GT ASIA NEWS
Mission accomplished at Macau
Asia Racing Team driver and instructor Rodolfo Avila added a third consecutive Macau GT Cup finish to his racing résumé.
Driving a GTM class Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Avila knew from the beginning that he would not have a car to match the pace of the GT3 class frontrunners. He focused instead to get the best possible qualifying lap time to get into the race, which he did it in the first qualifying session on Friday, and to obtain the best possible place on his class.
Starting from GTM class second position on Sunday’s morning 12-lap race at the challenging and unforgiving Circuito da Guia, Avila finished fourth, after struggling with a brake issue from the second lap, being unable to convert his qualifying lap times into a class podium result.
Commenting on his race weekend, Avila said, "It was a great job by all the team and everyone has worked so hard all week. I just didn’t have the speed in the car. I did a good start to the race, but unfortunately by lap two we started having some handling problems and some brake issues so I decided to not take any unnecessary risk. I definitely wouldn’t have able to race without the support of Paradise Entertainment Ltd, LT Game, Waldo Casino, Casino Kam Pek Paradise, Casino Macau Jockey Club and Mr Steve Yin, who trusted me his car. To them, my sincere thanks and due appreciation."
Asia Racing Team and Rodolfo Avila expect to return to Macau Grand Prix next year with bigger ambitions.
Photo courtesy of Chi Wai
Li Chao takes two wins at Shanghai
At the Shanghai International Circuit, Asia Racing Team prepared JRM’s Porsche 911 GT3 R took two authoritative wins, making it four out four, in the Chinese GT series BOSS GP this season.
Following the supremacy showed on the first event of the series, the Beijing driver Li Chao dominance over weekend was never at risk. The JRM car did the pole-position on Saturday, being one second faster than the time of the second place starter.
A good start for Race 1 allowed Li Chao to keep the first place, and he quickly went on to build a healthy lead to the second place car. The race finished under safety car conditions after an early crash involving two backmarkers with Li Chao in the lead.
Driving in a class of his own, Li Chao took his 911 GT3 R to another crushing win in second race.
Asia Racing Team Pleased With the Strong Shanghai Pace
In partnership with Beijing’s JRM, 2013 Champions Asia Racing Team returned to GT Asia Series with a pair of strong finishes at Shanghai.
Having paced Thursday’s free practice, it was no surprise to see the Asia Racing Team-run #66 Porsche 911 GT3 R once again at the sharp end during that Friday’s qualifying sessions. The JRM duo of Zhang Da Sheng and Li Chao quickly got to grips to take an excellent third and a fine sixth place for the Round 10 and 11. After the superb performance in qualifying, the car was forced to carry a weight penalty of 50 kg for the races.
On Saturday’s 40-minute race, despite contact from an optimistic opponent at the first corner on his opening lap, Da Sheng maintained his strong qualifying pace and after a solid and consistent stint handed over to Li Chao in fifth position. Li Chao did an exceptional job keeping the Porsche out of trouble, despite understeer issues as a result of a missing dive-plane courtesy of the opening lap quarrel, grabbing an impressive overall fifth place.
Da Sheng said after his race, “The team worked hard overnight to make the car ready for today’s race. We measured up strongly against the competition and I am very happy with the result. As always I’d like to thank the team and Li Chao for their super efforts.”
On Sunday’s race, the JRM pair displayed again determination, maturity and speed in equal measure, capping an impressive weekend for the Asia Racing Team-run squad. Da Sheng and Li Chao crossed the line in fifth but were promoted to third overall due to post-race penalties given to the cars #9 and #97.
Team Manager Philippe Descombes, commented, “Considering our drivers GT experience and the quantity of factory supported teams in the series, it is fair to say the whole team did a great job over the weekend. Once again both the team and drivers focused all of their energy into operating at the highest level. That’s been reflected in the results. We can’t wait to get back out there and show what we can do.”
The final round of the GT Asia Series takes place at Macau on November 13/16. Asia Racing Team will run the #20 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Macau ace Rodolfo Avila.
Photo courtesy of Benny Luey
Back in Style
2013 GT Asia Series champions Asia Racing Team came back in style to GT racing, scoring a double victory in the kickoff of China GT series BOSS GP at the Shanghai International Circuit by supporting Team JR’s Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Facing a five-car Audi R8 armada, Li Chao, a full-time contender in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, made his "GT3" debut but adapted quickly to the German car. Starting from second on the grid for the openin race, Li Chao quickly move up to first, winning a Round 1 that finished under safety-car. Next day, he triumphed again in the 10-lap Round 2.
Asia Racing Team and Team JR return to Shanghai on October 10-12 for an assault on the GT Asia Series Chinese round.
Li 2013 GT Asia Series Champion
Asia Racing Team GT racer Li Zhi Cong has been crowned 2013 GT Asia Series champion after an eventful race at the Circuito da Guia, Macau. The 20-year old Chinese driver narrowly avoided a flying tyre got through an incident filled City of Dreams Macau GT Cup race in fifth overall, clinching the championship title.
Li was the first of the GT Asia Series competitors across the line in his Porsche 911 GT3-R. Championship rival Mok Weng Sun’s race ended early when the tyre that came off a crashed car hit into him just four corners into the start of the race.
After some electronic gremlins prevented Li to show his true pace in Qualifying 1, the Qualifying 2 did not went well to him too. The Mainland China driver qualified second of GT Asia Series peloton, just being his title rival and 2012 champion Mok Weng Sun.
On Sunday morning Li knew that he had to finish the 12-lap race in front of Mok Weng’s Mclaren if he wanted to celebrate his first international triumph. A huge pill up at San Francisco corner would decide the championship. Li managed to get away without damaging his car, bringing the Yumin Restaurant-sponsored 911 GT3-R home as first of GT Asia Series pack.
Reflecting on his championship win, Li said, “Before the race it did not look very good for me. I was lucky to escape the first lap accident. When I saw that Mok Weng was no longer a threat, I just focused myself in managing my race. I’m really pleased and it’s such a great achievement in my career. I want to thanks my family, my sponsors and the team for their continued support throughout the 2013 season.”
This was the first GT championship title for Asia Racing Team and the first ever for a Chinese Mainland driver overseas.
Photo courtesy of Cheung Chi Wai
Li retains AAMC Macau GT Cup championship
Chinese driver, Li Zhi Cong claimed his second AAMC Macau GT Cup Championship this year on his home circuit. It was an exceptional win in front of hundreds of his fans, who turned up to watch him win a race and claim the Championship during Round 10 of the GT Asia Series at Zhuhai International Circuit last month.
At just 20, the Asia Racing Team driver is the youngest full time entry for the GT Asia Series and he has always looked like he would put up a strong challenge for the Series Championship. Winning the AAMC Macau GT Cup is an added bonus after a very mixed performance on his and, his Asia Racing Team’s, home track. He also had the added pressure of racing alongside two-time Formula 1 World Champion, Mika Hakkinen.
The Associação Automóvel de Macau-China (AAMC) Macau GT Cup is a special award nomination for the top three drivers at the end of the six rounds held within GT Asia Series. Drivers collected points for the Championship from Rounds 5 to 10 of the GT Asia Series. These were the rounds held at the Fuji Speedway Circuit, Sepang International Circuit and Zhuhai International Circuit.
The AAMC Macau GT Cup is in its second year, as an integrated part of the GT Asia Series. The overall AAMC GT Championship Trophies will be presented in Macau GP weekend by AAMC as part of the GT Asia Championship award ceremony presentations.
Photo courtesy of Cheung Chi Wai
Li win net championship lead
Li Zhi Cong is back on the top step of the podium: the Asia Racing Team driver produced a flawless race in Zhuhai to win the tenth race of the GT Asia Series season, reclaiming the championship lead with one race to go.
