Triple Eight JMR will attempt to defend its Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS teams’ title this year after confirming a two-car full-season entry.
Pro-Am champion and member of the Johor Royal Family, Prince Jefri Ibrahim, is joined by Supercars ace Broc Feeney, while his younger brother Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim has Mercedes-AMG factory driver Luca Stolz for company at the majority of this year’s events.
The team will also race in its native Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS series with both Ibrahims, Feeney and Supercars legend Jamie Whincup.
“2023 will see us running two cars in Australia and two in Asia, so it will be a big year, with big challenges, but we’re looking forward to it,” said Prince Jefri. “Last year I won the Pro-Am championship and we also won the teams’ championship for the first time, which was really amazing.
“This year has started well with a class podium at the Bathurst 12 Hour, and hopefully we can carry this momentum forward into the rest of the season. I’ve been training hard in the gym and getting as much seat-time as possible in the car, as I want to take my physical performance to the next level this year.”
Two Supercars clashes prevent Feeney from racing at Fuji and Okayama, while Stolz’s DTM commitments rule him out of Okayama and Sepang. Their replacements will be confirmed at a later date.
Nevertheless, Triple Eight JMR’s driver combinations are clearly a statement of intent after Prince Jefri and his former partner Nick Foster fell just three points shy of winning the overall title last season.
Feeney is one of Triple Eight’s Red Bull Ampol Racing Supercars drivers. However, his recent exploits at the wheel of a Mercedes-AMG GT3 are also noteworthy after he qualified Triple Eight’s example second overall at February’s Bathurst 12 Hour and also represented the team in Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia last year.
“I am stoked to be joining the JMR team as co-driver with Prince Jefri for the 2023 season,” he said. “I wanted to fill in the space between the Supercars rounds this year, and this was the perfect opportunity. Although it was a gruelling race, I had fun starting 2023 in a GT for the Bathurst 12 Hour, so I’m keen to get some more time in the AMG GT3 throughout the year. The cars look great, and I can’t wait to get them out onto the track.”
Stolz is also well known to Triple Eight thanks to his recent exploits at the Bathurst 12 Hour, which he won in 2022 and earlier this year, while his CV includes further Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS success. He is also returning to the DTM after finishing sixth last season.
“I'm really looking forward to the upcoming season in Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia,” he said. “Starting in Asia is a new challenge for me; I don't know the racetracks yet, but I'm very excited to race there. I am looking forward to working with the JMR Team. The Triple Eight team is very professional, and I’m confident that I can contribute to their successes this season.”
His young co-driver Prince Abu made his GT3 debut at Sepang last season and acquitted himself well across the rest of the campaign to ultimately finish ninth overall alongside fellow Malaysian Jazeman Jaafar.
“2022 was a great year and I learnt a lot, but now we are ready to step up to the next level,” he said. “I’m excited by the challenge of racing both the Australian and Asian rounds of GT World Challenge and having the support of Jamie, Luca and Triple Eight will mean we have given ourselves the very best chance of success.”
This year’s six-round Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS campaign begins at Chang International Circuit in Thailand on May 12-14 before visiting Fuji, Suzuka, Motegi and Okayama through the summer. Sepang closes out the campaign in September.