> Abbott/Buhk and Sugden/Szymkowiak set for full season entries
> Single-seater ace Marciello to make GT racing debut at Sepang
> Inaugural Blancpain GT Series Asia campaign commences on April 8/9
AMG Customer Sports Team GruppeM Racing has announced the star-studded European driver line-up that will take on the established order in this season’s inaugural Blancpain GT Series Asia campaign.
The former FIA GT and British GT champions were the first to commit to the new series when it was officially launched last December, but have waited until the week before its opening round at Sepang to confirm its full-season driver roster.
Its pair of Mercedes-AMG GT3s feature two of the European-based Blancpain GT Series’ hottest properties. Reigning overall champion and Endurance Cup runner-up Maxi Buhk will share GruppeM’s #999 entry at five of this year’s six events with British driver Hunter Abbott, whose recent experience includes the British Touring Car Championship and various forms of GT racing.
Prior Mercedes-AMG commitments mean Buhk is unable to compete at Sepang next week. GruppeM has therefore drafted in former Ferrari Formula 1 reserve driver, GP2 Series race winner and 2013 FIA European F3 champion Raffaele Marciello, who will be making his GT debut after switching from single-seaters.
GruppeM’s second driver pairing is also a potent one, with another of Mercedes-AMG’s Blancpain GT Series front-runners - Jules Szymkowiak - partnering former British GT and Porsche Carrera Cup champion Tim Sugden aboard the #888 machine.
Both of this season’s GruppeM entries will be supported by Pagani China, a company whose exotic supercars use thoroughbred Mercedes-AMG engines.
GruppeM join the likes of fellow multi-car outfits FFF Racing Team, Phoenix Racing Asia and Craft-Bamboo as full-season Blancpain GT Series entrants. Their Mercedes-AMGs form just a small part of what promises to be a mouthwatering GT3 grid, which also comprises Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren and Porsche.
Blancpain GT Series Asia’s full Sepang entry list will be unveiled next week ahead of this season’s opening round in Malaysia on April 8/9.
2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia Schedule
April 8/9 - Sepang, Malaysia
May 20/21 - Chang International Circuit, Thailand
June 24/25 - Suzuka, Japan
August 19/20 - Fuji Speedway, Japan
September 23/24 - Shanghai, China
October 21/22 - Zhejiang, China