Australian GT squad Exedra/M-Motorsport and KTM will make their Blancpain GT Series Asia debuts at Shanghai later this season after confirming a GT4 entry for both Chinese rounds.
The championship’s GT4 class has grown significantly in 2018 after new full-season entries from the likes of Mercedes-AMG, McLaren and BMW joined the existing Porsches that proved so popular during last year’s inaugural campaign.
And soon KTM can be added to that list after M-Motorsport announced plans for Dean
Koutsoumidis and Justin McMillan to race the Reiter Engineering-built X-Bow GT4 at Shanghai and Ningbo.
The Melbourne-based team has already claimed class victories with the X-Bow in its native Australian GT Championship and also demonstrated front-running pace at major endurance events such as the Bathurst 12 Hour and Dubai 24 Hour.
A new car, already under construction at Reiter Engineering in Germany, will head to China for Blancpain GT Series Asia’s penultimate round of the season at Shanghai’s Formula 1 venue on September 22/23. Ningbo, a new circuit opened at the end of 2017, then closes out the campaign on October 13/14.
For Koutsoumidis, a former Australian GT Trophy class champion and recent M-Motorsport recruit, Blancpain GT Series Asia represents the ideal addition to an existing Asian Le Mans Series sports-prototype programme in the region.
“I’ve been impressed by the emergence of the Blancpain GT Series in Asia over the last 18 months, and whilst the GT3 class has attracted some big entries, in recent months the GT4 category has grown to include some impressive teams, and some impressive drivers,” he said.
“I’ve enjoyed my time with M-Motorsport, and was very impressed with the KTM when I tested with the team at Winton last year, so I thought we could combine both options. I discussed with Justin [McMillan] an idea to take the KTM to China and be the first X-Bow in Blancpain GT Series Asia’s GT4 field, and he was all for it.”
Meanwhile McMillan, who combines driving with his team principal role, believes M-Motorsport’s previous experience should make it competitive from the word go at Shanghai.
“We’ve had some good experience with the X-Bow now, in Australia, Dubai and with our cameo appearance in China GT at Goldenport in Beijing last year, so we’re pretty confident that we can get the car working well enough to be battling at the front of the field,” he said.
“Obviously an F1 circuit like Shanghai will be a challenge with its drag strip-long straights, but the car has exceptional mechanical grip in the slow-mid speed corners, and whilst there aren’t a lot of them in Shanghai, at Ningbo we should be well and truly in the game.”
M-Motorsport become the second Australian team to make their Blancpain GT Series Asia debut this year following AMAC Motorsport’s full-season GT3 Am Cup entry.
This year’s championship continues at Suzuka on June 30/July 1 before also visiting Fuji ahead of its Chinese double-header.