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Bentley, Mercedes-AMG Look To Defend Championship Leads at Indianapolis 8 Hour

Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli sports car series racing Oct. 2-4 at IMS

The Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli sports car championship will race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time with the inaugural Indianapolis 8 Hour on Sunday, Oct. 4, a race featuring a host of international teams and drivers taking on America’s top GT racing talent.

Much has changed since the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour welcomed Intercontinental’s teams and manufacturers in February when Jules Gounon, Jordan Pepper and Maxime Soulet claimed Bentley’s first series win and the early Drivers’ Championship lead. Meanwhile, Mercedes-AMG tops the Manufacturers’ standings with three long-distance endurance races still to come.

Local teams fielding entries on behalf of international manufacturers remain a core pillar of the Intercontinental GT Challenge’s philosophy. That will be quite obvious on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course at Indianapolis, where GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS provides the bulk of #IntGTC’s grid. As well as for overall victory, its teams will race for domestic points during the first three hours, which collectively comprise the championship’s season finale.

The Indianapolis 8 Hour – the longest major event in IMS history – starts at 10 a.m. (ET) Sunday, Oct. 4. The event is paired with the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR doubleheader, which features NTT INDYCAR SERIES races Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3 on the IMS road course.

The packed support roster includes Pirelli GT4 America Sprint and SprintX, TC America and Skip Barber Formula Series.

A total of 23 cars – 13 GT3s and 10 GT4s – are provisionally set to start the Indianapolis 8 Hour, which stages North America’s Intercontinental GT Challenge race for the first time following three years of the California 8 Hours at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The present total is three more than contested 2019’s California 8 Hours and features seven of #IntGTC’s nine full-season marques.

Manufacturers’ Championship leaders Mercedes-AMG have the biggest presence thanks to three entries split between Intercontinental regulars SunEnergy1 Racing and GT World Challenge America frontrunners DXDT Racing. The latter’s lead pairing of George Kurtz and Colin Braun could yet win their domestic Pro-Am title, while David Askew and Ryan Dalziel are also likely to be at the sharp end.

GT World Challenge America’s Pro-Am championship leaders, Martin Fuentes and Rodrigo Baptista, comprise one half of Ferrari’s #IntGTC contingent. Squadra Corse are joined by fellow 488 GT3 runners Vital Speed, which counts 2012 Indianapolis 500 pole winner and NTT INDYCAR SERIES race winner Ryan Briscoe in its lineup.

Another heavyweight American team, albeit one competing in Europe this year, will oversee Bentley’s sole entry at Indianapolis. K-PAX Racing is no stranger to Intercontinental events – the team was at Laguna Seca in 2017 and ’18 and will contest the Total 24 Hours of Spa later this year – but can now count on a full factory driver roster comprising championship leaders Gounon, Pepper and Soulet.

Audi Sport also have works drivers on duty at Indy. Markus Winkelhock and Mirko Bortolotti join Spencer Pumpelly, whose Team Hardpoint squad is supported by factory-blessed WRT this weekend.

Elsewhere, full-season Intercontinental entrants Walkenhorst Motorsport make the trip on BMW’s behalf. Former Road to Indy driver Connor De Phillippi and fellow factory drivers Augusto Farfus and Nicky Catsburg share one M6 GT3 while Martin Tomczyk, Nick Yelloly and David Pittard make their first appearance as a trio in the second.

Honda can also count on two entries. Mario Farnbacher shares the JAS Motorsport-run factory effort with Honda/Acura colleagues Dane Cameron and Renger van der Zande. Racer’s Edge Motorsports field two NSX GT3 Evos, with Trent Hindman and former Indy Lights driver Shelby Blackstock and 2019 Indy Lights race winner Robert Megennis scheduled to contest the full distance.

Reigning Intercontinental GT Challenge champions Porsche is also represented by Ohio-based Wright Motorsports, with Fred Poordad and Max Root confirmed as drivers.

The rest of the entry features 10 cars and five manufacturers battling for GT4 class honours but not Intercontinental GT Challenge points.

Fans of acronyms and Porsches are well catered for courtesy of TRG, BGB and GMG, while the latter also enters Audi’s sole representative.

But the king-of-initials crown is reserved for CCR Team TFB, which run one of four M4 GT4s along with ST Racing, Bimmerworld and Classic BMW.

Motorsport USA (McLaren) and Notlad Racing by RS1 (Aston Martin) complete the GT4 entry.

Fans can watch the race, as well as Saturday’s pre-qualifying (8:30 a.m.), qualifying (12:10 p.m.) and Pole Shootout (5:30 p.m.) live on SRO’s GT World YouTube channel plus the Intercontinental GT Challenge Facebook page and website (

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