> Japanese squad confirms Mercedes-AMG for 2020
Team GMB will make its GT World Challenge Asia debut in 2020 after lodging a full-season GT4 entry.
The Japanese team was originally established in 1991 but hasn’t competed since its final All Japan GT Championship campaign in 2003. Now it returns with a Mercedes-AMG GT4 for Pro/Am pairing Hiroaki Hatano and Takumi Kuroiwa.
The Pro/Am classification – which must comprise one bronze and one silver-graded driver – has been added to next season’s GT World Challenge Asia GT4 championship. Entries will have separate podiums to their Am/Am counterparts who have raced in the class since the series was established in 2017.
GMB’s amateur element is provided by team owner Hatano. He initially raced in Super Taikyu but became a mainstay of the All Japan GT Championship (now known as Super GT) from 1996 until 2003 before joining the VITA Trophy Endurance Series in 2016.
Meanwhile, 31-year-old Kuroiwa was VITA Trophy champion in 2015 and ’16, and also finished runner-up in the same series earlier this year.
Both will be hoping to emulate BMW Team Studie’s Sunako Jukuchou who won the GT4 Drivers’ crown earlier this year. A Mercedes-AMG also claimed the Drivers’ title in 2018.
“We have a lot of experience in Japan but this will be our first appearance in a pan-Asian championship, and we can’t wait to get started,” said Hatano. “The Mercedes-AMG is a proven performer in GT World Challenge Asia and around the world so we’re starting from a good base. Hopefully we can follow in the footsteps of our Japanese counterpart, BMW Team Studie, which has enjoyed much success over the last two years.”
Sepang hosts the opening round of GT World Challenge Asia’s 11-race 2020 campaign on March 28-29.