Sepang 12 Hours cancelled due to lack of entries
The final round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge at Sepang next month has been cancelled due to a lack of entries.
The Sepang 12 Hours had been set to take place on December 10, but has been axed after race organiser Stephane Ratel Organisation (SRO) failed to achieve its 20-car entry target.
The decision means that Markus Winkelhock, winner of two of the three 2017 IGTC rounds, has been crowned drivers' champion and Audi the winner of the manufacturers' title.
SRO's Benjamin Franassovici described the move as "the only realistic option", adding: "SRO rightly considers an endurance event featuring less than 18 cars unviable.
"It’s also important to retain the Sepang 12 Hours’ spectacle, and given the present situation, I don’t think that would have been possible in 2017.
“Cancelling suitably ahead of time is therefore considered a more responsible option than staging a high-profile endurance race below capacity.”
SRO blamed the failure to hit its entry target on number of factors.
A statement said that "lower-than-expected public attendance" at the two editions of the race since SRO took over the organisation of the Sepang enduro in 2015 had made it difficult for manufacturers and international teams to justify the expense of taking part.
An increase in the number of end-of-season GT events and the fact that Audi was almost assured of taking the manufacturers' title were also cited.
The announcement that the Asian IGTC round will move to Suzuka with a new 10-hour fixture next year also affected the number of Japanese entries, it said.
SRO stressed that it would be working with the Sepang International Circuit to introduce a revised format to ensure the survival of an event that dates back to 2000.
It was announced in July that the race would continue in 2018 as part of a new series for GT3 and GT4 machinery to be known as the Asia Pacific 36 incorporating the Bathurst 12 Hours and a new fixture at the Hampton Downs circuit in New Zealand.
Slade locked in for Bathurst 12 Hour return
Spectacular season finale: 25 nationalities present for inaugural 24H COTA USA