FORMULA RENAULT NEWS

ART Off to a Strong Start in AFR

ART (ART Motorsports) drivers did an outstanding job this weekend, going into the podium in Class A with Rookie Daniel Lu in both races after setting the pace in early practice for his Asia Formula Renault debut of the opening round of  2017 AFR Championship, on the Chinese circuit of Zhuhai. Charles Lin also managed to score two podium places in B class category.

The weather played havoc with the qualify on Saturday and it was the very first time for Lu to drive under the rain. Even so, Lu demonstrated great maturity in a session that was red flagged almost every 2 laps, learning how to drive on wet tyres and improving his time in every single lap. At the end, it was a well deserved second position earned for both races start.

Charles Lin ended up 4th in B class, which does not reflect his real speed, but there was not much he could do as the session was stopped every time he was putting on a good lap.

Singaporean driver Ni Weiliang and Hong-Kong Rookie Karl Yip were the victims of this chaotic qualifying session, they could not even clock a lap as every time they crossed the control line the session was stopped under red flag and as a result they had to start the race far back on the grid.

Race 1, the sun decided to show up again. Lu on first row managed a decent start and put pressure on Leong all the way thought the race, setting the fastest lap(1.34.901). Unfortunately, race 1 came to an early conclusion on lap 8 due to multiple accidents, which brought out the red flag to end the race.

Lin climbed up from P4 to P3 in the B class category. He was just about to overtake Miao for P2 before the red flag was shown. Ni had a difficult race starting from the back of the pack, struggling to find grip from the tyres and crossed the line in 12th position in A class. Yip continued to get experience and finished the race in 14th place in class.

Race 2 was wet again for the final race of the weekend. ART Motorsports driver, Lu managed an excellent result for being his very first race on the wet track and crossed the line in 2nd position. Lin finished the race in 2nd position but had to pay a 30 second penalty for start procedure infringement and saw him retrograded to 4th place in Class. Karp Yip produced a flawless race, climbing up from last position to an excellent 7th place in Class. Not an easy task when you start at the back of the grid. Ni Weiliang on a very tricky track locked-up in T12 and got stuck in the gravel trap.

Reflecting on the weekend, Philippe Descombes said, "Good weekend overall for the team and for Daniel. We knew and he showed that his pace on the dry is extremely competitive and it is a real shame that race 1 had to be red flagged with 2 laps to go. Now we need to improve the pace on the wet surface, something we have been waiting to do all winter but we could not get a drop of rain every time Daniel came to test, so I have to say that for his first time on the wet, he did a great job."

Daniel Lu added, "It has been a great couple of days of racing and I am really pleased with how things went in my debut race in the Asia Formula Renault series. I feel I adapted to the car and the conditions well and the guys at ART Motorsport have been very professional and easy to work with. I feel happy in the car but it is still early days and I am sure there is a lot more to come. The pace seemed good overall and I am feeling very optimistic for the season. A big thank you to Philip and the ART team for all the hard work over the last 3 days. I am looking forward to the next round in Sepang."

Karl Yip commented, "My first Pan Delta was very eventful. It has been over 3 years since my last Formula drive. After crashing hard in T10 on free practice one of Friday and missing FP2 due to the damage, it was very difficult mentally to deal with the pouring rain we had for qualifying Saturday morning. Due to my lack of confidence and numerous red flags, I was unable to set a time, meaning I had to start last for both my races.

Race 1 was dry and although I came nearly last, in the 8 laps or so I was able to get down to a 1.40.4 time with zero dry practice. Unfortunately, it rained for race 2 but the 8 laps were enough to bring me some confidence back.

It was my first weekend in a class A Formula Renault car, first time using Giti tires, first wet race, first time driving a race car since 2013 AFR and starting last in 22nd, I am very pleased with P7 in race 2. It was a race of attrition and although I spun twice, safety cars and mistakes from other drivers allowed me to make the most of my steadier pace. It was a weekend of changing conditions making it very challenging. Thanks to Asia Racing Team for providing a great car, coaching and hospitality. And as always it is very nice seeing familiar faces at Zhuhai and also meeting new people. It was a weekend to remember!"

The AFR championship continues in May with the second race of the 2017 season to be held at the Sepang International Circuit from May 5-7.


Ni Weiliang Returns to Asian Formula Renault with ART

After scoring his personal best result in 2016, Singaporean driver Ni Weilliang will join Asia Racing Team again for the 2017 AFR campaign.
 
The Razer backed up driver showed some great pace last year but was too many times involved in unfortunate accidents which deprived him from solid results.

 

Speaking about the upcoming season, Ni Weiliang said, "The calendar this year has a mix of familiar tracks and new tracks. I am happy to be with ART again and I am looking forward to having some fun this year. A big thank you to my sponsors Sixcap and Razer for the support!"

 

Philippe Descombes added, "We are delighted to have Weilaing back in the series. With the experience and confidence gained last year, I am sure he will be a podium contender and we look forward to a great season with Weilang again."

Asia Racing Team Nominates Daniel Lu for Asian Formula Renault Championship

Asia Racing Team (ART Motorsports) has snapped up Chinese driver Daniel Lu for its upcoming Asian Formula Renault Championship campaign.

The 16-year-old Kartman tested for the first time a Formula Renault 2.0 last September and proved to be very competitive showing a great pace in his last testing at ZIC. Daniel started go-karting at the age of 14 in the Shanghai Kartworld series,wining the Rotax Max China Challenge the following year.

Daniel Lu stated, "Being my first year in cars, I am very happy to be making my Chinese debut in Asian Formula Renault with a team as experienced and high profile as ART. There is a lot for me to learn, the car and the circuits, but I am sure it is going to be great season and I am really looking forward to it. I want to get up to speed as quickly as possible and hopefully push for the championship. The team knows what it takes to succeed and they have been brilliant at helping me understand the car."

