Eight Manufacturers Confirmed for Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli

 Eight manufacturers are confirmed for Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli. The global GT3 series begins the schedule of five races on five continents in Australia at this weekend’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour and heads to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the California 8 Hours on March 29-30.

The recent confirmations of Ferrari and Honda following Nissan’s confirmation earlier in the week bring this year’s total number of full-season manufacturers to a record-breaking eight. They are joined on the grid by Audi, Bentley, BMW, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche.

Ferrari is fielding two 488 GT3 entries and registered to score points towards this year’s Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ championships beginning at this weekend’s opening round at Bathurst. Honda, meanwhile, has chosen to skip Bathurst in favor of beginning its 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge campaign at the California 8 Hours on March 29-30 when its new NSX GT3 Evo is homologated to compete for the first time. The same model will then contest the Total 24 Hours of Spa (Belgium), Suzuka 10 Hours (Japan) and season-closing Kyalami 9 Hour (South Africa).

Manufacturers are permitted to nominate a maximum of four cars per Intercontinental GT Challenge round, although only the two best-placed entries will score points towards the overall Manufacturers’ Championship. Drivers competing in all nominated entries will score points towards their respective overall championship while amateur drivers are also eligible for Bronze Drivers’ Championship points, subject to registration.

“The addition of seventh and eighth full-season manufacturers, and especially those of Ferrari and Honda’s standing, underlines the growing significance of the Intercontinental GT Challenge on the world stage,” said Stephane Ratel, SRO Motorsports Group Founder and CEO. “A global championship featuring five of GT3’s biggest endurance races deserves a stellar entry list, and that is exactly what Intercontinental GT Challenge has assembled ahead of its fourth season.

“I am delighted that Ferrari and Honda have committed to the 2019 championship and cannot wait to see how they compare against the likes of Audi, Bentley, BMW, Mercedes-AMG, Nissan and Porsche. Not since the days of the FIA GT1 World Championship has GT racing enjoyed such a high-profile global platform.”

Audi begins the defense of its Bathurst 12 Hour victory and Intercontinental GT Challenge Manufacturers’ title at Mount Panorama in Australia this Sunday, February 3. The event will be broadcast live on Intercontinental GT Challenge’s web site (www.intercontinentalgtchallenge.com) and Facebook page.

Audi will return to the California 8 Hours on March 29-30 having won at both previous events in 2017 and 2018. South African driving ace Kelvin van der Linde was a winning co-driver on both occasions. Eight manufacturers will field GT3 entries with additional GT4 and TCR entries on the grid.

Tickets, camping and VIP hospitality for the Intercontinental GT Challenge California 8 Hours are available by visiting www.WeatherTechRaceway.com or calling 831-242-8200. Fans can save on all eight premier events on the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca schedule with a 2019 Season Pass.

Adam Sinclair