The Audi R8 LMS Cup has announced its 10-round 2018 calendar that spans three continents and takes in some of the world’s premier events. With debuts in Australia at the Adelaide 500 and in Europe at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, the Cup’s seventh season also includes two China double-headers in Ningbo and Shanghai. The championship will then come to a crescendo under the floodlights of its first night race at the season finale in Malaysia.
The season also includes the new Shanghai 888 endurance race as an invitational event for Cup competitors.
“The 2018 edition of the Audi R8 LMS Cup underlines our commitment to offering our customers dynamic, challenging and varied events on the world’s leading circuits,” said Martin Kuehl, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia. “We are the only brand cup worldwide to feature full-spec GT3 vehicles, and with our driver mentoring programme and open data policy in 2018, we will continue to set new standards for one-make-racing in the region.”
After kicking off on March 3-4 with rounds 1 and 2 at the Adelaide 500 in Australia, the sprint series will make a second iconic debut with rounds 3 and 4 to take place in support of one of the most important GT races in the world – the Nürburgring 24 Hours. The Cup’s double-header will be held on the 5.148 km Grand Prix configuration of the circuit on May 11-12.
The Cup then returns to the world’s biggest Audi market, China, for two double-header weekends. First, rounds 5 and 6 will take place at the newly-opened Ningbo International Speedway on September 1-2 before the Cup heads to the only track to feature in each of its seasons thus far, the Shanghai International Circuit. The venue for the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix will host rounds 7 and 8 on October 5-6.
The season then closes out in spectacular fashion with rounds 9 and 10 at the season finale under the soon-to-be-installed floodlights of the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia on November 24-25 at the Cup’s first ever night race.
The seventh season of the Audi R8 LMS Cup also includes an invitational race, the SIC 888 on October 7. All Cup competitors who take part in the 888 kilometre endurance race at the Shanghai International Circuit in China will receive 10 championship points towards their Audi R8 LMS Cup campaigns.
Each of the Cup’s 30-minute sprint races will feature the full GT spectrum from Audi Sport customer racing, with the new Audi R8 LMS GT4 joining all generations of the Audi R8 LMS GT3 on the grid.
In 2018, the Audi R8 LMS Cup will be exclusively privateer. The series will feature a mentoring programme and open data to accelerate the opportunities for advancement amongst the privateer field in a welcoming, premium and mutually-beneficial racing environment for all.
Unique prizes will be on offer for the 2018 season’s best performing drivers. In the GT3 class the overall champion will receive a special “Cup edition” Audi R8 road car. In addition, the highest points-scorer in each of the four countries the Cup visits in 2018 will win a seat on a fully-supported, four-driver Team Audi R8 LMS Cup entry into the 2019 Total 24 Hours of Spa. In the GT4 category, the overall top three will receive parts vouchers starting from 50,000 Euros for the class winner.
Audi R8 LMS Cup 2018 calendar*
Rounds 1 & 2 / March 3-4 / Adelaide Street Circuit, Australia
Rounds 3 & 4 / May 11-12 / Nürburgring (Grand Prix circuit), Germany
Rounds 5 & 6 / September 1-2 / Ningbo International Speedway, China
Rounds 7 & 8 / October 5-6 / Shanghai International Circuit, China
Invitational Race / October 7 / SIC 888, Shanghai International Circuit, China
Rounds 9 & 10 / November 24-25 / Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia