Audi confirms drivers for Suzuka 10 Hours
Audi Sport has confirmed the teams and driver crews to contest the inaugural Suzuka 10 Hours.
With Drivers’ championship leader Robin Frijns unavailable due to DTM commitments, Audi has opted to spread five of its other main contenders across three cars.
Christopher Mies, Dries Vanthoor and Frederic Vervisch – who scored the full 25 points at the Total 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps last month – will share one of Audi Sport Team WRT’s two factory-backed entries, while Vervisch’s Spa co-drivers Christopher Haase and reigning Intercontinental GT Challenge champion Markus Winkelhock will partner Kelvin van der Linde at Audi Sport Team Absolute Racing.
Alongside Vervisch, Vanthoor, Haase and Winkelhock in fourth overall is Stuart Leonard, who joins Jake Dennis and Sheldon van der Linde aboard Team WRT’s second R8 LMS car.
Elsewhere, Alessio Picariello has joined Audi Team Hitotsuyama’s regular Super GT drivers Richard Lyons and Ryuichiro Tomita. A fifth R8, entered privately by Absolute Racing, sees amateur driver Jingzu Sun partner Adderly Fong and Congfu Cheng, who was a Blancpain GT Series Asia race winner with Absolute at Suzuka earlier this year.
Audi is also aiming to defend its advantage in the Manufacturers’ championship, which currently stands at seven points over Mercedes-AMG.
“This is a new challenge for us”, confirmed Head of Audi Sport customer racing Chris Reinke, “The situation with Robin [Frijns] was clear from the beginning of the season. We distributed our drivers trailing him in the standings to three race cars supported by us in order to make optimum use of our chances. At the same time, we want to extend our lead of the standings in the manufacturers’ classification.”
Audi is one of 13 manufacturers confirmed for the inaugural Suzuka 10 Hours.