Bentley looking to finish the season in style as the Kyalami 9 hours returns
23 October 2019
• Pair of Continental GT3s will navigate challenging South African circuit in GT3 season finale
• South African Bentley driver Jordan Pepper hopes to impress on return to hometown
• Maxime Soulet steps into the #107 for the first time this season
• Customer team driver Rodrigo Baptista joins Steven Kane and Andy Soucek in the #108
(Crewe, 22 October 2019) Bentley Motorsport will travel to South Africa to contest the final round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC), the Kyalami 9 Hours, where Bentley Boy, Jordan Pepper, and Bentley Director of Motorsport, Paul Williams, will be hoping to please their adoring home fans with a famous victory.
Having secured a podium finish at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya last time out in the final round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, both the #107 and #108 will arrive at the historic circuit confident of finishing the iconic car brand’s centenary year on a high.
The IGTC grid will visit South Africa for the first time, reviving the famous Kyalami 9 Hour race, which last ran in the 1980s.
Draped over the hills between Johannesburg and Pretoria, the Kyalami circuit poses a unique challenge to the drivers, with several undulations throughout the lap ensuring any lapse in concentration does not go unpunished.
The #107 driver line-up will change for the first time in the 2019 season, with Maxime Soulet (BE) moving over from the #108 to partner Jules Gounon (FR) and local hero Jordan Pepper (ZA).
Rodrigo Baptista (BR) will fill the final spot in the #108, stepping up from customer team duties having partnered Soulet in the GT World Challenge America for K-PAX Racing. He will team up with regular #108 driver Andy Soucek (ES), and Steven Kane (GB), who moves over from the #107 to ensure a balance of experience across both cars.
Ahead of his home race, Jordan Pepper said: “Kyalami will be a very special weekend for me. Only 10 minutes from where I live, it’s as close as you can get to a home race. What makes it special is the last time I raced in South Africa before I went to Europe to follow a dream was at Kyalami, and now I can return in front of the home support having achieved that dream.
“Emotions will run high for sure, but we always arrive at these race weekends with one goal in mind, and that’s to win. The small tricks I know around this place will hopefully give me and my teammates an edge, and we can finish the season on a high.”
Rodrigo Baptista added: “Although this will be my first visit to Kyalami, I’m confident. I’m doing the work in the simulator and watching onboards, and we are in a unique position here being able to work with Jordan Pepper, one of the few drivers that has experienced the circuit before.
“Coming from a customer team like K-PAX Racing helps a lot because I’m already familiar with the car, and most importantly how it handles. We’ve won races and ran in the top five every weekend in the US, so I’m positive I can carry that form to Kyalami for the works team.”
Paul Williams, Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, commented: “I grew up first in Durban, before I moved with my family up to Sandton in Johannesburg, which is quite close to the Kyalami racetrack. In fact, I remember as a boy – I must have been about 9 or 10 at the time – going to Kyalami to watch the racing. I can’t remember if it was a Grand Prix, but I remember very clearly the open-wheeled racers. I went to watch the racing there a few times, so the track certainly helped contribute to my love of cars growing up.”
#107: Maxime Soulet (BEL), Jules Gounon (FRA) and Jordan Pepper (ZAF)
#108: Andy Soucek (ESP), Steven Kane (GBR) and Rodrigo Baptista (BRA)
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