Philippe Descombes, Team Manager added, "Daniel has great potential and with proper guidance and support he will have a great future as a racing driver. We are extremely happy to have him in the team for the 2017 campaign."

The first two rounds of the 2017 Asian Formula Renault Championship will take place during the weekend 18/19 of March at the Zhuhai International Circuit in China.


Jasper Thong and Asia Racing Team Crowned AFR B - Class Champion

Hong Kong driver Jasper Thong sealed the 2016 AFR Series B Class in Zhuhai International Circuit.
 
It has been a great learning season for Jasper who started his very first Single Seater season and Asia Racing Team is proud to have been part of his achievement. The 16 years old driver scored a stunning 3 wins and 7 podiums finish this season and grabbed the championship before the last event of the AFR Season. 

Jasper Thong said that it was 2016 AFR series made me learn a lot of new stuff that I have not  encountered in my life before. It was a great experience and I am hoping to learn more and become a faster driver in the future.

Philippe Descombes, the Team Manager added that it has been a pleasure for the team to work with Jasper this season, his pace was really impressive and he had learned a lot throughout the whole year.

Hua Miao was unable to compete the last event and ended up securing the first runner-up position in the B Class standings for Asia Racing Team.

2017 AFR Series Calendar will be released very soon with some exciting programs, stay tuned!


Charles Lin to race in AFR once again

Charles Lin Tai An will once again join ART’s forces during the last event of the Asian Formula Renault Series.

This time Lin will compete in “ A- Class “ Category alongside Maxx Ebenal , Ni Weiliang and William Tan....

Team Manager Philippe Descombes said “ I’m very pleased to have Charles competes with ART in A-class Category, he demonstrated to be a very competitive driver in China Formula 4 with us and has shown great pace in the last event AFR B class last event , we can’t wait to see how he is going to be in the new car”

Qualifying for round 11 & 12 of the Asian Formula Renault Series will be held at 10.20 on Saturday 29th October.Race 1 will take place on the same day at 15.20 . Race 2 will take place on Sunday 30th October at 09.00


Memorable double win at Zhuhai

Asia Racing Team scored the team’s 30th overall win in Asian Formula Renault Series in tremendous style at Zhuhai over the Mid-Autumn Festival weekend, with Canadian racing Maxx Ebenal claiming two magnificent victories in round 9 and 10 of the championship. Jasper Thong won the first race in Class B and is in "a privileged position" to win the championship with one event to go. 

In a very closely matched qualifying session on Saturday morning, Ebenal ended the run with the fastest time for the round 9 and 10, giving Asia Racing Team and Beijing Manthey Racing the first pole-position of the season.

Teammate Weiliang placed his car in the third row of the grid for both races, and Tan qualified 8th for round 9 and 10.

Lin Tai An has stormed to pole position for Saturday’s race in Class B, beating for the pole-position the Championship leaders Jasper Thong and Hua Miao.

Race one of the weekend on Saturday afternoon, round 9, was a walk in the park for Ebenal. However the Canadian driver had a poor start that cost him the first position for nine corners.

In the meantime, Tan came through to finish in a hard-earned fifth after a strong performance from the fourth row of the grid. This result allowed the single seater rookie from The Philippines to take the Master Class Trophy for the first time.

Edged back to 11th place at T4 at the end of lap one, Weiliang had to fightback to finish 6th overall.

As well as winning the race, Asia Racing Team almost ended the day with all three of its Class B drivers inside the podium positions. Hua Miao had a better start and led the category in the first lap. On used tires, the Beijing driver couldn’t keep the position, and was overtaken by Thong and Lin.

On lap 7, Lin was over ambitious trying to overtake Thong, ending up his first Formula Renault 2.0 in the gravel trap, opening the doors of the third season class win for the Hong Kong racer. Although under major pressure Hua Miao finished second in Class B, keeping alive his chances to battle for the championship title with three races to go.

For round two on Sunday afternoon, Ebenal lined-up on pole position and quickly opened up a small gap on the chasing pack. Leading by just a few tenths of a second, the Beijing Manthey Racing driver remained unflappable under pressure lap after lap until the Safety Car was called in on lap 5. Ebenal maintained firmly the first position on the race restart, and secured his second triumph this weekend.

Ebenal now lies in second in the championship, 29 points behind the championship leader. 

Commenting about his race weekend, Ebenal said, "What an incredible feeling to have a perfect race weekend with ART. To get both poles, both wins, and fastest race laps means we are improving as a team. It’s unfortunate that I missed two races earlier in the season, otherwise I would be much closer to 1st in championship points. I look forward to becoming an even better racer with the help of Beijing Manthey Racing."

Weiliang drove a flawless race to a much-deserved third place overall – a further strong podium display from the team. Gaining one place on the opening lap, the Singaporean, who started 6th on the grid, carved his way past two more cars on lap 4 and 9 to secure his second ever overall podium in the Asian Formula Renault Series.

"It has been a season of ups and downs for me. I’m very satisfied with this weekend, I really couldn’t ask for anything more. The team provided a great car and I had an amazing weekend", he said.

Asia Racing Team’s Class A third driver, Gentleman Driver William Tan closed the weekend with another visit to the podium to get the Master Class Trophy by finishing 5th in the race.

Asian Formula Renault Series Class B title race will go down to the wire. Hua Miao finished second on Sunday’s race, while teammate and rival Thong was third. 32 points separate both Asia Racing Team drivers with two races to go.

Fair mention to Formula Renault debutant Lin Tai An who crossed the finish line in fourth. The 16-year-old Guangzhou starlet, who is only contesting selected rounds of the Formula Renault series this year due to existing commitments in the FIA Formula 4 Chinese Championship, faced a huge challenge but absolutely starred over the weekend.

