Porsche Motorsport Asia-Pacific customer team Absolute Racing are fired up and prepped to tackle the penultimate round of the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli season this weekend (August 23-25), and the 48th running of the Summer Endurance sports car race at Suzuka in Japan.
Dirk Werner (GER), Matt Campbell (NZL) and Dennis Olsen (DNK) will drive the #912 Porsche 911 GT3 R of the newly-crowned Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia Teams’ champions. This trio is just seven points adrift from the top spot in the #IntGTC Drivers’ standings as Porsche lies second in the Manufacturer’s standings just eight points behind.
In endurance racing terms, the 10 hours of Suzuka is the blue riband event of the Asian endurance season. Japan’s most prestigious long-distance event has featured several formats and championships since its debut in 1966. Introduced for the first time last year, this ten-hour race format is the longest in its history, with drivers racing into the sunset and finishing after dusk following Sunday’s mid-morning start.
The build-up to the big race started on Wednesday (21 August) with the sporting checks. On Thursday the cars will take part in a spectacular parade into the centre of Suzuka town centre. Track action begins later that afternoon before further practice sessions on Friday. Saturday’s qualifying session – featuring three 15-minute segments and a final top-20 Pole Shootout – then sets the grid for Sunday’s race.
Fabien Fior (Team Director): "Suzuka is a special place to race in Asia and it has been 'kind' to the team. We celebrated an overall podium in this race last year and we won here in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia this year. It’s an old-school track that punishes mistakes and it’s a challenge for both drivers and team crew. We know the huge responsibility that Porsche is entrusting to us, but the whole team is confident heading into the race weekend."
Dennis Olsen (#912 Driver): "I'm really looking forward to coming back to Asia and race at Suzuka circuit for the very first time. It looks to be a great track, and it is going to be a very interesting racing. I know Absolute Team for a quite few years since I did a race in single-seaters at Kuala Lumpur and their experience in Suzuka is going to be a great asset. Hopefully we will have great results over there."
Matt Campbell (#912 Driver): "I'm looking forward to getting back to Japan. It will be my second every race in Japan and I'm looking forward to getting back to the Intercontinental GT Challenge and meet Absolute Racing. Me, Dennis and Dirk have been driving all the year together and we are quite up in the points. We're hoping for another strong result in Suzuka."
Dirk Werner (#912 Driver): "I am very excited about driving in Suzuka again. This track is amazing and the atmosphere there is very cool. Together with Absolute Racing we should have a strong package to fight for a podium position and collect some valuable points for the Intercontinental GT Challenge classification."
TIMETABLE (GMT+9 local time)
FRIDAY 23 AUGUST
10:00 – 12:00: Paid Practice
14:10 – 16:10: Free Practice (Evening)
18:30 – 20:00: Free Practice (Night)
SATURDAY 24 AUGUST
09:15 – 10:15: Free Practice
13:00 – 13:15: Qualifying 1
13:30 – 13:45: Qualifying 2
14:00 – 14:15: Qualifying 3
17:30 – 17:50: Pole Shootout (Top-20)
SUNDAY 25 AUGUST
08:05 – 08:20: Warm-up
10:00 – 20:00: Race