The weekend started very well with Li Zhi Cong getting the pole in qualifying for Round 9 in front of drivers such as Earl Bamber, Stefan Mucke or the two times Formula 1 World Champion, Mika Hakkinen. He also managed to place his Porsche 911 GT3 R in third for Round 10.
The Saturday 50-minute race saw Li having an uninspired race start. The Guangzhou native dropped ten positions from first in less than ten minutes. A good second half of the race took to him 4th overall but Li has been hit with a 30-second time penalty for allegedly overtaking while yellow flags were out, dropping him down to 6th.
The best of the weekend was reserved for Sunday’s race. The 20 years old racer started on used tires losing one position before the compulsory pit-stop. An efficient pit-stop and new rubber enabled him to climb to second, where he would stay until the leading car came to a halt on the side of the track in the very last lap, opening the doors of the first step of the podium to the Chinese local hero.
Reflecting on taking the win Li said, “It’s been a great weekend for me here in Zhuhai and I am obviously very happy. Every victory is special and you have to fight very hard for them, but this track is also very special. It is like a home track for my team and me. I was very tense in the first race and I missed the opportunity to score more points. In the second race I struggled with old tires but once I got fresh tires I started pushing very hard and I managed a good pace.”
With one race to go, in the GT Asia Series Drivers’ Championship, Li moves up to first on 142 points after his six podium position this season, ahead of Mok Weng Sun (128) and Franck Yu (125).
Speaking about the challenge ahead, Li said, “Now I’m looking forward to Macau. I know it’s a very difficult race but for me it is a case of being smart, controlling the championship and stay 100% focussed and do the job. Last year I did a good result and I hope to do it again.”
Like in previous season, the season finale will be held as part of Macau GT Cup on November’s 60th Macau Grand Prix.
Photo courtesy of Cheung Chi Wai
Li Zhi Cong puts on a strong show
Li Zhi Cong landed a personal milestone at Sepang when he bagged a GT Asia Series pole-position for the first time in his career. The Asia Racing Team Guangzhou driver finished second in the first race of the weekend.
For the fourth event of the event Li Zhi Cong moved back to the 911 GT3 R MY 2013 cockpit and it worked well. Li stormed to set the fastest time during Qualifying 2 on his way to securing the pole-position for the second race of the weekend.
The 20-year-old started from fourth on the grid for the Race 1 and had a relatively quiet Saturday afternoon, staying clear of several incidents further down the field and following those ahead. The early pit-stop helped him to move to second, the position he finished the race.
Starting from the pole-position in the second race of the weekend, Li had lost the lead in the opening lap. The early pit-stop strategy did not go as well for the team. However, the Chinese driver managed to bring the car home in fourth.
Speaking about his weekend, Li said, “We didn’t have the fastest car, so I am happy with the overall result of the weekend. I am in the middle of a really tight fight for the championship title right now and that has to be my aim. I will be giving it everything for the rest of the season.”
The GT Asia Series cars are now on moving to the penultimate round in China at the Zhuhai International Circuit on 11th to 13th October.
Photo Courtesy of Cheung Chi Wai
Li Zhi Cong takes second at Fuji
It was a race weekend of mixed fortunes for the Asia Racing Team driver Peter Li Zhi Cong in Fuji, as the 20-year-old Chinese took his fourth podium of the GT Asia Series season in second place in Race 1, while he was harmed by the Safety-Car period in Race 2.
After the somehow disappointing experience with the Porsche 911 GT3 R 2013 spec at Okayama, the team decided to go back to the 2012 spec at Fuji. But the team was on the back foot ahead of the two 50-minute races, after Qualifying did not go according to plan. Li Zhi Cong could do no better than sixth and fourth. From that moment, the team knew that would need a good strategy in the races in order to be able to finish higher up the field.
On Saturday afternoon Li Zhi Cong did not have a good start but the Guangzhou native fought hard from eight. He started the race in sixth, lost two positions at the start, but made a steady climb through the battling field to claim a brilliant second place at the end of the race.
In Race 2 the deployment of a Safety-Car before the pit stop window was the key factor that cost a second podium to the team. Li had a strong race start and moved to second in the first lap before he eventually dropped to seventh after the pit stop. A 90 seconds compensation time pit-stop and the Safety-Car’s arrival on track before it shattered the chances of a better result.
Li now occupies the fourth position of the championship standings.
Speaking about his races, Li said, “I think we did a good job this weekend and the first thing is I would like to thank my team because before the weekend start they worked really hard to change the car for me. The Porsche has a good straight-line speed so I could catch with the cars in front of me fairly quickly. The car worked really well in the races and I am really happy to finish second in Race 1. It was pity that the Safety-Car came in as it did not help us in Race 2.”
Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, “Again there’s a case of mixed emotions for the team this weekend, we’re delighted with Peter’s performance to take another podium this season, but we know that we could have been fighting for the win in Race 2 if the Safety Car did not show up. We are still in title contention and we are looking forward the two races in Sepang.”
The GT Asia Series continues with Rounds 7 & 8 at Sepang International Circuit 13-15 September.
Photo courtesy of Henry Chan and AFOS.com
Li Zhi Cong back in the podium at Okayama
Li Zhi Cong went to Okayama as the man in form, but the switch from the Porsche 911 GT3-R 2012 spec to the 2013 spec didn’t help his objective to protect and enhance his points lead. He still made it on the podium in third place.
On Saturday the new Porsche didn’t performed amazingly well in the qualifying and Li Zhi Cong qualified 7th for the first race, bouncing back to qualify 3rd for the Race 2.
Still on Saturday, Li finished the Race 1 in fourth after fighting his way up the grid from seventh. The Asia Racing Team driver was still getting used to his new car and was still trying to find the most suitable set-up for the track, whilst getting used to the slightly different handling.
Race 2 saw Li showing a better pace and getting the lead after the compulsory pit-stop. The Guangzhou native had led the race until lap 20 but he couldn’t keep the position, ending up crossing the finish line in 3rd.
Speaking about his weekend at Okayama, a slightly frustrated Li Zhi Cong said, “It was my first time driving the latest GT3-R spec car and my first time in Okayama circuit. The car had a lot of understeer and the race was very tough on the tyres. It was frustrating because I couldn’t take the maximum out of the car during the whole weekend. But we hope that we will be able to do better in the next race and get the car faster, so its good. I have to keep an eye on the points situation, so driving smart was the right way to play it.”
Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, “It was our first time with the new GT3 R 2013 spec and we faced some issues finding the right set-up to suit the Yokohama tyres. The car went better and better as the weekend throughout the weekend. Peter still managed to get important points with a P4 and a podium in Race 2. Overall, the weekend was far from our expectations but we will bounce back in the next event.”
The next round of the GT Asia Series takes place at Fuji in Japan in two weeks. The reigning GT Asia Series first runner-up currently lies fourth in the championship standings.
Justice has been made!
Li Zhi Cong has won his appeal and has been reinstated as the winner of GT Asia Series Round 1 held at the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit, on 11th May 2013.
An Appeal hearing was held on the 4th of June at the Japan Automotive Federation to consider the appeal made by Li of Asia Racing Team regarding his disqualification.
The commission have discussed and agreed that the Drive-Through Penalty given during the race to Li was sufficient and have therefore overturned his disqualification, reinstating him as the winner of Round 1.
This means Li collects the 18 points for the win to lead the Championship going into Rounds 3 & 4 held at the Okayama International Circuit this 28-30 June.
