> Johor Prince and Kiwi team up at five of six events
> Triple Eight upgrade to 2020-spec Mercedes-AMG GT3
His Highness Prince Jefri Ibrahim of Johor and 2016 Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen are once again teaming up with Triple Eight Race Engineering and Johor Racing for 2020’s GT World Challenge Asia campaign.
Van Gisbergen’s Supercars commitments restricted the Pro/Am duo to just three appearances together last season. But with only one clash occurring next year, the Kiwi – who ended 2019 as runner-up in Australia’s domestic tin-top series with Triple Eight – will become a near-permanent fixture in the same team’s GT3 line-up.
“We had an awesome first year racing in Asia,” said the former European Blancpain Endurance Series champion. “We learnt so much and gave ourselves a strong base to build on next season, so I think we’ve got a really good opportunity to maximise that and keep developing as a team.
“It was cool to get some podiums and even a class win in our first season. I’m really looking forward to driving with Prince Jefri again, we had a lot of fun this year and it’s been great seeing his progress at each race.”
Prince Jefri, meanwhile, will be eager to build on a solid first season that featured one class win, several more podiums and fourth place in the final Pro/Am standings. The Mercedes-AMG he shared with Van Gisbergen and fellow Malaysian Jazeman Jaafar became a mainstay of the top-10 as the season progressed and was regularly seen battling for overall podium positions.
“I’m very excited for the upcoming season,” he said. “This year has been a big learning curve for myself and the team with all the ups and downs. The biggest lessons I learned from my first season were on race craft and getting to know the different circuits around Asia as well as working on the car and gelling into the team.
“But it was really fun and enjoyable, I can’t wait for next year to learn some more, to get better and to be racing alongside Shane - we’d like to give it a real go.”
Triple Eight, which is again supported by Malaysia’s regional Johor Royal Family, has also confirmed its Mercedes-AMG GT3 will be upgraded to the latest 2020 specification.
“We greatly enjoyed our first year in GT World Challenge Asia and we’re looking forward to building upon everything we learnt,” said team principal, Roland Dane. “SRO have been excellent to work with and made the process of entering a new category for us very easy and enjoyable.
“We’re very happy to continue with His Royal Highness Prince Jefri, as well as Shane and Jazeman, who will continue to support the team next year. We’re looking forward to getting on track in 2020 with the three of them and the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.”
Van Gisbergen’s Pro replacement for Buriram, which clashes with Supercars’ round in Auckland, will be confirmed in due course.
Sepang hosts the opening round of GT World Challenge Asia’s 11-race schedule on March 28/29. Asia’s only pan-continental GT series then travels to Buriram in Thailand before stopping twice in Japan, at Fuji and Suzuka. Two more events held at Shanghai – the second a three-hour endurance race – close out 2020’s campaign.