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Suzuka 10 Hours Entry Continues To Take Shape

Mercedes-AMG adds SunEnergy1, bestows works status to Goodsmile Racing; Grasser Racing Team withdraws

The Suzuka Circuit published the updated entry list for the upcoming Suzuka 10 Hours, to be held 24-26 August as the third round of the SRO Intercontinental GT Challenge.

Since the last update on the race’s entry list on 5 July, there’ve been some more new additions to the lineup. In addition to today’s news that Strakka Racing will add a third car to their Suzuka 10H challenge, another previously unnanounced Mercedes-AMG GT3 will take part in the form of Australian-based SunEnergy1 Racing.

Ever-present Australian gentleman racer Kenny Habul has already been announced as the first driver of SunEnergy1’s Suzuka effort, with his two co-drivers to be confirmed at a later date. SunEnergy1 finished 2nd overall in the Bathurst 12 Hour this February, and 3rd in the Pro-Am Cup class in last weekend’s Spa 24 Hours.

That’s now seven Mercedes-AMG GT3s lining up on the grid for Suzuka, joining the three Strakka Racing cars, Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing from Hong Kong, and local challengers Goodsmile Racing, and Rn-sports.

By far the crowd favourite of the Silver Arrows fleet at Suzuka, Goodsmile Racing announced this past Sunday – at Goodsmile’s 2018 Summer Wonder Festival in Chiba – thaat that they have been certified by Mercedes as an AMG Performance Team.

Their name on the entry list has changed to “Mercedes-AMG Team Good Smile”, but it will still be the same people in the car for the race – the all-Japanese trio of three-time GT300 champions Nobuteru Taniguchi and Tatsuya Kataoka, with FIA World Endurance Championship and GT500 star Kamui Kobayashi, and team director Ukyo Katayama.

Their red and pink livery that was written off before the start of last year’s Spa 24 Hours will still grace the Suzuka 10 Hours, with just a bit more AMG badging on the bonnet than before.

Sadly, the entry list also confirms the withdrawal of defending Blancpain GT Series Champions, Grasser Racing Team, and their Lamborghini Huracán GT3. This leaves Lamborghini’s challenge solely in the hands of the two-car Team JLOC effort, the #87 of Kimiya Sato, Yuya Motojima, and Taiyou Iida, and the #88 of Kazuki Hiramine, Marco Mapelli, and Andrea Caldarelli.

KCMG announced via Facebook the final driver of their two-car entry, as Oliver Jarvis, who was part of TOM’s Suzuka 1000km winning entry with André Lotterer and Juichi Wakisaka in 2007, will partner Edoardo Liberati and Richard Bradley in their #23 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.

The Liberati/Bradley/Jarvis trio will be joined by the #018 GT-R of Tsugio Matsuda, Alexandre Imperatori, and Katsumasa Chiyo.

At HubAuto Corsa, there’s an overhaul to their driver lineup for their pro-am #28 Ferrari 488 GT3, with Australian Nick Foster now joined by South African David Perel, the 2017 Blancpain GT Series Am Cup Champion, and Japanese driver Hiroki Yoshida, who was part of the 2012 GT300 class-winning Team A Speed entry at the Suzuka 1000km.