Audi, Mercedes and McLaren join Bentley in Intercontinental GT

Four manufacturers have signed up to compete in the inaugural Intercontinental GT Challenge ahead of the opening Bathurst 12 Hours round this weekend

Audi, Mercedes and McLaren join Bentley in Intercontinental GT

Audi, Mercedes and McLaren were announced alongside Bentley, which revealed its intent to participate earlier this week, when the entries were announced for a series that combines the big GT3 enduros at Bathurst, Spa and Sepang.

Stephane Ratel, whose eponymous organisation announced plans for the challenge last September, said: "At SRO we are very proud to start the first global GT3 Series with the support of several of the biggest manufacturers on the motorsports planet and I am convinced that others will join us later in the season."

Manufacturers' and drivers' titles will be awarded at the end of the season, along with another championship crown for amateur drivers.

Those competing for the overall drivers' title can only score points with one manufacturer, but amateurs, who must be classified as bronze, can drive for any combination of manufacturers over the series.

Each registered car maker can nominate four cars for each of the races and the top two will score points towards the manufacturers' title.

Bentley has entered two factory M-Sport Continental GT3s for Bathurst this weekend, while Audi is represented by two Audi R8 LMS ultras entered by the Melbourne Performance Center and one by Phoenix Racing.

Mishumotors and Erebus have entered one and two Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGs respectively, while McLaren has linked up with the Tekno Autosports team and is also represented by the Keltic Racing squad.

Factory drivers present at Bathurst include Laurens Vanthoor, Rene Rast and Markus Winkelhock (Audi), Steven Kane and Guy Smith (Bentley), Alvaro Parente and Rob Bell (McLaren) and Bernd Schneider and Maro Engel (Mercedes).

Ratel reiterated his intent for the challenge to expand to four races in 2017 following the cancellation of the US round set for Austin in early March.

The Austin fixture is expected to revived for the end of the 2017 season.

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