French squad AKKA ASP used this week’s Blancpain GT Series official test days at Circuit Paul Ricard to unveil their driver line-ups for the 2018 campaign.
Jérôme Policand’s squad will be among the busiest in the pit lane this season, having announced ambitious plans to field no fewer than five Endurance Cup entries, as well as a three-car Sprint programme.
The Endurance line-up will be led by a trio of highly accomplished drivers aboard the team’s #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3, with Raffaele Marciello, Daniel Juncadella and Tristan Vautier confirmed for the five-round series.
All three are familiar to AKKA. Mercedes-AMG works drivers Marciello and Juncadella both contested the full 2017 campaign for the team, while Vautier has made several appearances during recent seasons.
The AKKA team will also field a pair of Endurance Cup cars in the Pro-Am class. The #87 Mercedes-AMG will see familiar faces Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Mauro Ricci joined by young Frenchman Nico Jamin, who has spent recent seasons successfully racing single-seaters in the U.S.
The #89 entry will see AKKA regulars Philippe Giauque and Eric Debard once again link up with the squad, with a third Pro driver set to be confirmed in time for the opening Endurance event at Monza (20-22 April).
The team will also enter the Silver Cup this year, with Nico Bastin returning to the AKKA fold alongside a pair of young chargers in Jack Manchester and Jules Szymkowiak. The latter is a familiar Blancpain GT Series competitor who won the Silver Cup title in the Sprint category last season.
The team’s five-car Endurance roster is completed by the already-announced #35 machine, which will compete under the SMP Racing banner
On the Sprint Cup side, Marciello will remain aboard the #88 car, placing the young Italian in contention for the overall Blancpain GT Series title this term. He will be supported by British racer Michael Meadows, with whom he shared during the full 2017 season.
A second Pro car will see Jamin compete in the top class alongside a yet-to-be-announced teammate, giving the Frenchman a chance to compete for outright honours.
Finally, Bastian and Manchester will link up aboard the #90 Mercedes-AMG GT3 to compete for the Silver Cup title.
With their multi-car line-up confirmed the AKKA squad can target glory across a range of classes throughout the 2018 campaign, which gets underway at Zolder on 6-8 April.