Race 1 Results:

P1  Maxx Ebenal (CAN)

P5 William Tan (PHI)

P6 Ni Weiliang (SIN)

P7 Jasper Thong (HKG) - 1st Class B

P9 Hua Miao (CHN) - 2nd Class B

DNF Lin Tai An

 

Race 2 Results:

P1  Maxx Ebenal (CAN)

P3 Ni Weiliang (SIN)

P5 William Tan (PHI)

P7 Hua Miao (CHN) - - 2nd Class B

P8 Jasper Thong (HKG) - 3rd Class B

P9 Lin Tai An (CHN) - 4th Class B

 

Photo courtesy of FRD Sports


Lin’s AFR Series One-Off

16-year old Charles Lin Tai An will join the grid for the Asian Formula Renault Series at Zhuhai International Circuit next weekend, after clinching a one-off race deal to drive at the fiercely competitive Class B.

The Guangzhou native is taking part in the full season of the 2016 FIA Chinese Formula 4 Championship with Asia Racing Team, having claim two podium finishes last weekend at Shanghai.

Lin will line up alongside with Class B championship leaders Jasper Thong and Hua Miao. Thong is 30 points ahead of Hua Miao in the drivers’ championship standings.

Looking to the race weekend ahead the Yumin Restaurant and Impressive Wrap Canton sponsored driver said, "I’m thrilled to have got this one-off race deal to race in the AFR. It is a competitive racing series and will help me to improve my skills. I am keen not to let the team down so it’s vitally important that I do well from the moment I get into the car."

Qualifying for rounds 9 & 10 of the Asian Formula Renault Series season at Zhuhai will get underway at 08.20 on Saturday, 17th September. Race One will take place at 15.05 on same day. On Sunday, 18th September, Race Two will take place at 15.30.


Asia Racing Team back on top at Shanghai

Asia Racing Team’s Asian Formula Renault Series squad was back in action this weekend for the fourth event of its season at China’s Shanghai F1 circuit where team’s Class A and Class B cars made a return to the podium placings.

Back up to its regular six-car entry, with Maxx Ebenal replacing Liu Kai on Beijing Manthey Racing’s car, and Evan Chen making his debut in single seaters, Asia Racing Team recorded the team’s best result so far in the 2016 season.

In Class A, Ebenal, just three tenths adrift of pole position lap, and Chen were in second and third position on Saturday’s qualifying session. William Tan qualified 8th and Ni Weiliang was P13 out of 18 competitors.

Sunday’s race one was a quiet at the front. Off the line Ebenal and Chen made sure to keep their positions as the field streamed in to the first corner – dealing well with the pressure coming from behind.

Without the ultimate pace to fight for the win, Ebenal played safe, cruising to second position as Chen finished third on his first ever-single seater race.

At the sun-bathed Jiading venue Weiliang did a faultless 10-lap race to finish P8, whilst Tan rounded out the top ten after spinning in the opening lap to avoid a contact with an opponent.

Maintaining position off the start for the second race of the weekend, Ebenal stayed closed behind the pole qualifier but racing fell under Safety Car conditions on lap two. On the race restart Ebenal attacked the first position but by taking the outside of turn 1 he ended up spinning. From there to the end the Canadian gained multiple positions each to cross the line in fifth.

Commenting about his race weekend, Ebenal said, "I am very pleased with the results we achieved in Shanghai. Working together with Asia Racing Team, we improved the car immensely. I learnt some valuable lessons in race two, and look forward to continuing to be competing for the top spot in the Beijing Manthey Racing car."

Chen kept his third position before the Safety-Car period but he dropped momentarily to fourth on the restart, benefiting from his teammate spin to be promoted to third. "I am happy with my results overall. The drivers at the top are very fast and I have learnt a lot this weekend which I can take into the next races", said the Chinese Taipei racer.

In the final contest on Sunday afternoon, Weiliang made great progress over the course of the 25-minute race plus one lap to finish eight again. On the safety car restart teammate Tan spun again, preventing him to go further than P12.

In Class B Jasper Thong led Asia Racing Team’s 1-2 qualifying sweep on Saturday. The Hong Kong racer bested teammate Hua Miao in eight tenths.

Confirming his pace from the outset at the home of the Chinese Grand Prix by securing his second season pole position in qualifying on Saturday, Thong wasn’t able to capitalise on his grid-topping slot in race one. The Hong Kong native was consistently the fastest Class B driver throughout the weekend, with his most impressive display coming in the race 1, where he finished second after stalling at the start.

Hua Miao had a quiet Sunday’s morning race to the win but he couldn’t keep Thong at the bay in the second race, and ultimately had to settle for second spot. Thong left Shanghai 30 points ahead of Hua Miao in the drivers’ championship standings.

Maintaining his championship lead Thong said, "Today was a good day! We’ve been working really hard and the results have been getting better and better. Thanks to everyone that came to support me this weekend and the team for the flying car."

Zhuhai in PR China will host the next two races of the Asian Formula Renault Series season in three weeks’ time, on 17th/18th September.

 

Race 1 Results:

P2  Maxx Ebenal (CAN)

P3 Evan Chen (TPI)

P8 Ni Weiliang (SIN)

P10 William Tan (PHI)

P11 Hua Miao (CHN) - 1st Class B

P12 Jasper Thong (HKG) - 2nd Class B

 

 

 

Race 2 Results:

P3 Evan Chen (TPI)

P5 Maxx Ebenal (CAN) 

P8 Ni Weiliang (SIN)

P10 Jasper Thong (HKG) - 1st Class B

P11 Hua Miao (CHN) - 2nd Class B

P12 William Tan (PHI)

 

 

Photo courtesy of Mickey Lo / FRD Sports


Evan Chen completes AFR Shanghai line up

Asia Racing Team is pleased to welcome Chinese Taipei racer Evan Chen to the fold for the upcoming Asian Formula Renault Series race weekend in Shanghai, PR China.

