Hours.
“[Returning to IGTC] is a strong option but we still don’t have any final official confirmation,” Mariani told Sportscar365.
“Maybe we could have some customer cars in some events. This is one option, as we did in Spa with RJN.”
No decision has been made on drivers yet after having a number of changes in the main Honda Team Motul car this year.
Bertrand Baguette was the only driver at all five rounds, and was joined by Mario Farnbacher, Renger van der Zande, Marco Bonanomi, Hideki Mutoh and Dane Cameron at different points of the year.
“We have a list [of drivers] but nothing has been decided. We decided to wait until after Kyalami,” Mariani said.
Mariani confirmed that if Honda does return to IGTC next year, it will complete the full season, starting at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in February after missing this year’s Australian race.
“Last year, the decision to race IGTC arrived in the middle of February,” he added. “This year, because we have Bathurst, it will be much earlier.”
JAS Looking for More European Customers in “Full” Market
Another one of JAS’ priorities for the coming season is to establish more customer entries in Europe, particularly GT World Challenge Europe, as well as potential customers at IGTC races.
Mariani admits it’s been difficult to achieve this, having so far only found two customers in SRO Motorsports Group’s European competition in Silver Cup team RJN and GT Sports Club champion Jens Reno Moller.
“In Europe it is a bit difficult because the market is full and Honda arrived last,” he said.
“We are trying to do our best to offer a reasonable package for the customers. We are speaking with some customers but at the moment, there is no agreement.
“Personally, I would like to have one competitive car in [GT World Challenge Europe] Endurance Cup but this is my [opinion]. It depends on the team.
“Even GT Open is not bad, and the Sprint Cup. We won the GT Sports Club, it was good.”