Text Prepared by Motorsport Asia
Photo courtesy of Henry Chan and AFOS.com
Asia Racing Team’s Li Zhi Cong Victorious at Motegi
Asia Racing Team and Peter Li Zhi Cong left Twin Ring Motegi with a smile on their faces after a fabulous weekend in the 2013 GT Asia Series opening round. The 20 year old picked up a win and a second place to head towards the second meeting of the season, Okayama, in first place in the standings.
Saturday’s Qualifying saw the Guangzhou native qualifying on the front row for both races. Li Zhi Cong was only bettered by Aston Martin Racing factory driver Stefan Muecke (Aston Martin) in Qualifying 1, and by GT Asia Series champion Mok Weng Sun (McLaren) in Qualifying 2.
The start of Race 1 happened under treacherous conditions on Saturday afternoon. Throughout the race, the shower was constant, sending sprays throughout the track making visibility low and causing most of the grid to be cautious in the first few laps to avoid incidents. Li kept his position and managed to follow Muecke until the compulsory pit-stop.
As the pit-stop window opened, Li had to serve a drive-through penalty for having outside assistance when his Porsche 911 GT3 R clutch decided not to cooperate. But the young Chinese did not give up. Driving on his limits he took less than 15 minutes to overtake the three cars in front of him, and proceed to pull away from the field to bag his first win of the season
Speaking about Race 1, Li said “after taking the drive through, I dropped to fourth but I had a good pace and managed to catch up and slowly took the Audi and then the Lamborghini and the Mclaren for first. It was a really good race and I really would like to thank my team that gave me a competitive car and my family for this.”
Starting from P2 for the Race 2, Li had a clean race start, and quickly moved up to first position. The Yumin Restaurant and Pakelo Lubricants sponsored driver would stay there until the compulsory pit-stop but an extra 10-second compensation time for winning Saturday’s race sent him out of the pit lane just behind Hisao Shigeta.
Li was unable to find a way past Shigeta and finally got overtaken by Muecke. Li would benefit from Shigeta’s mistake with four laps to go to earn the second place. The Guangdong Province born Li claimed that Motegi was a good day at the office however and that perhaps his rivals should fear him even more for the rest of the season.
Peter said: “We wanted to have a good weekend to start the season and we certainly did by clinching a victory and a second place. This was my first time in this track and we were not expecting so much. I feel that I learnt a lot last year. I am more confident now and I know that I can trust my team to give me a fast car. I am looking forward to the next races.”
Team Manager Philippe Descombes added “I’m so pleased for Peter and the whole team who have put in a great effort this weekend. Peter drove a flawless race despite a lot of pressure from his opponents. He has really impressed us not only with his pace in qualifying but also with the way he handled himself in both races. We showed this weekend that we are still very be competitive and we just have to focus on doing our job.”
The next races of the GT Asia Series will be held in six weeks time, from 28th to 30th June, at Okayama.
Photo courtesy of Henry Chan and AFOS.com
Li Zhi Cong stays with Asia Racing Team for 2013
Chinese racer Li Zhi Cong will continue for a second season with Asia Racing Team for an assault on the 2013 GT Asia Series title. The Yumin Restaurant backed driver had a successful 2012 season taking nine podiums including three brilliant wins at Sepang, Suzuka and Macau.
Li Zhi Cong, who was a single seater regular, will stay with Asia Racing Team after enjoying a promising rookie year. The 20 year-old Guangzhou native showed his racing skills throughout his first GT Asia Series season, with his maiden win coming at the second event of the 2012 calendar at the Sepang circuit. Within a month of claiming his first GT win, Asia Racing Team’s Li Zhi Cong earned his first trophy by winning the AAMC Macau GT Cup Championship during Round 6 of the GT Asia Series in Fuji, Japan.
The Chinese young driver clinched the third win of the 2012 season in GT Asia Series by finishing sixth place overall in Macau GT Cup. Thanks to this result, he finished second in GT Asia Series drivers’ standings and was the first Mainland Chinese to stood in the highest step of the Macau Grand Prix podium.
For the second consecutive season Li Zhi Cong will be driving a Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Speaking about the upcoming season, Li Zhi Cong said, “I’m really looking forward to staying with Asia Racing Team for my second year in GT Asia Series. The competition will be fierce with the arrival of many pro drivers but my goal for the season is to win the 2013 championship. I have a great team around me at Asia Racing Team who I believe can help me to achieve this ambition.”
Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, “We are delighted to have Li Zhi Cong (Peter) back on board with us for a second season in GT racing. Having made the big step up from single seater, Peter really developed as a GT driver last year and he is now a consistent front-runner. With the experience of a year in GT, we expect Peter to be a genuine championship challenger from the outset.”
The 2013 GT Asia Series will start the season for the first time in Japan at the famed Motegi Circuit. From there the Series remains in Japan competing at the Okayama and Fuji Circuits before heading to Malaysia for Rounds 7 & 8 at Sepang. The Series will mark a return to China with a visit to Zhuhai Circuit, where its races were held as a club race. The Series will once again hold its Championship ender as part of the main race weekend at Guia Circuit for the legendary Macau Grand Prix this 14-17 November.
Zhuhai 500km: Dominant pace goes unrewarded
Last weekend Zhuhai International Circuit hosted the 3rd edition of the Zhuhai 500 km endurance race. Amongst the new teams using this meeting as their first endurance race experience was Asia Racing Team. Singapore’s Vignesa Moorthy, Macau’s Rodolfo Avila and France’s Philippe Descombes took part in the race, driving the #73 ViewQwest Radical SR8.
The race weekend got off the right foot. Avila posted the quickest lap time in the single Free Practice session and grabbed pole position after setting a scorching lap of 1 minutes 32.526 seconds in the Qualifying, which was more than one second quicker than team’s next best challenger.
As part of team’s strategy for the 3-hour race, Avila was nominated to do the start. The Portuguese-born driver started off strong and I led the race for most of the first forty-five minutes. He also set the best lap time of 1:34.133 seconds in the process.
Unfortunately the car’s reliability could not ultimately match its pace-setting performance and Asia Racing Team was forced to withdraw from the race right after the first pit stop. Second stint driver Descombes did not manage to complete a single lap as the car stopped suddenly on T11 with an alternator failure.
Team Manager and race returnee, Descombes, said “We all knew from the beginning that it would be hard to win today but it’s disappointing to end the race like this because we had a chance for a podium. It was our first endurance race experience and we learnt a lot from this so we will try to take that forward.”
2012 Malaysian Super Series champion and car owner Vignesa Moorthy, added “Despite not finishing the race, it was still a great experience for everyone. We had a lot of fun and I hope to come back next year!”
Li crowned 2012 GT Asia Series vice champion after win at Macau
72,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) at the Circuito da Guia saw a thrilling GT Asia Series season finale and an impressive performance by Asia Racing Team driver Li Zhi Cong. The Chinese young driver clinched the third win of the 2012 season in GT Asia Series by finishing sixth place overall in Macau GT Cup.
Knowing in advance of his slim chances of being champion, Li gritted his teeth and brought his Porsche 911 GT3 R across the finish line as winner. The Guangzhou native started from P9 overall and second of GT Asia Series competitors but he was keen to win. The 19-year old “rookie of the year” managed to grab the first position on lap 4 when he took his rival by surprise at Mandarin Oriental bend.
Once at the front, Li cruised uncontested to his third GT Asia Series win of the season. Thanks to this result, he finished second in GT Asia Series drivers’ standings and was the first Mainland Chinese to stood in the highest step of the Macau Grand Prix podium.
Starting 22nd on the grid, teammate Keith Chan had a flawless race wherein he made good use of the Porsche speed in the straight lines and emerged out as 18th. Local hero Rodolfo Avila, who had struggled with engine limitations during the whole weekend, finished the race in 24th.
