Reigning Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup champion Alessio Picariello will join forces with Chinese privateer Anthony Liu for Absolute Racing at the remaining four rounds of the Blancpain GT Series Asia from this weekend in Shanghai onwards. The pair join five more Audi Sport customer entries for the penultimate fixture on the 2018 calendar with rounds nine and ten at China’s Formula 1 circuit on September 22-23.
Absolute Racing teammates Andrew Kim of South Korea and official Audi Sport Asia driver and Cup mentor Adderly Fong join Picariello and Liu in the Pro/Am category, while Cheng Congfu and Martin Rump reunite in the Silver class. The Chinese and Estonian talents, both official Audi Sport Asia drivers, lie fourth in the overall standings after eight rounds with one victory to their names. Joining them in the category are OD Racing Team WRT’s Aditya Patel of India and Malaysian Mitch Gilbert.
KCMG’s Naoto Takeda and Takuya Shirasaka arrive in Shanghai with a 63-point lead at the top of the Am Cup standings. The Japanese pair have been virtually untouchable all season and can sew up the championship title with two class victories at the weekend. Making their series debut in Shanghai are Thai talent Bhurit Bhirombhakdi and China’s Sun Jingzu at Singha Plan-B by Absolute Racing. The duo are usually to be found locked in battle in the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup, where they are each championship contenders, but will join forces in Shanghai.
“As the season end approaches, it’s crunch time this weekend in Blancpain GT Series Asia. We expect a strong showing from our official Audi Sport Asia drivers in support of the customer teams. The Audi entries are well placed in their respective categories, it’s all still to play for,” said Martin Kuehl, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia. “With two cars from Phoenix Racing Asia fighting for the Super Taikyu Series title too in Japan, we once more see the healthy state of Asian motorsport on full display.”
Phoenix Racing Asia will be looking to continue what has been an impressive debut season in Japan’s Super Taikyu Series, where the team’s three GT3 squads currently lie third, fourth and fifth in the championship standings. Also the penultimate round of the 2018 season, the team enters a two-car assault on the Motegi Super Taikyu 5 Hour Race at the Twin Ring Motegi in Tochigi Prefecture on September 23.
Three of the four drivers who took a memorable podium finish for the #81 J-Fly Racing by Phoenix Racing Asia team at the Fuji 24 Hours earlier this season reunite at Motegi: Cup star Jeffrey Lee, Japan Super GT ace André Couto, and local hero Shintaro Kawabata. In the #83 Phoenix Racing Asia car are Singapore’s Lim Keong Wee, Melvin Moh of Malaysia and Le Mans 24 Hours LMP2 podium finisher Mathias Beche of Switzerland.