GT stars Griffin, Rigon and Molina comprise all-Pro entry
Pro/Am 488 GT3 for Chen, Foster and Hongli also added
Inaugural Suzuka 10 Hours takes place on August 24-26
HubAuto Corsa has announced a factory-backed Ferrari driver line-up for this year’s inaugural Suzuka 10 Hours (August 24-26) as part of its two-car assault on Asia’s leg of the Intercontinental GT Challenge.
Davide Rigon, Miguel Molina and Matt Griffin form a potent partnership aboard the Taiwanese team’s all-Pro 488 GT3, while HubAuto Corsa has also confirmed that Morris Chen, Nick Foster and Leo Ye Hongli will drive a second, Pro/Am Ferrari.
HubAuto Corsa’s full-season programme sees its two Ferraris usually competing in Blancpain GT Series Asia, which stages rounds five and six of its 2018 campaign at Suzuka on June 30/July 1. The team, as well as some of its rivals, will gain valuable mileage at the iconic figure-of-eight circuit ahead of its 10 Hours appearance less than two months later when Pirelli will once again be the sole tyre supplier.
Griffin is one of the world’s most experienced Ferrari drivers after spending much of the last 11 years racing the Italian manufacturer’s various GT cars in national, regional and global championships. He currently leads the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Pro/Am standings, a title he won in 2015, after claiming victory at Paul Ricard last Saturday.
He’s joined by two members of Ferrari’s factory FIA World Endurance Championship GTE line-up. Rigon has represented the manufacturer on the global stage since 2014 and finished runner-up in the GTE Pro standings two years later, while Molina made his works debut in 2017 ahead of this year’s full-season world championship assault. Both drivers also have significant experience of Ferrari’s 488 GT3 thanks to their respective Blancpain GT Series programmes.
Griffin’s extensive racing CV has taken him to some of the world’s greatest circuits. However, this will be the first time the Irishman has visited Suzuka, and he can’t wait to get started.
“I’ve been lucky enough to race at some incredible, classic tracks but Suzuka is the last one on my bucket list and I’m delighted to be ticking it off this year,” he said. “I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to the challenge, actually. Between us only Davide has raced there but we’ve got a good simulator at Maranello so that won’t be a problem for Miguel and I.
“Everything about this programme feels just right. I worked really well with Miguel at Daytona earlier this year, while he and Davide were in the same 24 Hours of Spa entry last season. We all know each other pretty well. But I’ve also heard a lot of positive things about HubAuto and know their engineering side will be strong. Ferrari are giving them a lot of support and we’re heading to Japan aiming to win.”
Meanwhile, the team’s second entry unites three-quarters of HubAuto Corsa’s Blancpain GT Series Asia driver roster. Foster and Hongli currently lie third in the championship’s GT3 Drivers’ standings after four races, while team owner Chen usually partners Australian Supercars star Tim Slade.
An entry list featuring more than 35 cars and representing 12 manufacturers is now confirmed for August’s 47th Summer Endurance Race.
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.
ABOUT THE SUZUKA 10 HOURS
The Suzuka 10 Hours, which becomes Asia’s sole leg of the Intercontinental GT Challenge this season, is being jointly administered by SRO Motorsports Group, Super GT organisers GT Association, and Suzuka’s management company Mobilityland Corporation.
Uniquely, the race offers FIA GT3 cars from all over the world an opportunity to compete equally against Japanese teams running similar machinery and the JAF GT-spec chassis only found in Super GT’s GT300 category.
August’s 47th Summer Endurance Race builds on the legacy of Suzuka’s previous 1000-kilometre event. Although best known previously as Super GT’s blue riband round, the race has also featured on the FIA GT Championship, BPR Series, World Sportscar Championship and All-Japan Sports Prototype Championship schedules since its establishment in 1966.
Pirelli has been chosen as the event’s official tyre supplier while prize money totalling 100-million Yen has also been confirmed.