Castrol Honda Racing are delighted to announce that Esteban Guerrieri and Bertrand Baguette will spearhead the team’s line-up at the 24 Hours of Spa on July 26-29.
The pair of Honda official drivers will race an NSX GT3, derived from Honda’s next-generation 3.5-litre, twin-turbocharged V6 supercar in the Blancpain Endurance Series’ showpiece event.
Esteban, 33, has tested the NSX GT3 regularly in 2018 and made his race debut with the car in the ADAC GT Masters event at the Red Bull Ring in Austria in June.
The Argentinian; a regular race winner and title contender in single-seater racing earlier in his career, is contesting the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup in 2018 and is already a race winner in a Honda Civic Type R TCR for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport.
Bertrand, 32, made his name by winning the 2009 Formula Renault 3.5 title and tested for several Formula 1 teams before competing in IndyCar and then winning the LMP2 division of the Le Mans 24 Hours and FIA World Endurance Championship after switching to sportscars for 2013.
Since 2014 he has been a factory Honda driver and competes in Japan’s premier sportscar series; Super GT, in an NSX GT500 run by Nakajima Racing.
Although Spa represents his first race in the NSX GT3, he is no stranger to the 24-hour race or to the GT3 category. The Belgian has contested the event four times with a best finish of eighth.
Honda technical partner JAS Motorsport will run the team as part of the NSX GT3 Customer Racing Programme.
Castrol Honda Racing have entered the Pro-Am category for the event, meaning Esteban and Bertrand will be joined by two ‘bronze’ (non-professional) drivers. These will be revealed at a later date.
The NSX GT3 made its competitive debut in 2016 and became a race winner in the North American-based IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship and the Pirelli World Challenge in its first full season of competition.
As part of the NSX GT3 Customer Racing Programme – a collaborative project between Honda Motor, JAS Motorsport and Honda Performance Development (HPD), examples contest series in Europe, Asia and North America.
Esteban Guerrieri said: “Ever since I first saw the NSX GT3 in Macau last year – and sat in it – I knew I wanted to race it. I’ve been able to do that recently in ADAC GT Masters, but to be given the opportunity to race at an event as prestigious as the 24 Hours of Spa – one of the greatest circuits in the world – is a great honour and I am very grateful to Honda and Castrol for involving me in this exciting project. Compared to a TCR, the GT3 is a lot more powerful, has a more advanced electronic package and is a very different driving experience. I am really looking forward to it.”
Bertrand Baguette said: “The 24 Hours of Spa is the most prestigious GT3 race in the world and I’m so happy to be a part of the Castrol Honda Racing team and to have my first experience of racing the beautiful NSX GT3. I’ve had many successes in my sportscar career so far, like the victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours and the FIA WEC title in LMP2, and last year I won SuperGT’s biggest race; the Suzuka 1000km. Spa is extra-special though. I’m a Belgian and it’s Belgium’s greatest circuit – and one of the best in the world – and getting a good result there would be something to remember for the rest of my career. Although I haven’t driven the NSX GT3, I have plenty of experience of GT3 cars and I hope I can use this to contribute to a successful event for the team.”
Donald Smith, Sponsorship Manager, Castrol Marketing, said: “We are all very excited to add another chapter to the long history of Castrol and Honda working together in motor racing and especially to release the first images of yet another iconic Castrol Honda livery. The 24 hours of Spa provides the ideal platform to showcase our association with Honda and importantly the performance of our lubricants over such a demanding race. We welcome the drivers to the Castrol Honda association and eagerly await the race start in late July.
Alessandro Mariani, JAS Motorsport CEO said: “It’s extremely exciting to be preparing to contest such an important race as the 24 Hours of Spa. At JAS Motorsport, we’ve played a role in the design and development of the NSX GT3, which is winning races at a high level. We are also responsible for customer support in Europe and are delighted to have been asked by Honda and Castrol to support the team they created for Spa. We have worked with Esteban in the Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team last year and he has used the tests he has already completed in the NSX to adapt to the demands of GT3 racing. Bertrand has raced GT cars and at Spa for many years so he will surely be a huge asset to the team.”