With just ten days to go before the Suzuka 10 Hours on 24-26 August, the final vacant seats on the entry list have been filled for Garage 59 McLaren, SunEnergy1 Racing, and Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing – completing the entry list for the 47th Summer Endurance Race at Suzuka Circuit.
McLaren’s sole combatant at Suzuka will have a familiar driver lineup for followers of the Garage 59 team during the 2018 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.
Ben Barnicoat and Côme Ledogar will be re-united with Andrew Watson, the three drivers previously being split between the two Garage 59 entries at Spa.
With the team fielding just one car at Suzuka, the trio of Barnicoat, Ledogar, and Watson will aim to score McLaren’s first overall victory at this event since winning back-to-back Suzuka 1000kms in 1995 and 1996 with the F1 GTR.
Just over a week after announcing their entry into the Suzuka 10 Hours, SunEnergy1 Racing have completed the Pro-Am driver lineup that will compete alongside the previously-announced Kenny Habul.
Habul will be partnered by Canadian Mikaël Grenier, who drove for SunEnergy1 in the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours, and by German Luca Stolz, who will race for his third different team in as many Intercontinental GT Challenge rounds – previously driving with Black Swan Racing at the Bathurst 12 Hour, and Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon at the Spa 24 Hours.
Finally, completing Mercedes-AMG’s Suzuka entry is the GruppeM Racing team, which will run a white, blue, red, and yellow livery inspired by the Mobile Suit Gundam animé franchise!
The last three drivers on the Suzuka 10 Hours were announced just today. Anchoring the #888 GruppeM Mercedes’ lineup will be Swiss-Italian star Raffaelle Marciello, and Frenchman Tristan Vautier, who together finished 2nd overall in the Bathurst 12 Hour with SunEnergy1 Racing.
Marciello and Vautier are joined by 2016 Nürburgring 24 Hours winner Maro Engel in an all-pro lineup for the “GruppeM Gundam”.
In total, the field of 35 cars is split into 22 all-Pro entries, 12 Pro-Am Cup entries, and 1 Am Cup car.
The two Bentley Team M-Sport entries have flipped numbers and drivers – Steven Kane, Jordan Pepper, and Jules Gounon are now in the #07 Bentley Continental GT3, while Andy Soucek, Maxime Soulet, and Vincent Abril are now in the #08.
Also, in a change that hasn’t been reflected in the newest entry list – but was announced by EVA Racing on 8 August – 23-year-old Tsubasa Takahashi, a former Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP) open-wheel prospect and Team JLOC reserve driver, will now join Yuya Motojima and Taiyou Iida in the #87 Lamborghini Huracán GT3.
Stay tuned to DSC for our two-part, car-by-car preview for the Suzuka 10 Hours in the days to come!
Images courtesy of SRO Motorsports Group and GruppeM Racing