As the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup makes its European debut at Germany’s Nürburgring this weekend, Audi Sport’s Asian customers will also be out in full force closer to home. As the China GT Championship embarks upon its third season at China’s Zhuhai International Circuit, six Audi crews will continue their quest for silverware in the Blancpain GT Series Asia, this time in Thailand.
The line-ups are strong across a number of classes, a testament to the rude health that Asian motorsport find itself in. “The fact that so many talented drivers can line-up in both the China GT Championship and the Blancpain GT Series Asia is a sign of how far motorsport has progressed in the region,” said Martin Kuehl, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia. “Our customer teams have won many championships in the region and they continue to build on these achievements year on year.”
As the third season of the China GT Championship gets underway, reigning team champion Kings Racing has created a formidable dream team. Reigning China GT Champion Xu Jia of China teams up with 2017 Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup title-holder, “Belgian Bullet” Alessio Picariello. Not to be upstaged, teammate Wang Liang, third in the series in 2017, joins New Zealand’s Will Bamber, brother of two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Earl, in an equally-intriguing combination. Bamber takes the place of Wang’s regular teammate, Martin Rump, who will be in Thailand for rounds three and four of the Blancpain GT Series Asia.
A four car entry from the Tianshi Racing Team – two Pro-Am GT3 plus two Am entries in the GTC class – sees reigning Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup Am+ champion, David Chen, team up with fellow countryman Cai Huibang. The second GT3 car sees Italian Massimiliano Wiser and Hong Kong’s Andrew Lo team up, while the all-Chinese GTC line-up is Liu Peng, driving solo, and Chen Xiao and Guan Fangyuan.
Rump, meanwhile, will reunite with Chinese star Cheng Congfu to continue their Blancpain GT Series Asia campaign with Absolute Racing. The pair head to Thailand at the top of the Silver Cup standings after a solid weekend at the season-opener in Malaysia.
Absolute Racing’s Anthony Liu of China and new teammate for this season, 25-year-old Australian Josh Burdon, lie second in the overall standings after two races and will be in search of a first race win after claiming second place in round two. Teammates Andrew Kim of Korea and Hong Kong star Adderly Fong return in the third Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 entry.
Reigning Blancpain GT Series Asia Silver Cup champion Marchy Lee returns to partner with fellow legend of Asian motorsport, three-time Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup champion, Alex Yoong for Phoenix Racing Asia. The pair will be looking to get the team’s championship campaign back on track after a tough start to the season. Likewise, in the OD Racing Team WRT camp, Mitch Gilbert, who turns 24 on May 10, and India’s Aditya Patel will be raring to get back in the title mix in the region’s most prestigious multi-marque series.
In the Am Cup the Japanese KCMG pairing of Naoto Takeda and Takuya Shirasaka will be looking to continue their blinding form, having taking both race wins in Malaysia to put them atop the category’s standings heading to Thailand.