GT Notebook: From Europe & Asia | – Dailysportscar

Rutronik Firm Up First Porsche Crew

Rutronik Racing has confirmed its first line-up for the 2024 Fanatec GT Europe season, which will see the team field a pair of Porsche entries in the full 10-round championship.

Dustin Blattner and Dennis Marschall will share the wheel of the #97 machine in the Sprint Cup, with Loek Hartog making up the trio at Endurance events. This crew will compete for Bronze Cup honours, while its second car is set to be a Pro entry.

Blattner and Hartog are both new to Fanatec GT Europe; indeed, Blattner is a newcomer to GT3 racing, having made his debut in last year’s Intercontinental GT Challenge finale at Yas Marina. Hartog, meanwhile, has built up considerable experience at the wheel of Porsche machinery and scored a win in the marque’s prestigious Supercup last term.

Pro driver Marschall returns to the Rutronik fold having previously driven for the team in ADAC GT Masters between 2019 and 2022. Previously part of Audi Sport’s factory programme, the German turned in some eye-catching performances last season as part of the Tresor Attempto squad.

In addition to the regular drivers, Zacharie Robichon will join the crew at the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa. The experienced Canadian has previously won the IMSA GTD title at the wheel of Porsche machinery.

“The entry of another Porsche 911 GT3 R in Fanatec GT Europe is a milestone in the development of Rutronik Racing,” said team boss Klaus Graf. “The entry centred around Bronze driver Dustin Blattner will compete in both the Endurance Cup and the Sprint Cup. At this point I would like to thank everyone involved and our partners for the trust they have shown in making it possible to realise this project.

“With the return of Dennis Marschall to Rutronik Racing, we were able to gain an absolute top driver for the Endurance and Sprint programmes. With Loek Hartog’s participation in the Endurance races as a young, up-and-coming talent from the Porsche environment, I am convinced that we will have a say in the fight for victory in the Bronze classification.”

The line-up for Rutronik’s Pro car is set to be confirmed in the coming weeks. The new season launches with the traditional Prologue at Circuit Paul Ricard on 5/6 March, followed by the opening Endurance Cup race at the same venue on 5–7 April and the first Sprint contest at Brands Hatch on 4–5 May.

VSR Confirm GT World Challenge Asia Return

Vincenzo Sospiri Racing makes its Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS comeback this season, five years after its last appearance.

The long-time Lamborghini Squadra Corse customer squad has entered two Huracan GT3 Evo 2s in the six-round, series.

Its first entry pairs 2023 Am champion Bian Ye with Edoardo Liberati, who made several appearances in KCMG’s Honda last season. However, the Italian also has extensive experience of the Huracan in both GT3 and Super Trofeo form.

The second line-up will be confirmed at a later once suitable drivers have been evaluated.

VSR was a Fanatec GT Asia regular from the inaugural campaign in 2017 until 2019. During that time it won the Am class title and finished third in Pro-Am. It has since focused on Fanatec GT Europe, International GT Open and its domestic Italian GT Championship.

“I’m very proud to be returning to Asia with the support of Lamborghini Squadra Corse and am thrilled to welcome Bian to the VSR family,” said team principal Vincenzo Sospiri. “I am sure he and Edoardo will make a competitive pairing and look forward to announcing a strong line-up for the sister car shortly.”

Jon Flinn, Lamborghini Squadra Corse Motorsport Coordinator for APAC added: “We are very excited to welcome VSR back to Asia, having had some great experiences and strong results together in the past. I am confident that their successful track record, combined with the exciting driver pairing of Bian and Edoardo will bring a competitive package to the Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia.”

Lamborghini won Fanatec GT Asia’s overall drivers’, teams’, Silver and Pro-Am titles in 2018 but has had a reduced presence since the series resumed post-pandemic in 2022. Its head of motorsport, Giorgio Sanna, is pleased to see the manufacturer returning with one of its trusted European partners.

“We are very motivated about our return to the Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia after a few years absence,” he said. “Asia Pacific is an important market for us and combining the experience of VSR with Bian and Edoardo we expect a competitive season.”

Sepang stages the season opener on April 19-21 before the championship visits Thailand, Japan – for three Fanatec GT Asia events – and China, which – like VSR – also returns for the first time since 2019.

GT4 Boost For Japan Cup

Three more GT4 teams – Sunrise BLVD, YZ Racing and Toyota Gazoo Racing Indonesia – have confirmed their Japan Cup participation this year, while the first GTC entry has also been received.

Eight one-hour races will take place at Sugo, Fuji, Suzuka and Okayama throughout the summer after championship organiser SRO Motorsports Group opted to split Japan Cup from Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS.

Three of the four events run alongside Fanatec GT Asia on what will become known as SRO GT PowerTour weekends. Sugo stages the season opener – and first-ever standalone Japan Cup event – on June 7-9.

Japan Cup is now SRO Asia’s sole destination for GT4 cars – something that has prompted local and international teams to commit to a multi-class series in which GT3, GTC and GT2 cars are also eligible.

One of them, YZ Racing, is no stranger to Japan Cup. Indeed, its returning driver Masaki Kano was crowned Fanatec GT Asia and Japan Cup GT4 champion last season.

Kano’s co-driver in the team’s BMW M4 GT4 will be confirmed at a later date.

Meanwhile, Sunrise BLVD, which has previously contested Porsche Sprint Challenge Japan and Super Taikyu, makes its SRO debut with at least one and possibly two Porsche Cayman GT4s.

Its first driver crew pairs Yoshitomo Makino with former Japanese F4 racer Daiki Fujiwara. Potential drivers are currently being evaluated for the second Porsche.

Makino and Fujiwara will be battling for overall GT4 victory but also Silver-Am honours against TGR Indonesia’s returning Supra, which features the unchanged combination of last year’s Fanatec GT Asia runners-up Haridarma Manoppo and Seita Nonaka.

Unlike 2023, all Asian drivers can now also compete in Japan Cup, hence Manoppo’s inclusion.

YZ, Sunrise and TGR Indonesia join D’station’s Aston Martin and Checkshop Caymania’s Porsche on the list of currently confirmed GT4 entries. More will be announced in the coming weeks.

Elsewhere, GAMA 83 Racing has become the first team to confirm a Japan Cup GTC entry.

GTC covers models designed for one-make categories like Ferrari Challenge, Lamborghini Super Trofeo and Porsche Carrera Cup. And it’s the latter’s 911 that GAMA 83, run by Super GT outfit Hitotsuyama Racing, has opted for in 2024.

The Porsche will be driven by GT racing newcomer Makoto Haga.

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