Chen has already gained experience in competitive racing series in Asia. Last year the 22-year-old driver took a superb Class B win on his Porsche Carrera Cup Asia debut at Buriram, Thailand.

Chen will make his single seater series debut next weekend; he said of the upcoming race, “I’m very excited to be racing in Shanghai considering that it is such a great circuit. I have a good team in Asia Racing Team behind me and together I’m sure we can get the most from the weekend.”

“We’re looking forward to seeing how Evan gets on at Shanghai”, added Team Manager Philippe Descombes, “Shanghai is an incredibly challenging track for his debut in a Formula car but we believe Evan is more than up to the job and capable of a strong showing for a rookie.”

Chen will line up alongside with Maxx Ebenal, Ni Weiliang, William Tan in Class A and with the first two of Class B championship standings Jasper Thong and Hua Miao.

Qualifying for rounds 7 & 8 of the Asian Formula Renault Series season at Shanghai will get underway at 14.20 on Saturday, 20th August. On Sunday, 21st August, race one and two will take place at 09.55 and 15.25 respectively.


Ebenal lands ART seat for Shanghai

Canadian driver, Maxx Ebenal, will represent Beijing Manthey Racing for the first time this weekend when he drives for Asia Racing Team in the Asian Formula Renault Series event in Shanghai, replacing Beijing racer Liu Kai.

Ebenal arrives with a wealth of experience racing in Formula Renault 2.0, having made his debut back in 2014. The Canadian will return to the series, where he sits fourth in the drivers’ championship after six races, after skipping the Thailand event last June.

2015 Asian Formula Renault Series second runner up spent two weekends racing this season with S&D Motorsport, winning the first race of the season and finishing in the podium on three further occasions.

Maxx Ebenal said: “Naturally, I am very excited to take advantage of the opportunity to join the Beijing Manthey team and get back in the Formula Renault. After missing the Thailand round, I am ready to come back strong and make the most of it with Asia Racing Team."

Team Manager Philippe Descombes added: “Ebenal is an experienced and talented driver and we’re pleased to have him back on the team now. He has shown his speed in Formula Renault 2.0 so his knowledge and experience will push the team further.”

Qualifying for rounds 7 & 8 of the Asian Formula Renault Series season at Shanghai will get underway at 14.20 on Saturday, 20th August. On Sunday, 21st August, race one and two will take place at 09.55 and 15.25 respectively.


Liu Kai, Thong and Hua Miao take Asia Racing Team back to Thailand podium

AFR Series plunged into unknown territory by visiting the scorching hot Buriram Chang International Circuit. Championship challenging Asia Racing Team added one more overall podium to its 2016 tally over the weekend; with Chinese star Liu Kai finishing third in round five of the season. Teammate Jasper Thong won the first race of the weekend and now leads the Class B championship standings.

Beijing Manthey Racing supported Liu Kai was once again the fastest of the team on Saturday’s Qualifying, setting the fourth quickest lap time overall for the Zhuhai based Macanese team.  Team mate and race returnee Runacres just missed out on a top 5 qualifying position, whilst fellow Asia Racing Team single seater rookie Tan qualified in P7, being the quickest of the Master Class drivers. Ni Weiliang placed his car in P8 for both race grids. Without opposition in Class B, Hua Miao and Jasper Thong were “1-2” for Asia Racing Team, separated by 8 tenths of a second.

Saturday race saw Liu Kai capturing precious podium position points. On a very messy race start, he soared up the inside to steal the first spot in the first corner. Unfortunately the Beijing racer wasn’t able to keep his lead, dropping two places on his way to his third podium of the season.

A relatively clean 10-lap race helped Runacres to cross the line sixth, his best result so far this season. Teammate Tan had an eventful race in the middle pack, crossing the finish line in P7, after overtaking his Master Class opponent Thomas Luedi with one lap to go.

Sixteen year-old Thong finished 9th, with the Malaysian native securing his maiden win in Class B.

After setting the fastest Class B time of the race on lap eight, Hua Miao lost the control of his car, spinning into the wall on the penultimate lap ending his running from a potential category victory. Weiliang was an earlier victim of the first corner three-car pile-up.

Sunday afternoon at Chang International Circuit saw a thrilling finale to the AFR Series weekend. With the round six grid order being set by the fields initial qualifying sessions second fastest laps times, Liu Kai started from P4 but inherited the third place at the start as the pole-position did not leave the pitlane.

Having used his set of new tires on Sunday’s race, Liu Kai knew from the beginning that he would have a tough 25 min + 1 lap race. The Beijing racer was P4 at the flag, after spinning on doing his utmost to defend his podium position. The result was still enough for the Beijing racer to move up to second in the championship standings.  

Without pace to match the frontrunners, James Runacres repeated Saturday’s P6 result. William Tan and Ni Weiliang, who stalled at the start, were both in the hot middle pack fight, crossing the line P8 and P9 after spins.

In Class B Hua Miao and Jasper Thong had a hectic race that reached the climax with both cars colliding in the last lap (!). Thong was deemed responsible for the accident by the stewards of the meeting and was harshly excluded from the results. By completing 75% of the race, Hua Miao was classified, taking home the points for first in the category.

AFR Series’s next rounds, 7 and 8, will take place at the Shanghai International Circuit, China on 19 and 20 August 2016.