Quotes from the Asia Racing Team drivers after the race at Macau.
Li Zhi Cong (#9 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup): “I am very happy and would like to thank Asia Racing Team for a job well done. I have been improving throughout the weekend. In the race I took Mok at Mandarin and he was a gentleman, he didn’t block me. After that I just kept the car on the track and followed the front-runners. This race went well and after the mistake that I made in the last race in Autopolis, losing 10 points so I cant win the Championship but maybe next year.”
Keith Chan (#11 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup): “My assessment after the first race with a Porsche 911 GT3 R is very positive. The car is very different to drive compared to the Lamborghini I drove here last year. The teamwork is fantastic, the guys support me. I was not really in racing mood this weekend and the race had ups and downs but basically I pulled through and achieved my goal.”
Rodolfo Avila (#20 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup): “You could tell that we were lacking pace. We struggled from the first free practice with lack power. In the race I fought hard for positions but there is no way I could keep up with the GT3 cars in the long straights of Guia circuit. Hope to be back in Macau with a winner car next time.”
Photo @ Renato Marques
Star Line-Up for Asia Racing Team at Macau Grand Prix
Asia Racing Team will run a trio of Porsche 911s in the 2012 Macau GT Cup at the 59th Macau Grand Prix.
Chinese driver and 2012 AAMC Trophy winner Li Zhi Cong will remain at the team for the GT Asia Series grand season finale, with Hong Kong’s Keith Chan and 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia vice-champion Rodolfo Avila joining him.
Three years after his first appearances in the streets of Macau with a single seater, Li Zhi Cong returns to Circuito da Guia but now driving a Porsche 911 GT3 R. Li Zhi Cong now lies second on the championship leaderboard heading into November’s season finale held as part of the Macau GT Cup.
Keith Chan will take the seat of Sasha Chu, who raced in GT Asia Series events at Fuji and Autopolis, in his Porsche 911 GT3 R. The Hong Kong Gentleman Driver never raced a 911 GT3-R but he tested the car during the winter at Zhuhai.
The third driver is the well-known Rodolfo Avila from Macau. Supported by StarWorld Hotel the local hero will be driving a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, the same model he has been driving in the past three seasons in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.
Quotes from Asia Racing Team camp:
Philippe Descombes (Team Manager): “There’s no place like home when it comes to racing. We visit some fantastic venues all over Asia, but the opportunity to race on home asphalt is a special one. We are really happy to present the best line-up of drivers we’ve ever had in Macau GT Cup. Li and Keith will be driving the 911 GT3-R for the first time in Guia circuit but Rodolfo brings all his track “know-how” and experience to the team. I am convinced that this driver combination will work pretty well.”
Li Zhi Cong (#9 Porsche 911 GT3 R): “I am really happy to be back in Macau. It is one of the most challenging circuits in the world but my priority for the weekend will be the GT Asia Series drivers’ championship title hunt. As only Chinese driver in the series, I will do my best to honor my country.”
Keith Chan (#11 Porsche 911 GT3 R): “This will be my second time in Macau and I’m thrilled to once again have the chance of racing in Guia circuit. With this year’s race being more demanding than previous editions, I hope to improve on last year’s result.”
Rodolfo Avila (#20 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup): “It’s fantastic to be back driving with Asia Racing Team and to return to my home race with local support and sponsorship of StarWorld Hotel. With this car I will be unable to match the pace of the front-runners but I have a chance in GTM class and I’ll do my best to be the quickest.”
StarWorld Hotel Fully Supports Asia Racing Team racer Rodolfo Avila
StarWorld Hotel today proudly announced an exclusive sponsorship of Rodolfo Avila, the youngest-ever Asian Supercar Challenge Champion, for his participation in the upcoming GT Cup race at the 59th Macau Grand Prix. The design of Rodolfo’s race car was unveiled during the press conference at the hotel’s Whisky Bar, which offers a breath-taking panoramic view of the grand prix circuit.
Mr Gabriel Hunterton, Chief Operating Officer of StarWorld Hotel, said, ‘StarWorld Hotel, as part of the Galaxy Entertainment Group (“GEG”), is keen on supporting the development of local motorsports. In the upcoming Macau Grand Prix, we are delighted to sponsor a well-known Macau driver, Rodolfo Ávila, who has been raised and developed his motorsports career in Macau for many years. His continuous pursuit of excellence made him the youngest-ever “Asian SuperCar Challenge Champion”. On behalf of StarWorld Hotel, I sincerely wish the best of luck to Rodolfo in the upcoming race.’
As a responsible corporate citizen, GEG has rendered great support to a variety of international sports events, including Macau International Marathon, Macau FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix and Macau Grand Prix, as part of its efforts to assist Macau to become the World Center of Tourism and Leisure.
Avila joined Mr Hunterton to unveil the design of his race car at the ceremony. He said, “I am very proud to represent Macau in the upcoming Macau Grand Prix. With decades of history, the race has become a significant part of Macau culture. I would like to thank StarWorld Hotel for their support to me and in local sports development. I truly treasure this opportunity and hope that through this collaboration we can further promote our city to a global audience.”
Avila has grown up and acquired his professional racing car training locally in Macau. His passion for professional car racing has taken him on the road to success. In 2002, he made history as the youngest driver to take part in the Macau Grand Prix. Subsequently, he continued to break records in international races, including becoming the youngest driver to win the ASCC championship in 2008, the first Macau driver and youngest race winner in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in 2009 as well as the vice-champion of Porsche Carrera Cup Asia vice in 2011.
Avila will drive a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entered by Asia Racing Team.
Li Zhi Cong secures a podium finish on a rough weekend at Autopolis
Li Zhi Cong has put Asia Racing Team back on the podium in the GT Asia Series Rnd 9 & 10 at Japan’s 4.673km Autopolis International Circuit, but the young Chinese racer title hopes are now slim after not finishing the first race of the weekend.
Due to the rough weather conditions caused by typhoon Jelawat, the GT Asia Series organizers have decided on Saturday to bring forward the two races scheduled for the weekend. The scheduled Qualifying session ended up being replaced with Round 9, and Sunday’s Round 10 race was brought forward to Saturday, replacing Round 9. This unexpected change of schedule forced a change in the team’s strategy for the weekend.
Team Manager Philippe Descombes explained, “Obviously, the decision to cancel the qualifying and anticipate the races did not help us. Li did not take part in Thursday’s two-hour testing session so he was left with the two Free Practice sessions on Friday to learn the track. Autopolis is very technical track, and complicated to master in an hour.”
The Asia Racing Team drivers lined up 7th and 14th on Saturday morning grid, for a wet race that was started behind the safety car.
Race 1 took place under treacherous conditions, and the few spectators saw Li fighting hard to take as many points as possible. The youngest driver in the series quickly moved up to 5th but his race abruptly ended when he tried an overtaking maneuver on the inside of the Ford GT3 of Frank Yu on lap 10 at turn 11, ending up on the gravel and bringing out the safety car until the last lap of the race.
Meanwhile series returnee Sasha Chu started at a steady pace without taking risks and focused his efforts on reaching the finish. The Hong Kong driver crossed the finish line in 10th.
With not much to lose, Li had a spectacular Race 2 start, finishing third after starting the race at the back of the grid. The Guangzhou native was already behind biggest rival in title race in third midway through the opening lap, a position he held all the way to the end of the race.
Teammate Chu did not take part of the second heat.
Speaking about his weekend, Li said, “It was not a good weekend for me in Autopolis, but I leant a lot about driving in the wet. I want to thanks my team and my driver coach for all their hard work under this weather conditions. Next race will be in Macau and as only Chinese driver in the series, I will do my best to honour my country.”
