Staged as part of the Bapco Bahrain GT Festival, the GT4 International Cup brings together competitors from across the globe for a season-ending contest. It joins an impressive programme of racing at the Middle Eastern venue, with the FIA GT Nations Cup and Bahrain Classic Challenge also set to hit the track.
While an impressive 21-car grid had already been confirmed for the event, a number of drivers remained unannounced. But, with the opening practice session now just a few days away, the complete line-up has been revealed.
Phoenix Racing has confirmed that 17-year-old rising star Max Hesse will partner the already-announced Gosia Rdest in its #5 Audi R8 LMS GT4. The German teenager has enjoyed a successful 2018 season in touring cars and also made a one-off GT4 European Series outing at Spa-Francorchamps.
The CMR squad will field a brace of Alpine A110 GT4s in Bahrain, and will call upon two familiar drivers to get behind the wheel of its #26 machine in Pierre-Alexandre Jean and Pierre Sancinena.
There is reason to believe that this pairing can be among the contenders for overall victory in Bahrain. Jean and Sancinena contested the second half of the Championnat de France FFSA GT – GT4 France season together in 2018 and proved extremely competitive, taking wins at Magny-Cours and Circuit Paul Ricard. Given their recent track record, the French duo will approach the event in confident mood.
The #36 Alpine will see 2008 French GT champion David Tuchbant competing alongside Antoine Leclerc. Both drivers can call upon considerable experience in GT racing and have earned a raft of honours between them, ensuring another strong line-up for the CMR squad.
French outfit 3Y Technology has confirmed the drivers for its brace of BMW M4 GT4 entries. Philip Kadoorie will pair up with Dan Wells in the #37 car, with both drivers racing under the flag of Hong Kong. British-born Wells cut his teeth on the European scene and has since spent several years competing on the Asian continent in single-seaters and sports cars.
In the #39 BMW M4 GT4, Enzo Guibbert will pair up with Gilles Vannelet. The duo raced together for 3Y Technology at the Magny-Cours round of this season’s FFSA Championnat de France – GT4 France championship, while both come with extensive experience of domestic and international competition.
Finally, Jerome Policand will cap a landmark year for his AKKA ASP squad by driving the #88 Mercedes-AMG GT4 at the Bapco Bahrain GT Festival. The Frenchman, who enjoyed a successful career behind the wheel before turning his attention to team management, will make a return to the cockpit to compete alongside Thomas Drouet. AKKA ASP captured the overall Blancpain GT Series teams’ and drivers’ championships in 2018 and Policand will hope to put the icing on the cake with a strong run in Bahrain.
Competitors will have an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the Bahrain International Circuit during two free practice runs on Friday, followed by a pair of qualifying sessions later in the day. These will set the grid for two 60-minute qualifying races on Saturday, which will in turn determine the grid for the evening’s deciding 60-minute main race. Both qualifying races and the main event will be streamed live on the official GT4 European Series and Championnat de France FFSA GT – GT4 France websites and Facebook pages.
In addition to the on-track action, the Bapco Bahrain GT Festival will feature a wealth of entertainment to suit all tastes. Stunt shows, live music and acrobatics will be among the many added attractions at the Middle Eastern venue, making for an authentic festival atmosphere.
Indeed, the inaugural GT4 International Cup will provide a fitting finale to a landmark year for the category, which has enjoyed significant growth across the globe. The latest driver announcements add further depth to what was already an impressive field and hint and an epic season-ending showdown in Bahrain.