Australia’s most successful motor racing team, Triple Eight Race Engineering, will this year cross continents and categories to make its full-time GT debut in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia series.
Campaigning a Mercedes-AMG GT3, Triple Eight will have three drivers across the six events, headed by His Highness Prince Jefri Ibrahim of the Johor Royal Family as the amateur driver. Joining as the professional co-pilots for three events apiece will be Malaysian driver Jazeman Jaafar, who currently sits third in this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 class, and Triple Eight’s own Shane van Gisbergen, an experienced Blancpain GT champion in Europe as well as former Supercars champion.
“It’s really exciting that Roland and Triple Eight are expanding into Asia and GT racing,” commented van Gisbergen. “To be driving alongside Prince Jefri will be really cool, he’s come to Australia for a few of our races and I’ve been over to England with him for driver training, so he’s a good mate.
“Of course, my focus is still going to be fully on our Supercars campaign and making sure I’m giving myself and the team the best opportunity to win races, but it was in 2016 when I won my Supercars title, the Blancpain GT Endurance championship and the Bathurst 12 Hour, so racing as much as possible seems to be the best form of training for me.
“I feel like I’m at my best when I’m always in the car, so it’s a great opportunity for me to expand my racing in 2019 and have a lot of fun doing it. I think we’ve got a great platform in the Mercedes GT3 car, it seems to be an all-rounder that suits most types of tracks.”
The Brisbane-based squad has competed in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship since September 2003 and has cemented itself as the benchmark team in this time, securing no less than eight drivers’ championships, nine teams’ championships and seven Bathurst 1000 wins. In August last year, Triple Eight became the most-winning touring car team in Australia of all time, currently sitting on 184 championship race victories.
Outside of Supercars, the team has twice successfully leant its expertise to joint campaigns in the world-renowned Bathurst 12 Hour GT event, winning the race outright in 2017 and taking a closely-fought fourth place in this year’s race alongside Scott Taylor Motorsport.
The crew will comprise Triple Eight personnel based at the Brisbane factory, the same crew who run the team’s Dunlop Super2 campaign, spearheaded by Andrew Simpson as Team Manager and Romy Mayer as Race Engineer. Van Gisbergen will be contesting three of the six events – Buriram (Thailand), Suzuka (Japan) and Yeongam (Korea).
Fans in Australia and across Asia will be able to watch the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia action live on FOX SPORTS, via SRO Motorsport Group’s YouTube channel, GT World, and the series’ Facebook page. To keep up with the team’s results, fans can follow Triple Eight Race Engineering on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.