 

Race 1 Results:

P3 Liu Kai (CHN)

P6 James Runacres (GBR)

P7 William Tan (PHI)

P8 Jasper Thong (HKG) - 1st Class B

DNF Ni Weiliang (SIN)

DNF Hua Miao (CHN)

 

Race 2 Results:

P2 Liu Kai (CHN)

P6 James Runacres (GBR) 

P8 William Tan (PHI)

P9 Ni Weiliang (SIN)

P10 Hua Miao (CHN)

EXCL Jasper Thong (HKG)

 

Photo courtesy of Mickey Lo / FRD Sports

Asia Racing Team’s Strong Run at KIC

Asia Racing Team’s Liu Kai made an impressive return to action in the AFR Series at the Korea International Circuit over the weekend, 14th/15th May, with a sensational second place in round three of the season – his best result yet in the series. Teammates Jasper Thong and Hua Miao snatched podium positions in Class B.

After a hard fought race weekend in Zhuhai, the team has been given some time to regroup before heading to Korea to continue their championship challenge.

Liu Kai, who is also contesting the Chinese Formula 4 series this year, faced a huge challenge visiting Mokpo-circuit for the first time but absolutely delivered over the weekend. The Chinese single seater racer qualified fourth overall. On Sunday’s Race 1, the Chinese driver gained one position at the start but he let his opponent go, knowing in advance that he would be penalized with a jump start. In fact, as both S&D Motorsports cars were penalized with jump-start, Liu Kai was promoted to second overall, his best Formula Renault result so far.

In the Race 2, the Beijing driver managed to keep his position at start, holding onto the 4th position until the end.

In Class B the 16-year-old Jasper Thong outshined his opposition in the Qualifying. The Hong Kong native was the fastest of the category and fifth overall. Unfortunately he was penalized in three places in the grid for both races due to pitlane speeding infringements. He would bounce back in the races, finishing second of the Class B in Race 1. Thong could even have won the Race 2 but he had to go off the track to avoid a collision between two Class A cars when he was leading the class with five laps to go. He was a frustrated third at the flag.

Teammate Hua Miao was a victim of a multi-car accident in Race 1 but he bounced back in Race 2, finishing second after a long battle with teammate Thong and local racer Kim Hak Kyum.

Ni Weiliang experienced a difficult weekend on home ground but he showed signs of great speed. The Singaporean driver based in Korea qualified sixth overall but he couldn’t materialize the grid position in Race 1, crossing the finish line in 8th. In the final encounter of the weekend, Weiliang had a spectacular start, at one point challenging the top five and keeping the pace of his teammate Liu Kai in the first half of the race. Two spins in the last half of race took him a chance of scoring his best result of the season so far. He finished 10th in Race 2.

William Tan endured a difficult weekend in Korea. The Philippines Gentleman Driver had an accident on Thursday that took his rhythm and confidence away. He still managed to finish both races in 10th and 12th, scoring precious points for the championship standings.

”Result-wise this weekend was positive for us. Liu Kai and Jasper Thong have shown all weekend that we can deliver strong results in both classes. The team is doing a good job and it is all about keeping our heads down and continue working hard,” said Philippe Descombes, Team Manager of Asia Racing Team.

There is now a four-week break in the AFR Series calendar with rounds 5 and 6 of the season set to take place at Buriram’s Chang International Circuit over the weekend 11th/12th June.

 

Race 1 Results:

P2 Liu Kai (CHN)

P7 Jasper Thong (HKG) - 2nd Class B

P8 Ni Weiliang (SIN)

P10 William Tan (PHI)

DNF Ni Weiliang (SIN)

 

Race 2 Results:

P4 Liu Kai (CHN)

P7 Hua Miao (CHN) - 2nd Class B

P8 Jasper Thong (HKG) - 3rd Class B

P10 Ni Weiliang (SIN)

P12 William Tan (PHI)

 

Photo courtesy of  Mickey Torres / FRD Sports

 

Stay tuned for the latest updates by following us on Twitter ‘@ARTMotors’ or on Facebook by searching ‘AsiaRacingTeamMotorsports’.

 

Asia Racing Team Claims Podium Finish in the Season Opener

Chinese drivers Liu Kai and Hua Miao delivered the first podiums of the season for Asia Racing Team during the opening event of the AFR Series season at Zhuhai International Circuit over the weekend, 19th/20th March.

Team-mates James Runacres, Ni Weiliang, William Tan and Jasper Thong, each had a tougher time of things but all of them displayed steady pace and glimpses of much more to come.

Saturday’s morning Qualifying certainly provided its challenges for the drivers. The fog affecting session saw Liu Kai leading the ART squadron, placing the Manthey Racing sponsored car in the fourth place. Runacres produced a last-minute qualifying lap to place his car in seventh. Filipino rookie Tan closed the session’s top-10.

In Class B Thong lined-up on the 1st row and Hua Miao on row 2, the latter only able to confirm his place on the grid just before the pre-weekend practice. Weiliang showed a promising speed in the first moments of the Qualifying but the 20-year old Singaporean went off track on his third lap, crushing his hopes of a strong weekend.

It was a drama-filled 10-lap Saturday afternoon race for Asia Racing Team’s 6-car line up. Outstanding in the group, Hua Miao showed a strong pace from the start, finishing second in Class B on his Formula Renault 2.0 debut weekend.

Huge progress was made by Hua Miao after gaining an impressive six places after starting from fourteenth on the grid. Hua Miao’s success continued as he made his way up through the grid up into sixth place overall, second in his class.

Triggering an entertaining see-saw battle in mid pack, Tan had an eventful race, finishing P7 overall and fifth in the Class A.

Starting from fourth on the grid, when the lights turned green, Liu Kai stalled the car. The Beijing native racer finished the race tenth overall after rejoining from the pit-lane. Thong was in the fight for a Class B podium position until a gravel excursion put him out of contention on lap 3. The impetuous Hong Kong rookie still managed to finish fourth of the Class B, after moving up three positions to finish P12 overall at the flag. Runacres crossed the line in P7 but he was penalized 30 seconds due to jump-start, finishing P14 overall.

