Newly-crowned GTE Pro Le Mans winners Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor have been confirmed for the Suzuka 10 Hours, driving alongside Mathieu Jaminet in Craft Bamboo’s Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I am really happy to go to Suzuka as I have never been before,” said Vanthoor, who won the 2016 IGTC title with Audi. “I think it is a track that every driver wishes to go to, so I think it will be a very cool experience. I think we need to avenge what happened to us in Bathurst, but it will be a good weekend to join Kevin again and see Mathieu. I am really looking forward to the experience with Craft-Bamboo once again.”
Kevin Estre, another Suzuka first timer in the field, added: “I am very happy to go to Suzuka, a track that I have been dreaming to race on since I began watching Formula 1 as a child. I cannot wait to drive the circuit in the Porsche 911 GT3 R and I think with Craft-Bamboo we need to make amends for what happened in Bathurst because we were good there.
“We had a car which was able to win but unfortunately some unforeseen variables prevented a victory, but we had the pace as well as the spirit. Craft-Bamboo gave us a fast car, so I hope that is the case again in Suzuka. I really like Japan, so I think we will do well there.”
Porsche Young Professional Jaminet is also delighted to be heading to Suzuka, for what will be not only his first race at the fabled Japanese circuit, but his first IGTC start too.
“I am really looking forward to be joining Craft-Bamboo Racing for the first time and for my first Intercontinental GT Challenge race in Suzuka. To join the other drivers, it is really a dream and I really can’t wait to drive on this track. It is going to be really exciting to drive there on the test day and to join the two Le Mans winners for the race is fantastic.
“Everything is new, but I am looking forward to joining Craft-Bamboo who showed really good performance in Bathurst earlier this year, so I am sure we will perform well. I can’t wait to meet everyone and to drive.”
The Total 24 Hours of Spa hosts round two of this year’s Intercontinental GT Challenge on July 26-29 before the Suzuka 10 Hours takes centre stage one month later (August 24-26). The Laguna Seca Raceway California 8 Hours closes out the campaign, which began in February at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, on October 26-28.