Descombes, added, “It was not an easy weekend for us. First Li lost the Thursday testing, and then Saturday’s Qualifying was cancelled. In Race 1 he was too brave trying to overtake Frank, and in Race 2 he did the best he could have done. Mathematically we can still be champions, but now its out of our hands. The pressure is on at every single race but we still try to raise our level for Macau. Obviously we will have a lot of supporters there and we want to give them something they can be proud of, which gives us extra motivation.”
Li Zhi Cong now lies second on the championship leaderboard heading into November’s season finale held as part of the Macau GT Cup at the 59th Macau Grand Prix with eleven points down to Mok Weng Sun (Ferrari).
Photo courtesy of Benny Luey for afos.com
Li Zhi Cong takes a stunning victory at Suzuka
Li Zhi Cong completed a superb weekend in Suzuka last Sunday, with his second win of the 2012 GT Asia Series championship. The young Chinese - who was 8th in the starting grid - stormed through the field in his Porsche 911 GT3 R prepared by Asia Racing Team to take a dramatic win in the second race of the weekend.
The Guangzhou native arrived in Suzuka with 80 kg handicap weight onboard and any knowledge of the track. Qualifying didn’t go smoothly as Li was only 6th in Qualifying One. The 19 year-old-driver improved his lap time in Qualifying Two but he overtook on yellow flags and got penalised, dropping three places on the Race 2 grid.
On Saturday afternoon Li picked up good points by finishing 4th in GT Asia Series Rnd 7, despite a drive-through penalty for pit-stop infringement. After a good getaway, Li managed to climb to the third position but the compulsory pit-stop was 0.2 of a second too short and the Asia Racing Team driver was penalized, and relegated to 4th.
But this is not time to give up. As the lights went out for Race 2 Li made an impressive start, and moved up to fifth. The Yumin Restaurant sponsored Porsche kept the strong pace and soon it was fighting for the lead. Li displayed his resilience and perseverance to overtake his opponent and win again.
Reflecting on his win, Li said, “The weekend was very hard for me because I had penalties in Race 1 and during the Qualifying. From Saturday race to Sunday race we removed 30 kg of weight so I got a better top speed and better performance. We have three races to go and I never raced in Autopolis. But I’ll keep pushing harder all the time and working with the team to achieve the best.”
Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, "We were very unlucky in the Race 1 pit stop. We got a drive through because we went less than 1 second too quickly out of the pit. It cost us a heap of time and a podium position. Li was great in Race 2. He made full advantage of a sensational start and a good move at the first corner, and then he managed his race perfectly. The fight for the championship will be very close until the last race and every point counts.”
Li currently leads the Championship by seven points to Mok Weng Sun (Ferrari 458 GT3).
The GT Asia Series will continue with Rounds 9 & 10 held at the Autopolis International Circuit on 28-30 September before heading to be a part of the Macau Grand Prix at the Circuito da Guia for the Series’ Season Finale on 16-18 November.
Photo courtesy of Henry Chan for afos.com
Li Zhi Cong wins the AAMC Macau GT Cup
Within a month of claiming his first GT win, Asia Racing Team’s Li Zhi Cong earned his first trophy by winning the AAMC Macau GT Cup Championship during Round 6 of the GT Asia Series in Fuji, Japan.
The 18 year old driver from Mainland China, who is in his first year of GT racing, completed the first six rounds of the season for Asia Racing Team in the Porsche 997 GT3 R to five podium finishes including one win.
Reflecting on his first trophy as GT driver, Li Zhi Cong said: “I am really happy for this achievement and I want to thanks my team for their support. This is my first season racing a GT car and I’m learning loads every weekend at the track. We have three GT Asia races to go and they all offer the same points as the first three races of the year, so nothing has really changed too much. Just got to go out there and do my best.”
Team Manager Philippe Descombes, added: “For us, GT Asia Series is our main goal this season but this trophy holds a special meaning for us as Macau team. Li Zhi Cong has put in a fantastic performance so far. He seized the momentum early on in the season with a string of top results and has been consistent ever since. He has coped brilliantly well with some strong competition and is a worthy AAMC GT Cup winner.”
With an enviable reputation across the continent, this is the first time Asia Racing Team has won a competition organized by the team’s ASN; the Associação Geral Automóvel de Macau-China (AAMC).
Beginning in May, the six-round AAMC Macau GT Cup started off at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia. The Cup was integrated as part of the GT Asia Series where the season finale of the 11-round Championship will be held at the prestigious Macau’s Guia Circuit as part of the increasingly popular Macau GT Cup.
The AAMC Macau GT Cup is a special award nomination for the top three drivers at the end of Round 6. The overall AAMC GT Championship Trophies will be presented in Macau GP weekend by AAMC during the GT Asia Series Annual Award Presentation Ceremony or during the Macau Grand Prix Sunday Party.
Li Zhi Cong extends lead at Fuji
A fourth and a second place finish in the fifth and sixth round of the GT Asia Series at Fuji has kept Asia Racing Team rising star Li Zhi Cong in the lead of the Drivers’ Championship. Hong Kong racer Sacha Chu made a solo comeback in Japan.
Saturday’s Qualifying ended without surprises. The most-ballasted car on the grid, the #9 Yumin Restaurant Porsche 911 GT3 R, qualified P5 for Saturday’s Race 1 and P6 for Sunday’s Race 2. Teammate Sasha Chu meanwhile qualified sixteenth twice.
Li had an interesting outing, managing to climb to third from fifth at the first corner at the start of the Race 1. Then he maintained his position all the way to the pit-stop session, after which he made a mistake and spun the car at turn 7 dropping down to fifth. The Guangzhou native just never gave up and got back the fourth place towards the end.
Chu had a much less eventful race than Li, and enjoyed a reasonably comfortable ride to sixteenth.
Race 2 saw Li having a little touch with Shigeta at the start. With 70kg less weight in the second race, Li quickly moved up to second overall before the compulsory pit stop. Another astonishing performance of Asia Racing Team pit crew would let Li in the first place. The battle for the victory was as exciting as it could possibly get and the previous race leader hit Li’s 911 GT3 R. Fortunately he rejoined in P3 and managed to get second right at the end of the race.
Reflecting on the race weekend, Li Zhi Cong said, “It was my first time at Fuji and I didn’t have much sessions to test the car. I am very happy to go back home leading the drivers’ championship with five trophies in my bag. The Race 2 was good and exciting. I learnt a lot from it, especially how to handle the GT cars in the wet.”
Team Manager Philippe Descombes, added, “Not a bad weekend at all. We arrived in Fuji with the maximum success ballast and 30 kg extra from the new BOP, making the car heavier by 150 kg. It was hard to find the right setup for qualifying and we had to do a few changes to make the car suit Li’s driving style. We were nine points ahead going into this event, and we left Fuji with 13 points in the lead.”
Chu did not finish the Race 2 as he was black flagged for a pit stop window infringement.
Li now leads the Championship, heading into the last three events with a 13-point lead. The next races of the GT Asia Series will be held in four weeks time, from 17th to 19th August 2012, at Suzuka.
Photo courtesy of Henry Chan
Asia Racing Team enters a second car in Fuji
Last season regular Sasha Chu will be back in the GT Asia Series with Asia Racing Team. The Hong Kong “gentleman driver” will be teaming up with his fellow countryman Keith Chan in the third event of the season at the Fuji International Speedway. They will share driving duties in the #11 Pioneer Absolute Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Chu and Chan are not newcomers in the team. Chu, who finished 7th in the 2011 GT Asia Series, competed for Asia Racing Team last year, and Chan, who raced in the GTM class, was one of the first participants of Asia Racing Team’s Formula Renault One-Day Intensive Course in Zhuhai circuit back in 2008.
