The Audi R8 LMS Cup has announced its 10-race, five-stop, pan-Asian calendar for 2017. The sprint series’ sixth season will include a highly anticipated debut at the Suzuka F1 circuit in Japan, one of the most demanding tracks in the world. In addition, the push-to-pass feature will return with amateurs receiving double the number of temporary engine boosts than their professional counterparts.
On May 6-7, the season will kick off in Sepang, Malaysia. After the visit to the Suzuka International Racing Course on June 10-11, the Cup will return to Korea in August, with the exact date to be released soon.
The final two race weekends of the season will be held in China, the largest global Audi market and a burgeoning Asian motorsport hub. Rounds 7 and 8 will take place at the Shanghai Audi International Circuit on September 9-10. The newly opened Zhejiang International Circuit in the eastern Chinese city of Shaoxing will then play host to the season finale on October 20-21.
Calendar allows entries of Audi GT3 car into additional series
The calendar is set up to provide synergies with other GT series in Asia.
“Our 2017 calendar provides teams with the flexibility to fully utilise their Audi R8 LMS race car by entering additional racing series,” said Bernd Goeres, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia. “Audi continues to play a leading role in accelerating the development of motorsport in Asia.”
The Audi R8 LMS Cup has formed a partnership with SRO Motorsport Group’s new Blancpain GT Series Asia. Both series follow a similar route around Asia, allowing for full participation in both events. Additional logistics costs incurred through the double participation will be fully subsidised. Additionally, the 2017 winner of the Audi R8 LMS Cup amateur classification will receive a free 2018 entry into the highlight of the European Blancpain GT Series, the iconic Total 24 Hours of Spa for his team.
New features and strong focus on amateurs
Amateurs are the backbone of the customer racing programme of Audi in Asia. The amateur classification winner will be awarded with a complimentary tyre supply for the whole season, with a full refund given after the final race.
A raft of exciting changes to the Audi R8 LMS Cup will also be introduced in 2017. ‘Push-to-pass’ – the technology whereby a push of a button on the steering wheel unlocks additional horse-power for the car for a limited period – will return. Privateers will have double the number of push-to-passes for each race. To visualise the remaining number of push-to-passes for the fans, all cars will feature a digital LED-display on the side window.
The Cup’s sixth season will also see the introduction of a standalone qualifying session for each race.
Three pre-season test events
To give drivers the chance to practice with the Audi R8 LMS ahead of the season, Audi Sport customer racing Asia will offer three pre-season on-track test events at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia. The first two will take place in January and February, with the official pre-season testing in April to be held ahead of the season opener.
Drivers can enter the Cup with their own teams or choose from a variety of race packages including arrive-and-drive options. The service providers for the Audi R8 LMS Cup are Absolute Racing, Phoenix Racing Asia and KC Motorgroup (KCMG).
The Audi R8 LMS Cup is operated by Audi China and is part of the Audi Sport customer racing Asia programme.
2017 Audi R8 LMS Cup calendar
Official Test / April / Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
Rounds 1&2 / May 6-7 / Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
Rounds 3&4 / June 10-11 / Suzuka International Racing Course, Japan
Rounds 5&6 / August / Korea – further details TBC
Rounds 7&8 / September 9-10 / Shanghai Audi International Circuit, China
Rounds 9&10 / October 20-21 / Zhejiang International Circuit, China