Audi Sport customer teams will be out in full force across Asia’s race tracks this weekend, with eight teams and 15 crews contesting seven races in three different countries. As Japan prepares to host its first 24-hour endurance race in a decade with the third round of the Pirelli Super Taikyu Series 2018, the China GT Championship continues with rounds three and four at the Zhejiang International Circuit in Shaoxing, China, while the combined GT Asia Series/Thailand Super Series campaigns resume at Buriram’s Chang International Circuit in the Land of Smiles.
“We are looking ahead to a busy weekend in Asian motorsport, with a strong number of Audi customer entries. Their line-ups include some of the best drivers from Asia as well as proven professionals from Europe, clearly marking their ambition to play a leading role in the continuous acceleration of GT racing in the region. We wish all of them, including our dedicated privateer drivers, the best of success, ” said Martin Kuehl, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia.
Much anticipation surrounds the Super TEC 24 Hours of Fuji as Japan hosts its first 24-hour race in ten years, and Phoenix Racing Asia has assembled an especially strong GT3 line-up for the big event. Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup star Jeffrey Lee is joined in the #81 J-Fly Racing by Phoenix Racing Asia car by former Japan Super GT GT3000 champion and Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix winner André Couto, 25-year-old Shintaro Kawabata, who moved up through the single seater ranks before graduating to Super GT last year, and reigning Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup champion, the ‘Belgian Bullet’, Alessio Picariello.
Another Cup legend, three-time champion and former Formula 1 driver, Alex Yoong heads up the #82 entry, joined by Audi Sport customer racing Asia driver pool member Shaun Thong, Hong Kong’s Alex Au, and reigning Audi Sport TT Cup champion Philip Ellis of Britain. Singapore’s Keong Wee Lim is joined by former Cup champion Marchy Lee, Malaysian Melvin Moh and 19-year-old Austrian rising star Max Hofer.
In the TCR category, Audi teams BRP, DreamDrive and Mars will also field a total of four Audi RS 3 LMS.
In the China GT Championship, GT3 points leader Wang Liang will be joined by 22-year-old Estonian sensation and Audi Sport customer racing driver pool member Martin Rump, who makes his first appearance in the championship this season. Rump, incredibly, will be on double duty for the team as he also lines up alongside Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup driver Naomi Zhang in an Audi R8 LMS GT4 for the category’s double-header. Also in the impressive KINGS line-up are reigning series champion Xu Jia, third on the GT3 leaderboard, and another driver pool star, Australian Mitch Gilbert, who makes his series debut for rounds three and four.
David Chen and Michael Choy lead the two-car Tianshi Racing Team entry, the pair second on the GT3 leaderboard after a strong opening double-header in Zhuhai earlier this month. Max Wiser and Billy Lo will be looking to get their GT3 campaign back on track after a challenging season opener.
In the GT Asia Series, held in a combined field with Thailand Super Series, multiple championship-winning team Absolute Racing will be on maximum attack with its triple Audi R8 LMS GT3 entry, including Audi Sport customer racing Asia driver pool member and former F1 development driver Adderly Fong and Vincent Floirendo. The strong Thai pairing at Singha Plan-B by Absolute Racing of Bhurit Bhirombhakdi, fresh from his back-to-back Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup victories at Germany’s Nürburgring earlier this month, and Kantasak Kusiri will be looking to continue on from their strong debut, which sees them third on the leaderboard. A third Audi Sport customer racing Asia driver pool star, a Cup mentor and China’s most successful circuit racer to date, Cheng Congfu, teams up with fellow countryman Sun Jingzu, a Cup podium finisher at the Nürburgring recently.
Amongst the Thailand Super Series field at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, leading local team B-Quik Racing strengthens its Super Car GTM+ team championship defence with the addition of Audi Sport factory driver and former DTM star Rahel Frey. Frey, also a mentor in the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup this season, joins Daniel Bilski behind the wheel of an Audi R8 LMS ultra in a Pro/Am pairing.