The pair tested the car at Sepang in June and was pleased with the results.
Looking ahead to the remaining 2012 races Team Manager Philippe Descombes, commented, "Sasha has been part of our GT squad from the start so it is good to have him back in the team. 2011 was a good learning curve for him and for the Japan races he will line up with one of the most promising drivers in GTM class last year. It will be the first time that Keith races with us but his testing lap times were very competitive, he gave us good feedback and he was well under control the whole time."
After four thrilling races, the GT Asia Series will be back in action at the Fuji International Speedway from July 14-15 as part of a Formula Nippon weekend.
Photo by Henry Chan
Li Zhi Cong Storms To Victory at Sepang
Li Zhi Cong took his first win of the season this weekend, in round four of the 2012 GT Asia Series at the Sepang International Circuit. The Chinese racer stole the race lead from Hiseo Shigeta (Porsche) and broke away from the field to remain unchallenged for the remainder of the race, taking the lead of the drivers’ championship standings by eight points.
The race weekend started well for the team. The Asia Racing Team armada put on a strong performance on Friday’s Qualifying for the Sepang Super GT Support Race weekend, the second event of the GT Asia Series, with Li on front row for Race 1 and in 3rd place for Race 2.
Race 1 saw Li line up second on the grid for a race long battle for a podium position. The #9 Yumin Restaurant Porsche 911 GT3 R ran second most of the race, losing the place when the Guangzhou driver got caught up in the traffic in the very last lap. In the end of the race Li was not totally happy with his third place and race performance. “I may have made some mistakes in the pit, at the stop, which made me lose about three to four seconds allowing the guys in the back to catch up”, he said.
The best of the weekend was yet to come in Race 2. Starting from third on the grid Li made a pass on Mok Weng Sun (Ferrari) for second place early on in the race into the first corner. He was the last to pit, and came out in the lead, and held until the chequered flag to take his first win of the season.
Reflecting on his first ever GT racing win, Li said, “The team did a great job this weekend. They played the right strategy and it paid off. In Race 2 I had good tyres and I managed to be quick. I improved a lot this weekend and I am looking forward to the races in Japan.”
Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, “It was a great weekend for Peter (Li Zhi Cong) and for everyone in the team. The cars performed well and we stayed consistent throughout the event. I take my hat off to Peter. He was brilliant in both races. We still have to manage how to take the maximum out of every run in qualifying but this weekend he showed maturity and speed. He was aggressive when he had to, and yet be conservative when needed.”
The GT Asia Series will now take a month break, with the racing action resuming in earnest at Fuji in Japan, for the Super GT support event, which will take place 13-15 July 2012.
Photo by Cheung Chi Wai
Double Podium Finish For Li Zhi Cong at Sepang
Asia Racing Team’s Li Zhi Cong secured a double podium finish in the opening rounds of the 2012 GT Asia Series in Sepang this weekend. The Chinese rookie driver currently holds second in the Drivers’ standings just one point adrift from the Championship lead.
The 18 year old steered his Porsche 911 GT3 R onto the track with the necessary dose of enthusiasm and speed, putting in a strong effort on his first visit to the challenging F1 circuit with a GT car, qualifying fourth for both weekend races.
The youngest driver of the field made a competitive start to the season on Saturday morning, taking an impressive second place finish. Race One on Saturday saw Li line up in fourth place. Making a flying start, Li was up to P2 by the end of lap one. The Guangzhou native was unlucky to lose one place off the compulsory pit stop however was quickly keen to retake the position, lining himself up tightly to the second place after a deft overtaking maneuver.
Race Two saw Li Zhi Cong losing one position at the start. He quickly regained the place and by the midway point he was up to the second spot and threatening the race-leader. But the arrival of the safety car was mistimed for Li, ultimately costing him one position. He still managed to take third in the race.
Speaking after the two eventful races, Li commented on a challenging weekend, “in Race One I had a good start and was up to second. The team gave me a good car and I managed to keep my position. My Race Two was undermined by the safety car’s arrival on-track but overall I am happy because my driving improved this weekend and the laptimes were consistent. Coming into the weekend I was just a rookie without any GT experience so its fantastic to come away with one point adrift from the Championship lead.”
Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, “we arrived in Sepang with only two days of testing and Peter (Li Zhi Cong) showed a remarkably quick adaptation to GT driving. His first weekend was great as he notched up a great second place on his first GT race. We had a good chance to win in Race Two as he was easily catching up the race-leader Ferrari. Unfortunately the safety car played a really big part in the Sunday race but third is still a great result for everyone in the team. We need to keep pushing though and try and replicate these good results in two weeks.”
Li Zhi Cong lies second in the Drivers’ standings. The Yumin Restaurant sponsored driver therefore also holds the second position in the recently announced AAMC Macau GT Cup.
The GT Asia Series will remain in Malaysia for Rounds 3 & 4 as part of the Super GT event from 8-10 June.
Photo by Ying Ching Heng for afos.com
Li Zhi Cong joins Asia Racing Team for GT Asia Series
Asia Racing Team will mark its return to GT Asia Series with a new driver for the 2012 Season. China’s Li Zhi Cong, who raced for Asia Racing Team in single seater last season, will drive his Porsche 911 GT3 R in the full series.
The 18-years old Cong started racing karting at twelve and moved on to Light Weight Sports Car Challenge in 2008, before competing in Asian Formula Renault championship. In 2009 the Guangzhou native did also an one-off incursion on Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship, before representing Asia Racing Team for the first time in 2010. In 2011 he competed in the Formula Pilota China and was third of the Asian category after claiming two overall podiums, but now he has a whole new challenge ahead of him.
Speaking about the upcoming season after shaking the car down at Zhuhai, the Chinese racer sponsored by Yumin Restaurant said, “I’m really pleased to be returning to a team I know and to be working with some of the people I built up such a good relationship since 2010. GT Racing is a whole new world for me and a season of firsts in a whole new way. But I’m sure that if we continue to work hard during the season, we have a very good chance of challenging for the top positions. Our pace in testing has left me confident for the start of the season and I can’t wait for the first race.”
Asia Racing Team is determined to build on last year successes and to continue its tradition of promoting the very best of Chinese driving talents onto the international racing scene. The Macau Zhuhai based team believes that the GT Asia Series is the Asia’s most competitive sportscar platform and provides an excellent showcase for drivers and their sponsors.
“Li Zhi Cong is very well known to the team and I’m delighted to welcome him back for a season. Last season was our first season with the GT3-R. Eddie Yau and Sasha Chu have delivered some excellent performances which have helped the team move forward and develop,” explained Team Manager Philippe Descombes. “Li Zhi Cong proved in the pre-season testing he could adapt quickly to the demands of driving a GT car. As he has worked with the team before, this should allow us to get up to speed right from the start of the season.”
The GT Asia Series will head to five venues over six race weekends completing a total of 11 Rounds, with the Season Opener being scheduled for 25-27 May.
A weekend of emotions in Macau
2011 GT Asia Series came to a conclusion on 58th Macau Grand Prix. It was a shocking weekend for Asia Racing Team despite the good results of Macau’s Keith Vong and Hong Kong’s Sasha Chu.
Focus on the Championship, Eddie Yau qualified fourth of the GT Asia Series participants and eleventh overall. Teammate Sasha Chu started from 26th place. Local driver Keith Vong qualified as the second best of GTM class entries and took the thirteenth spot on Sunday’s grid.
On Sunday morning the start of the race went exactly according to plan. Yau made a good clean start and got into the top 3 of the GT Asia Series drivers, followed closely by Vong. Meanwhile Chu was picking up some spots. But everything changed on lap three.
