Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific will provide comprehensive support to Craft-Bamboo Racing’s effort in this weekend’s Intercontinental GT Challenge Suzuka 10 Hours, as well as offering on-site assistance to four other Porsche entries.
The event will mark the third partnership with the Hong Kong-based outfit in the last year, following the 2017 FIA GT World Cup in Macau, as well as the opening round of this season’s Intercontinental GT Challenge, the Bathurst 12 Hours, where the team narrowly missed out on victory.
Laurens Vanthoor and Kevin Estre were both part of the crew for the Australian classic, with the 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE-Pro class winners re-joining the team this weekend. Porsche Young Professional Driver Mathieu Jaminet completes the line-up, bringing plenty of experience from racing the Porsche 911 GT3 R in various series around the world.
Alongside Craft-Bamboo Racing’s entry, four other GT3-spec Porsches will race at the historic circuit, with single-car entries for Manthey-Racing and Black Swan Racing, as well as a two-car effort of the Japanese-based D’station Racing squad.
Manthey-Racing’s #911 entry also features a full line-up of Porsche Factory Drivers, with Dirk Werner, Frederic Makowiecki and Romain Dumas teaming up for the third-consecutive IGTC round.
American-based Black Swan Racing continue in the Pro-Am Cup, as two-time Porsche Supercup Champion Jeroen Bleekemolen shares the #54 car with team owner Tim Pappas and Mark Miller.
Finally, Super GT runners D’station Racing will field a pair of Porsche 911 GT3 R, with their #7 entry driven by team regulars Tomonobu Fujii and Sven Muller, who will be joined by double overall Le Mans winner Earl Bamber. Meanwhile, Jono Lester, Satoshi Hoshino and Tsubasa Kondo will share the #77 in Pro-Am.
Laurens Vanthoor: “This weekend is my first time in Japan and racing at Suzuka, which will be a very cool experience. The last time I was with the Craft-Bamboo team was at Bathurst, where we learnt plenty and had a good run, but unfortunately we had a problem at the end, costing us a shot at victory. I know the team much better now though and I’m confident we can score a strong result this weekend.”
Kevin Estre: “I’m really looking forward to take part in the Suzuka 10 Hours this weekend. When I was in Japan last year for the FIA World Endurance Championship round at Fuji, it made a big impression on me in terms of the culture and the fans are awesome, making it a very fun place to be. The track looks fantastic, it’s one of the circuits that I’ve wanted to race on for many years, and was always one of my favourites to watch Formula 1 on when I was a kid. We had a good experience with Craft-Bamboo Racing at Bathurst, we couldn’t quite win on that occasion, but this time we have another strong driver line-up and I hope that we’ll have a clean race.”
Mathieu Jaminet: “I’m excited to make my debut in the Intercontinental GT Challenge with Craft-Bamboo Racing this weekend at Suzuka. It’s going to be a very tough race for all the drivers, cars, and tyres, as we’re expecting very high temperatures. We have a great team behind us, and I’m lucky to be joined by two of this year’s GTE-Pro class Le Mans winners. It’s a big opportunity, and I really hope that we can fight at the front and bring home a good result for Porsche.”
Darryl O’Young, Director of Craft-Bamboo Racing, added: "The Suzuka 10 Hours has finally arrived and we're really looking forward to the event. The IGTC concept developed by the SRO has worked well in bringing together top teams and manufacturers from around the world to compete in an action-packed endurance event. Our driver line-up is strong, the team is focused, and we have been successful with the Porsche 911 GT3 R here in Suzuka, so the objective is nothing short of the win. The race will be quite exciting in the final hour with the sun going down and teams battling for the win, our goal is to be there at the end."
Alexandre Gibot, Head of Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific, said: “We look forward to once again partner Craft-Bamboo Racing for this combined effort in the Suzuka 10 Hours. It will be the third time since Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific was founded that we join forces with the team, and we are eager to achieve a strong result. All five of the Porsche entries have very strong driver line-ups, and the cars have been meticulously prepared ahead of the race. Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific will provide engineering and technical support on-site throughout the weekend, to ensure that Porsche can earn the best results.”
The Suzuka 10 hours will be streamed live across Europe and the Asia-Pacific region exclusively on Eurosport Player, while North American viewers can watch the same live coverage via Motor Trend On Demand. Eurosport 2 will also broadcast the race’s final 90 minutes live at 11:30 CET. Elsewhere, the race will be streamed in full and as-live on Intercontinental GT Challenge’s Facebook page and SRO’s GT World YouTube channel after the chequered flag.