Vanthoor takes Intercontinental GT Challenge title with Sepang win

Outgoing Audi driver Laurens Vanthoor claimed the inaugural Intercontinental GT Challenge title after taking a second successive victory in the Sepang 12 Hours

Vanthoor takes Intercontinental GT Challenge title with Sepang win

The Phoenix Audi R8 LMS driver started sixth, but along with team-mates Christopher Haase and Robin Frijns, shot into the lead towards mid-distance when the #15 car was among the first to pit after the first outbreak of rain began.

The trio never looked back after that, despite torrential rain at times, eventually beating the Porsche of Earl Bamber, Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet by a lap.

Vanthoor is switching from Audi to Porsche in 2017.

The sister Manthey Porsche 911 GT3R of Richard Lietz, Frederic Makowiecki and Michael Christensen started the race on pole and continued to lead in the early stages.

However, a technical issue later dropped it down the order, while the front row-starting K-PAX McLaren 650S lost 13 laps in the pits as suspension repairs took place.

Then when the rain first arrived the two Phoenix Audis swept into the lead and that remained the case until the final 90 minutes when Bamber pulled a great move on the #16 car to take second, but could do nothing about Vanthoor, Haase and Frijns up front.

Pierre Kaffer, Rene Rast and Markus Winkelhock held on to complete the podium in their Audi ahead of the AF Corse-run Spirit of Race SA Ferrari 488 of Pasin Lathouras, Michele Rugolo and Alessandro Pier Guidi.

The second Manthey Porsche car ended the race in fifth.

Audi's double podium also meant the German marque took the manufacturers' championship, with previous leader Bentley not entering any cars into the Malaysian race - the third and final contest of the season after the Bathurst 12 Hours and Spa 24 Hours.

Further back, there was more Audi success in the GTC class with the B-Quik Racing Team R8 LMS Cup car of Peter Kox, Henk Kiks and Daniel Bilski triumphing, despite an early puncture.

Elsewhere, the Ginetta G55 of Britons Dan Wells and Darren Burke and local driver Zen Low took GT4 class honours.

A small number of touring cars took part too, with the Tracy Sports Toyota GT86 of Takashi Oi, Hitoshi Matsui, Takashi Ito and Kenny Lee topping the division some 48 laps behind the winning Audi.

Despite the adverse conditions in the second half of the contest, all 25 cars that started were able to complete the race.

shares
comments
GruppeM Racing commits to new Blancpain GT Series Asia

Previous article

GruppeM Racing commits to new Blancpain GT Series Asia

Next article

Audi WEC refugee Oliver Jarvis gets Bentley GT factory drive

Audi WEC refugee Oliver Jarvis gets Bentley GT factory drive
Load comments
The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat Plus

The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat

It's a significant achievement to win one 24-hour race in a year, let alone two, and with different manufacturers, but that's exactly what ROWE Racing did in 2020 at the Nurburgring and Spa. This weekend's German classic offers the DTM newcomer a chance of another unique double to add to its growing collection of accolades

GT
Jun 3, 2021
The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story Plus

The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story

The manufacturers were unconvinced – and even hostile – when Stephane Ratel launched GT3 in 2006. Now, 15 years on from its debut, they’ve sold more than 2000 cars and counting, but its continued expansion puts the increasingly globalised category at risk of losing its roots

GT
May 25, 2021
The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT Plus

The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT

With the Silver pairings that dominated 2020 now banned, Mercedes pair Yelmer Buurman and Ian Loggie could be in the box seat after winning last year's Pro-Am crown. But a swarm of Lamborghinis, with the defending outright champion among them, will ensure they face tough opposition

GT
May 21, 2021
How McLaren’s GT3 ‘single-seater’ defies expectations Plus

How McLaren’s GT3 ‘single-seater’ defies expectations

Time in a thoroughbred racer leaves you searching for time in yourself, especially when the rewards for total commitment are so high, as our man discovered at Snetterton

GT
Apr 28, 2021
How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy Plus

How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy

Raffaele Marciello once appeared to be Ferrari’s next Italian F1 star, but is now under the pay of its German arch-rival in GTs – and he’s very happy with his life

GT
Apr 8, 2021
Why GTE's future is a conundrum with no easy answers Plus

Why GTE's future is a conundrum with no easy answers

The convergence between the World Endurance Championship and IMSA over LMDh regulations offers a bright future for sportscar racing, but the imminent demise of IMSA's GT Le Mans class creates wider issues to which no catch-all solution exists

GT
Feb 3, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Plus

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it

GT
Jan 23, 2021
Why a lost F1 hope is still in demand aged 65 Plus

Why a lost F1 hope is still in demand aged 65

There's a saying among retired folk that life begins at 60, but endurance specialist Alain Ferte has never used the 'R' word. Some 40 years since his crowning glory in F3, he's still a driver in demand and gunning for more 24-hour racing success this weekend

GT
Jan 15, 2021