Caught out by oil on the track from Akihiro Tsuzuki’s Audi, Yau hit the Armco coming in to the same turn, bouncing across the track and into the barrier opposite before coming to a stop in the middle of the track. The next few cars managed to get through without contact, but John Shen’s Ferrari came into the turn too fast hitting the outside barrier and bouncing into the stationery ABSOLUTE PIONEER Porsche 911 GT3 R.
It was a massive impact, but fortunately the strength of the Porsche prevented Yau from sustaining any injuries.
Vong managed to pass intact through the Mandarin corner chaos, even if he was slightly hit from behind by an opponent. Vong’s crew repaired the damage during the red flag period and he had done a great job, fending off the quicker GT3-spec machinery until the chequered flag. “Finally I had luck this season. I am proud of doing well in front of my hometown and I’m very happy with 2min36s lap time I did”, said the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia regular.
Chu also avoided the accident and kept his steady pace over the remaining seven laps, crossing the finish line 16th overall, collecting points of a third place in GT Asia Series, his best score of the season.
From the start of the year, Eddie Yau has been in the top five of the points table collecting seven podium finishes and before the race he was only 2 points shy of the second position driver. In the end, Yau was third and his teammate Chu seventh in the GT Asia Series as Asia Racing Team finished second in Teams’ Championship.
Said Asia Racing Team’s Team Manager Philippe Descombes: “We’ve come away with far more than we expected, and sitting 3rd in the Championship standings is a reward for the hard work, determination and commitment the team and the drivers have put into this season. It was not the end of season we wanted but today, the most important thing is Eddie is fine and got away with no injuries.”
Photo @ Cheung Chi Wai
ART’s strong pace goes unrewarded at Autopolis
Eddie Yau and Asia Racing Team experienced an unjust race weekend at Autopolis as the Hong Kong driver and championship title contender was taken out when was leading the Race 1. Teammate Sasha Chu did in Autopolis his two best overall results of the season so far.
Even with 100 kg of “Success Weight Ballast“ handicap Yau showed his intent early, qualifying in the 4th position on Saturday for both races. Meanwhile Chu placed his Porsche 911 GT3 R twice on the fifth row.
Race 1 saw the #72 ABSOLUTE PIONEER climbing one position before the pit stops. Yau’s well-timed pit stop allowed him to leave the pit lane ahead of race leader. With two laps to go, and seeing victory on the horizon, Yau was punted off in the hairpin. His opponent got a “stop & go” for “avoidable accident” but Yau’s destiny was to retire in the pits, ruining his chances of becoming champion.
He said of the incident and the race, “throughout the race I had a really good pace. I passed Tunku and unfortunately for Mok he had a drive through and I passed him too. Dilantha was giving me a lot of pressure, he followed me for a few laps and I was watching him very carefully. I didn’t think he had any way to pass me. I don’t feel it was fair for him to do that, the last two or three laps. You know, if you can’t find a way to pass somebody, you can’t pass him. Not by hitting him out, so…”
Chu had a less eventful race but the #11 PIONEER ABSOLUTE’s 911 GT3 R had an interesting duel with a Lamborghini. Chu was strongest in the last laps and crossed the finish line in 8th overall.
Despite the huge set back Yau did not give up on his Race 2 and managed to leave Autopolis with a podium finish. The Asia Racing Team driver quickly grabbed the 3rd position and then maintained his pace despite the charges from an opponent.
“The tyres didn’t last very long, by the first few laps it was gone. I was following David for a while, and had a good time behind him but I couldn’t find a way past. Then after I got my rhythm back it was too late already” said Yau.
Chu held his 9th position at the start and he kept fighting in the middle of the pack throughout the 40-min race. In the end of an admirable race exceeding several rivals, Chu emerged 8th overall, securing important points for the championship.
Reflecting about the race weekend, Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, “It was very unfair for Eddie to be taken from the race that way. Although Eddie’s gap to the leaders in the standings is large we’ll continue to give everything as long as Eddie still got mathematical chances of becoming champion. Once again we saw Sasha improving his pace and we are glad to see that he is going to take the challenge of racing in the Macau Grand Prix.”
Heading into the last race of the season, Yau is now 3rd in Drivers’ championship Standings and Chu lies on 9th. Asia Racing Team is currently second in the Teams’ Standings.
The GT Asia Series continues in Macau on 17-20 November 2011 for the Season Finale during the 58th Macau Grand Prix.
Photo by Benny Luey for afos.com
Eddie Yau takes the lead at Suzuka
Asia Racing Team’s Eddie Yau kept his GT Asia Series title challenge on track at Suzuka with two solid second-place finishes. He is now leading the championship by three points. Teammate Sasha Chu endured a tough debut weekend in the famous Japanese circuit.
In Qualifying 1 Yau was the fourth with the fastest lap in the 15-minute session at 2:08.421 and the sister No. 11 Porsche was fifteenth quickest. In Qualifying 2, Yau improved his lap-time and set a 2:08.115, lining up third for the Race 2. Teammate Chu also improved, qualifying thirteenth.
In Race 1 Yau had a brilliant start, pushing past the Lamborghini LP560 of Dilantha Malagamuwa at the start. The Hong Kong native was immediately alongside the Ferrari F458 of Mok Weng Sun into turn 1 and almost took second place before giving a clean path for Mok to keep his position into turn 2. The Ferrari was penalized later on with a one-second stop-go penalty, allowing Yau the second spot on the podium. Yau moved back to the top of the championship table.
“Mok was very consistent and didn’t make a single mistake in the first eight laps and he was pulling away slowly every lap. Dilantha was behind me about half to one second away so I was just going my pace. Then on the second last lap it got pretty bad and I was practically on third gear all the way back to the chequered flag”, said Yau.
The white and green PIONEER ABSOLUTE 911 GT3 R of Chu had a short Race 1, having been forced to retire after 11 laps.
In Race 2 Yau had another impressive getaway, overtaking the car in front of him in the first corner. He did not keep that position for too long, his opponent found a way past him on the same lap. But at the next lap the adversary was caught into a spin while avoiding a backmarker, losing his position again to the white and blue ABSOLUTE PIONEER 911 GT3 R. Without the speed to run after the victory, Yau focused to finish second and score important points for the championship standings.
Reflecting on his second weekend podium, Yau said, “I had a really good start and I was right next to the leader on the inside line and I really didn’t know where to go so I just backed off. Then I had a better line into T2 and passed Mok. I calmed down a little bit and focused on not making any mistakes. I am happy about leading the Championship and I hope to lead it all the way to the end.”
Still very inexperienced under wet conditions, Chu conducted a very cautious 40-minute race, and brought home a 17th place overall.
Team Manager, Philippe Descombes, added, “We had another great weekend in Japan with Eddie. Sasha struggled to take the maximum out of the car in a new track for him, but this is a learning season for him. Eddie did a fantastic job during the weekend with two flawless races. We are seeing some great racing from the three championship leaders who were racing in very close proximity. We expect an exciting end of the season.”
Yau now leads the Championship, heading into the last three rounds with a three point lead. Asia Racing Team is currently second in the Teams’ Standings.
The GT Asia Series will head to the Autopolis International Circuit for the penultimate weekend in the 2011 Season this 30th September to 2nd October.
Photo @ AFOS (www.afos.com)
Yau captures first-ever GT victory for Asia Racing Team
Eddie Yau captures first-ever GT victory for Asia Racing Team
Eddie Yau took Asia Racing Team first ever GT Asia Series win in a memorable race one at the Fuji Speedway, whilst team-mate Sasha Chu scored valuable points this weekend.