Teammate Weiliang was the fastest of the team in the race but he did not finish it due to a spin with 3 laps to go, after impressively climbing from P17 to P8.

An unexpected rain set off a super-dramatic race on Sunday. Starting from fifth, Liu Kai managed to survive the chaotic first lap and could build up his race. The Beijing driver made a good getaway this time and climbed into third place in the first lap, where he stayed until the chequered flag.

Thong was hoping to fight for the Class B podium again but the 16-year-old rookie stalled the car at the start, ruining his chances of making into the podium on his single seater weekend debut. He still managed to finish the race as Class B fourth.

Fighting with an unbearable foggy visor Runacres had no chances to run nose-to-tail with the group ahead. The British racer focused to bring the car home in 11th.

Weiliang and Tan were two of the first victims of a chaotic first lap. Hua Miao did not start as his car driveshaft betrayed him in the warm lap, a frustrating way to end the weekend but many positives to take away.

“The weekend results aren’t overly spectacular but our drivers showed some good speed and racecraft this weekend and Liu Kai’s overall podium, especially, was pretty good from a team point of view”, reflected Team Manager Philippe Descombes.

The next AFR Series race on the schedule is on May 14 and 15, at the Korea International Circuit. It will be the first time that the championship visits the Formula 1 facility constructed in Yeongam.

 

Race 1 Results:

P6 Hua Miao (CHN) - 2nd Class B

P7 William Tan (PHI)

P10 Liu Kai (CHN)

P11 Jasper Thong (HKG) - 4th Class B

P14 James Runacres (GBR) 

DNF Ni Weiliang (SIN)

 

Race 2 Results:

P2 Liu Kai (CHN)

P10 Jasper Thong (HKG) - 4th Class B

P11 James Runacres (GBR) 

DNF William Tan (PHI)

DNF Ni Weiliang (SIN)

DNF Hua Miao (CHN)

 

Photo courtesy of GCImages

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Runacres and Hua Miao Complete ART line up

2015 AFR Series Class B Runner Up James Runacres and Chinese single seater regular Hua Miao complete Asia Racing Team’s six-car line-up for the 2016 Asian Formula Renault Series opening event at the Zhuhai International Circuit.

Runacres is already a AFR Series “well-known” as he took the second place in 2015 AFR Series Class B in what was his first ever single seater season.  The British racer will step up to Class A this season, having been testing the Formula Renault 2.0/13 from Asia Racing for a few months now.

Runacres, said, “I learned a huge amount last season and we’ve built a strong foundation together. I’m really looking forward to next season and the continuity of a second year with a great team.”

Former Star Racing Academy protégé Hua Miao will drive the second Class B of the Zhuhai-based team. However he has been racing in Formula Masters China Series and Chinese Formula 4 Hua Miao will be making his race debut in the Asian Formula Renault series.

“I am thrilled to be competing in AFR Series with Asia Racing Team,” said Hua Miao. “I’ve had the chance to do some limited testing and I’ve found the car awesome. This is a strong team with their knowledge and experience so I hope to be up to speed very quickly.”

Runacres and Hua Miao will team up with fellow rookies Jasper Thong and William Tan and experienced Formula Renault 2.0 racers Liu Kai and Ni Weiliang to complete the Pakelo Lubricants supported squad for the first event of the season.

The Asian Formula Renault championship will begin its 12-race campaign at Zhuhai circuit.

 

Photo courtesy of Pierre Rigaudin

Tan switches to Formula Renault

Former Philippine Touring car and GT champion William Tan will switch to single-seaters in 2016, having signed a deal to contest the AFR Series, as known as Asian Formula Renault series, with Asia Racing Team.

Having formerly been recognised as a regular touring car competitor, the switch to single seaters signifies a dramatic change in direction in Tan’s racing career.
The Philippines racer did his single seater debut in the 2-hour Formula Endurance Race last January at the Zhuhai International Circuit.

Tan will race alongside Singapore’s Ni Weiliang and Liu Kai from China in Class A, who were both previously confirmed for Asia Racing Team. The Promethium Formula Renault 2.0/13 driver will also be competing for the “AFR Master Trophy”, a trophy reserved for drivers aged 35 and above.

Speaking about the challenging season ahead, William Tan said: “I feel very happy and confident to join the series. My confidence grew up with the testing and now I am improving each and every time I jump in the car. This year, I will be patient and gather experience by finishing races.”

Permanent Driver Coach Rodolfo Avila, added: “William is clearly a talented Gentleman driver and we are very proud to have him in the team. We have built up a great relationship over the last 6 months and we saw a lot of improvement since his first outing with this car.”

In 2016, AFR Series will race across Asia at five different tracks, making its debut in Thailand as well as in Korea and Zhejiang, China. The opening round will be held in Zhuhai in March Pan Delta Super Racing Weekend Festival. China’s prestigious F1 circuit of Shanghai is also on the calendar.

Jasper Thong Steps Up with Asia Racing Team

Asia Racing Team will run Jasper Thong in the 2016 AFR Series in the "Class B" category for the previous generation two-litre Tatuus cars. 16 year-old Thong from Hong Kong will be one of the youngest in the field and makes the step up to single seater racing from a strong career in karting in Asia.

Thong tested the car in Zhuhai for a couple of times, describing it as “the perfect step” in his career, and has now committed to the series for the season ahead. The 2015 CKC X30 Junior Champion & 2014 Rotax China Junior Champion will be sponsored by Exvision, EXPower and Britzgo in his progression from karting to single seaters.

Speaking about the season ahead, Thong said: “I am very happy to be joining Asia Racing Team for my first season in single seaters. I’m very excited to work them. We had a couple of tests at the end of last year and beginning of this year which went really well.”

