SOUTH AFRICAN RACING UP THE RANKS: 19-year old Jordan Pepper has been selected to represent Bentley at the 2016 ADAC GT3 Masters series. Image: Motorsport Media
Johannesburg - South Africa's Jordan Pepper (19), ADAC German GT3 Masters race winner, has been chosen as one of the Bentley Boys for the 2016 ADAC GT3 Masters series.
Bentley Team ABT confirmed Pepper as one of six of its drivers set to drive its three Continental GT3 racers amongst a grid of 30 cars from eight manufacturers in the leading international series.
Young vs Old
Pepper will chase overall and Junior honours alongside 43-year old defending ADAC GT3 Gentleman’s champion Andreas Weishaupt in the No.9 Bentley Continental GT, while Le Mans winning Briton Guy Smith shares the No. 8 car with Fabian Hamprecht and Formula E racer Daniel Abt and Christer Jöns will drive the No. 7 machine.
Pepper said: "I’m really excited to make the change to the Factory Bentley Abt Team for 2016 after a very tough but promising first year in the 2015 ADAC GT Masters.
"I am thankful that the team has seen promise in me — this is my second year in GT Racing and I will have a better understanding of what to expect.”
“The car is truly phenomenal — I felt really comfortable after I drove it for the first time,” Pepper explained. “I had really good feedback from the new Bentley Continental GT3 — especially at the limit, which is something you need as a driver. “Obviously it’s quite different from what I’m used to, but with a few more laps, I am positive we will be strong and competitive.”
20 teams, 34 supercar races
2016’s tenth ADAC GT Masters will see 20 teams entering 34 supercars in races through Germany, Austria and the Netherlands starting at Oscherslieben next weekend 15-17 April. There the Bentley Boys will face GT3 racing rivals the likes of the new Audi R8, BMW M6, Corvette C7, Lamborghini Huracán, Mercedes-AMG GT, Nissan GT-R and Porsche 911s fielded by 20 teams in a 34-car grid.
“The ADAC GT Masters field is definitely going to be one of or if not the most competitive GT3 sprint series around the world this year,” Jordan Pepper pointed out. ”This year I am partnering reigning ADAC GT Masters Gentleman Champion Andreas Weishaupt, so obviously the goal is to help Andreas defend his title and to be as competitive as we possibly can - I’m looking forward to the challenge, no doubt!”
Co-driver Weishaupt is also looking forward to racing with the young South African: “Jordan is extremely analytical, determined, talented and a very pleasant team mate,” the reigning Gentleman’s Champion pointed out. “I am pleased to be able to go with him, especially considering how much tougher the competition will be this year.”
The turbocharged V8-powered Bentley Continental GT3 made its race debut in 2015 and is expected to be a major contender for honours in its first year in the in the ADAC GT Masters.
'Mix of youth and experience'
Bentley Team ABT team boss Christian Abt said: “We expect to be strong on tracks like Oschersleben next week and the Sachsenring. The Bentley Boys are a balanced driver crew with a mix of youth and experience — we’re looking forward to a great season ahead.”
A top former karter and SA Engen VW Polo Cup Rookie champion, Pepper went to race in Europe where he won the 2014 Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup championship with a round to spare before being drafted into the C.Abt Racing team to drive an Audi R8 in last year’s ADAC GT Masters.
Pepper said: "2015 was a tough first year with some mechanical failures that forced us out the championship hunt, but we fought back strong and claimed a few good results, with the highlight being that win in the wet at the finale.”
“I can’t wait for the new season to start — it really is a honour and a privilege to be one of the Bentley Boys in the 2016 ADAC GT3 Masters.”