Already in the qualifying Eddie Yau showed his speed and the Porsche 997 GT3 R was the second fastest car out on the track in the early part of the session, but he was penalized for crossing the pit-entry line and had his best time removed, relegating him down to fifth. For the second race Yau lined up in fourth place. Teammate Chu meanwhile qualified twelfth and thirteenth.
Race 1 saw Yau crossing the finish line in first place with a total of 22 laps completed in the 40-minute race. The Hong Kong native beat the firm favourite Ferrari F458 and the Lamborghini LP560 to the podium. After a good start, Yau quickly made his way to second place, and a precise pit stop allowed him to inherit the first position which he hadn’t lost.
Chu had an exciting battle with Christian Chia with the duo changing positions several times throughout the first half of the race. The white and green PIONEER ABSOLUTE 911 GT3 R finished tenth, scoring four precious points.
Speaking about his first win, Yau said, “From the very first practice all the way through I was doing a really good pace. I had a really good start off the grid and I really like Fuji. I was about one and a half to two seconds behind the two front drivers, waiting for my chance, which came sooner than I thought. I was getting quicker and quicker and caught up a bit and when everybody went into the pits, I managed a flying lap. I had a good pit stop and came out ahead of them, a 3 seconds lead and I just kept on driving.”
From lights on an "exhausting" race started for Yau, as he had to defend his position against several opponents until the finish line. Starting from fourth, Yau rapidly moved to third but a slow pit stop, cost him position on the podium. When the white and blue ABSOLUTE PIONEER 911 GT3 R was in final countdown to leave the pits, an opponent parked his car in front of Yau, giving no room for ART prepared car get back to the track without the assistance of the team mechanics, costing vital seconds in the pits. Even a 70kg handicap could not prevent Yau rallying to finish fourth under the extreme pressure of the Audi Japan supported R8 and just a second way from a deserved podium place.
Racing this weekend for the very first time at the Mount Fuji track, Chu ran clean and well in early laps of Race 2, holding eleventh. He saw window of opportunity to make into Top-10 and did it again, finishing ninth.
Team Manager Philippe Descombes was delighted with Yau’s victory and team’s performance, “It was a great weekend for us. That’s quite a feat, considering 2011 marks the first year Asia Racing Team has been involved in GT racing. After starting the year with three podium results, we arrived at Fuji with high expectations and our sights set on earning team’s first-ever victory. Eddie was spectacular this weekend and just a very unfortunate pit stop in Race 2 slow him down. Sasha had two scoring finishes and keeps improving his pace every race. We go to Suzuka looking forward to repeat the Race 1 performance.”
Asia Racing Team is currently second in the Drivers and Teams’ Standings, with Eddie Yau now just one point adrift from first. The next races of the GT Asia Series will be held in four weeks time, from 19th to 21st August 2011, at Suzuka.
Photo @ www.AFOS.com
Asia Racing Team scores double podium in Sepang
Asia Racing Team drivers did an outstanding job in both races of the second round of 2011 GT Asia Series on the Malaysian circuit of Sepang. Hong Kong’s Eddie Yau finished third in both races, climbing one position in the championship standings, and his teammate Sasha Chu scored the first points this season.
Straight from the beginning, Yau showed that he was in Malaysia to be on the top. Having finished in the podium once in the inaugural round last month, Yau was P5 and P6 in qualifying. But the best was yet to come - he started in fifth and came home in third in Race 1, thanks to an astonishing consistency and another master pit-stop of the team.
In the Race 2, despite the blistering heat, Eddie Yau finished third to claim his second podium in the Porsche 911 GT3 R for Asia Racing Team. Yau started the race in sixth, kept a clean race and maintained a steady race pace leaving the battle between his opponents ahead of him to pay off. Speaking after the Race 2, Eddie Yau said: “The race was really good, it was really very hot. I was following Siu Yuk Lung for about 10 laps and defending from Samson Chan for the entire forty minutes so it was very tiring for me. Throughout the race there was a lot of overtaking and trying to pass one another, it was fun. Two podiums, I’m happy this weekend and I’m very excited for Japan. I’ve always liked Japan and I’m really looking forward to it”.
Teammate Sasha Chu had a great weekend too, showing a noticeably improvement. The inexperienced Hong Kong native driver shaved eight seconds to his best lap time around the Malaysian F1 track, and his pace is now just 5 seconds away from the top drivers of the category. After a good getaway, and following the team orders, the #11 Absolute – Pioneer Porsche
911 GT3 R took a conservative and smart approach, crossing the finish line in ninth, scoring points for the first time this season.
In Race 2 Chu did another clean start, escaping superbly without a scratch to the first corner confusion. A clear run and a successful pit stop strategy paid off with a tenth place in the end.
The team’s strong and consistent results, pitching their talent and experienced against the biggest field in the series’ history, has put them within few points of the top of the team championship leaderboard in second place with seven races still to go. Eddie Yau also secured the second position in drivers’ classification.
The next round of the GT Asia Series takes place at Fuji in Japan in two weeks.
Photo @ Henry Chan
Asia Racing Team and Eddie Yau on top
Asia Racing Team had a spectacular first appearance in GT Asia Series, and after the two first races of the season in Sepang, the Macanese outfit is leading the team standings by two points.
Eddie Yau put on a great show, climbing on the podium in third in his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup R in round 1 and finishing a creditable fourth in round 2. The Hong Kong driver currently lies third on the Championship Points standing.
Racing the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup R for the second time, Sasha Chu was getting the feeling of the car for the whole weekend. The Hong Kong native was twelfth in the Race 1 and finished seventeenth in the second race.
The round two result currently remains, pending an appeal by a driver and his team. Rounds 3&4 of the GT Asia Series will be held from June 18-19.
GT Asia: Asia Racing Team‚ Eddie Yau and Sasha Chu to race Porsche in 2011 GT Asia
Asia Racing Team will be running two Porsche 997 GT3 Cup R in the GT3 class of the GT Asia Series in 2011 for the Hong Kong racers Eddie Yau and Sasha Chu.
Eddie Yau, a GT3 Asia Challenge race winner and a regular among the front-runners, will be partnering with another familiar face from the series, Sasha Chu. They will drive the last GT3 spec car manufactured by Porsche and prepared by the Macanese team based in Zhuhai.
The 911 GT3 R born to be raced in series based on international FIA GT3 regulations. It features a four-litre six-cylinder boxer engine delivering 480 hp, and a six-speed sequential gearbox transmits the power to the rear axle.
Speaking ahead of the new season, Yau, said: ‚ÄúFrom my previous outings in GT3 Asia, I know we face fierce competition. Sasha and I believe in this partnership with Asia Racing Team. I‚Äôm doing my best in order to arrive at the first race with a good understanding with the team and the car so that we all feel comfortable together.‚Äù
His teammate Chu, added ‚ÄúI’ve really enjoyed the tests I’ve completed so far and already feel part of the team. I know I have a lot to improve on and I take the team advices as a motivation to continue to train hard.‚Äù
With a vast reputation in single seater championships in the region, the GT Asia Series campaign will be another string to the Asia Racing Team‚Äôs bow.
Team Manager, Philippe Descombes, stated: ‚ÄúWe have looking to enter in the championship for some time now. The Porsche is a winner car in Europe and we have the right drivers. Eddie and Sasha together not only create a great atmosphere in the team, but also can perform. Eddie is well known in the house from his past participations in our training courses, and he made a strong first impression in the Pan Delta event. Sasha is improving every time he jumps in the car which is a good sign for the season ahead.‚Äù
The 2011 GT Asia Series series will be held over six meetings at Asia’s leading circuits. The highly competitive series sees the Asia Racing Team Porsche up against cars from famous marques such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Ford in the competition for GT3 class honours and the overall title.