Team Manager Philippe Descombes, commented; "We’re thrilled to have Jasper with us for this year in Class B. He showed rapid progress in winter testing, building a good relationship with the team. I’m sure he will be fighting for class podiums and wins if he continues to work hard.

The 2016 Asian Formula Renault series kicks off on March 20 at the Zhuhai International Circuit as part of the ever-popular Pan Delta Super Racing Festival. Once more the calendar comprises six two-race events and the series will visit the circuit of Zhuhai as well as in the Formula One racing tracks of Shanghai and Korea.

Asia Racing Team Welcomes Liu Kai to the AFR Series

2015 FIA Chinese Formula 4 second runner up Liu Kai will contest the AFR Series in 2016. Beijing-based Liu Kai makes the move into Formula Renault 2.0 following one successful year competing in the Chinese F4 series, which culminated in him securing one race win and six podiums during the his single seater debut season.

Liu Kai is relishing a return to the AFR Series paddock and his debut in the Asian’s longer established single seater race series having previously raced on last year round four at Zhuhai circuit. The Chinese racer has worked really hard in the off-season and he is really looking forward to the season ahead.

Reflecting on the season ahead, Liu Kai said: “I’m happy to be staying put in a team that I get on well with. I decided to move up to AFR Series this season as I want to compete with more experienced drivers and I learn from it. Hopefully I will be able to improve over the season and beat them.”

Team Manager Philippe Descombes added: “The experience he gained driving the F4 last year will help in 2016 AFR Series. Liu Kai knows well the Formula Renault 2.0/13 from testing but he is just familiar with Zhuhai and Shanghai tracks. Adjusting the car and putting in a solid qualifying run will be the main objectives early on.”


The opening round of the 2016 AFR Series will take place at the squad’s local circuit, Zhuhai on 19/20 March. The championship will visit five of the Asian’s best circuits throughout the season – Korea International Circuit, Thailand’s Chang International Circuit, Zhuhai International Circuit, Shanghai International Circuit and Zhejiang International Circuit.

Weiliang to Return for Second Season

Singaporean racer Ni Weiliang will return to Asia Racing Team’s AFR Series team for the 2016 season following his first full-time season in the championship. With one season of the Asian Formula Renault series firmly under his belt Weiliang will be looking to build on a season which saw him claim fifth in Class A championship standings.

Weiliang has already got to grips with the Formula Renault 2.0/13 over the course of both testing and racing. Last season Weiliang scored a top three finish resulting in points and multiple finishes within the Top-5 of Class A.

The Singaporean racer placed great emphasis on his physical preparation and has also used his first full-time season well to gain as much experience as possible. 20-year-old Weiliang now looks ahead to building on his debut season as he prepares for his second year in the championship.

Weiliang said of the season, “I’m looking forward to working with Asia Racing Team for a second full season of AFR Series. There is plenty to learn, especially with the new tracks in the 2016 calendar.”

Team Manager Philippe Descombes commented, “We’re pleased to welcome Weiliang back to the team for a second season in Class A. He did a huge progress throughout last season and we look forward to building on the progress made with some positive results in 2016.”

The 2016 Asian Formula Renault Series kicks off on March 20 at the Zhuhai International Circuit as part of the ever-popular Pan Delta Super Racing Festival. The 12-race championship will visit five circuits across three different Asian countries: People’s Republic of China, South Korea and Thailand.

An Enjoyable Endurance Formula Weekend

Zhuhai International Circuit hosted on Sunday 9th January the second edition of the 2-hour Circuit Hero - Formula Enduro race. First edition winners Asia Racing Team took part of the race with two cars: a Formula Renault 2.0/13 for William Tan and a Formula Renault 2.0/08 for Raphael De Ry and Matthew Maslin.

The race attracted a short but strong field of Asian drivers. After an absence of 7 years, Switzerland’s De Ry and United Kingdom’s Maslin returned to racing, finishing fifth overall, and second between the Formula Renault 2.0 "Class B" participants.

The Hong Kong based duo took a careful approach to the race, moving up in the running order, benefiting from a steady pace and a clever one-pit stop tactic, taking advantage of the mistakes of other cars.

Starting from P4, single seater debutant William Tan had low expectations for this race against a well known-studded field. Although the Filipino rookie showed a good pace over the weekend, he had a disappointing short race after damaging the rear of his car in the opening laps that forced him to retire prematurely.

 

Race Result:

P5 Raphael De Ry and Matthew Maslin (2nd Class B)

DNF William Tan

Preparing For Pre-Season Testing

Barely one month and half on from the last race of 2015 AFR Series at Shanghai, Asia Racing Team fleet is back in town and the cars are undergoing a comprehensive preparation before the season start.

Following the successful TCR Asia Series end of the season campaign, Asia Racing Team crew went back to work to start the preparation of the 2016 AFR Series pre-season testing.

The team expects to be testing from December 12 to 18, and from 20 to 23, and 27 to 30. With a state-of-art facility in Zhuhai International Circuit, Guangdong and staff who boast a wealth of experience in single seater racing, Asia Racing Team offers the perfect environment for driver development, as well as ample winter year-round testing opportunities in the agreeable Zhuhai winter climate.

The 2016 AFR Series season kicks off in Zhuhai on March 20 as part of Pan Delta Super Racing Weekend.

Drivers interested to join, please contact us for further information:

E-mail: art@art-motorsports.com

Tel: 0086 756 3394 811

Wraps 2015 Season on High Note

Asia Racing Team concluded Asian Formula Renault season on a high note with a respectable second place for Darma Hutomo at Shanghai International Circuit over the weekend, 10th/11th October. Teammate James Runacres rounded off his maiden season of Formula Renault with two Class B fifth place finish to bring the curtain down second on the class drivers’ standings.

