Kempten, Germany - South African teenager Jordan Pepper has signed with top-ranked Team Abt to race a Bentley Continental GT3 in the 2016 ADAC Masters series.
After a long and successful partnership with Audi, this will be team principal Christian Abt's first season with Bentley. Pepper will be one of six modern-day "Bentley Boys" running in his colours among a grid of 34 cars from 20 teams and eight manufacturers, including the new Audi R8, BMW M6s, Corvette C7s, Lamborghini Huracans, Mercedes-AMG GTs, Nissan GT-Rs and Porsche 911s.
Pepper, who will be chasing the Junior title, will be teamed with 43-year-old defending Gentleman's Class champion Andreas Weishaupt in the team's third car, alongside Formula E star Daniel Abt and Christer Jons, and Le Mans winner Guy Smith and Fabian Hamprecht.
Former top karter and SA Polo Cup Rookie champion Pepper went to Europe in 2014, winning that year's Scirocco R-Cup series with a round to spare before joining C Abt Racing to drive an Audi R8 in the 2015 GT Masters.
"This is my second year in GT Racing," said Pepper. "Now I have a better understanding of what to expect, after a tough rookie season. We had some mechanical failures that took us out of championship contention, but we got some good results - especially a win in the wet at the season finale.
"The new Continental is truly phenomenal," he said. "Obviously it's quite different from what I'm used to, but I felt really comfortable after I drove it for the first time.
“I had really good feedback from the car, especially at the limit, which is what you need as a driver, and I reckon with a few more laps, we'll be on the pace.
"The ADAC Masters is going to be one of the most competitive GT3 sprint series in the world this year," he predicted, "so the goal is to help Andreas defend his Gentleman's title - and to be as competitive as possible!"
The turbocharged V8 Bentley Continental GT3 made its race debut in 2015; this is its first year the ADAC Masters series and it’s expected to be a front-runner, especially at fast, flowing circuits such as Oschersleben and the Sachsenring.
The 10th season of ADAC GT3 Masters will start at Oschersleben next weekend (15-17 April) and will feature seven rounds with races in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, ending at Hockenheim on 2 October.