Qualifying took place on Saturday 10th October and determined the grid for both races. Humpuss Junior Racing Team’s Hutomo finished the day superbly as he qualified second. A frightening moment in the out-lap did not prevent Singapore’s Ni Weiliang to post the eighth fastest time overall. Runacres broke his personal best and placed his car in the sixth row.

Starting race one from second on the grid, Hutomo made a competitive start and had held onto his position. The 17-year old Indonesian driver drove a flawless race to take 2nd at the flag.

Ever-improving Weiliang dropped a few positions at the start, but he chipped away and made up those spots to cross the finish line in 7th right in the tail of the sixth place finisher.

Showing some consistency, British racer Runacres went on to take fifth place of Class B and add twenty-four points to his tally.

For the final race of the Asian Formula Renault season on Sunday, Hutomo lined-up in 2nd position with Weiliang behind in 8th place and the latter made the better start, rocketing into the "Top 6" on the first lap with Hutomo, who started on used tires, dropping to 4th place.

Unfortunately the two teammates ended up involved in a race incident in the early stages when Hutomo spun and Weiliang was forced in extremis to go out of the track to avoid his teammate’s car. Fortunately both cars managed to get back on track without any damage.

Meanwhile the race was red flagged with three laps to go, but it was rerun for the two final laps. Hutomo was 4th and Weiliang 7th overall at the flag, helping Asia Racing Team to retain its second place in the Class A teams’ standings.

A Class B fifth place solid finish was enough for Runacres to secure the Asian Formula Renault Series Class B vice-championship title.

“It’s been an interesting year and to end it with a podium for Darma in the final race is a good way to wrap-up the season”, said Team Manager Philippe Descombes, “I also want to congratulate Weiliang for his impressive progress over the season and for James’ second place in Class B. He’s had a lot to learn this year, it’s been a big step-up for James, but we achieved objectives which we have set ourselves.”

 

Race 1 Results:

P2 Darma Hutomo (INA)

P6 Ni Weiliang (SIN)

P11 James Runacres (GBR) - 5th Class B

 

Race 2 Results:

P4 Darma Hutomo (INA)

P7 Ni Weiliang (SIN)

P12 James Runacres (GBR) - 5th Class B

 

Photo Courtesy of Mickey Lo / FRD Sports


No Podium But Points

Asia Racing Team endured a tough weekend in the ninth and tenth rounds of Asian Formula Renault Series this past weekend at the Zhuhai International Circuit, People’s Republic of China. For the first time in the season the team walked home without a single podium position in both classes. However, for the very first time too, all the drivers collected important points for the championship in both races.

Due to business commitments Chinese regular Pu Jun Jin had to sit out for this weekend’s event, leaving Darma Hutomo and Ni Weiliang representing the team in Class A and single seater season debutant James Runacres defending the team in Class B.

In qualifying, Humpuss Junior Racing Team’s Hutomo impressed by securing the second fastest time overall, just 0.015 seconds shy of the pole position. His second best lap time put him on third place for Sunday’s Race Two grid.

Struggling with his brakes, Singapore’s Ni Weiliang qualified P7 for both races as teammate James Runacres did sixth twice in Class B.

Race One saw Hutomo having a disappointing start, losing the second place. He stayed in the fight for third place for the most of round 9 but had to settle for fourth at the flag. Singapore’s Ni Weiliang had a good getaway but he also lost one position in the first corner. He battled back edged back to 7th place before the flag. Back in the field, Runacres had an eventful race.

The British racer had a fulgurant start, moving quickly to second of his class, but the impressive effort ended up quickly on a spin in T4. Emerging half lap down, Runacres eventually finished the race in 12th and fifth of Class B, collecting valuable points of third in Class B drivers’ standings.

Sunday afternoon’s race, round tenth, began on the wrong foot for the Asia Racing Team trio. When the lights went green, Hutomo allegedly jumped started, Weiliang had a sluggish getaway and Runacres stalled. Triggering an entertaining see-saw battle, Hutomo did not give up and he gave his all in an intense fight for third but a damaged front wing prevented him to go any further than fourth at the flag. However, a 30-second penalty for his jump-start dropped him back to 5th in the final results. The Indonesian driver would be promoted to fourth hours later due to the declassification of the car #66 for technical infringements.

Hutomo said, "I couldn’t overtake without risking a collision and not only losing 3rd, but 4th place also. I therefore preferred not to take any risks and profit from the championship points. The team produced excellent work allowing us to score valuable points in the championship."

Weiliang had a frightening moment on lap 5, spinning out in the grass and losing several positions. The Singaporean still made into the end, crossing the finish line in 12th, but scoring points for 5th in Class A.

"This race has given me a lot more confidence in the car, all I can look forward to is the next race in Shanghai", reflected Weiliang.

Runacres had an uneventful race in the back of the field, and stayed in Class B scoring points fourth throughout the encounter.

The AFR Series will head to the championship season finale at Shanghai on October 11th.

 

Race 1 Results:

P4 Darma Hutomo (INA)

P7 Ni Weiliang (SIN)

P12 James Runacres (GBR) - 6th Class B

 

Race 2 Results:

P4 Darma Hutomo (INA)

P12 Ni Weiliang (SIN)

P14 James Runacres (GBR) - 7th Class B

 

Photo Courtesy of GCImages / FRD Sports

Hutomo and Runacres back on the podium at rain-lashed Shanghai

The Asian Formula Renault championship took to the Shanghai F1 circuit this weekend to contest the next rounds. Darma Hutomo and James Runacres were back in their Class podiums, as Ni Weliang kept showing big improvements.

Indonesia’s Hutomo and Great Britain’s Runacres took advantage of tricky conditions caused by typhoon Chan-hom to forge their way through the Asian Formula Renault Series field and take their cars to second position in Class A and Class B respectively during a horribly wet race on Saturday.

Starting from third position, Hutomo quickly moved to second and stayed there until the end of the race. "I am very happy to be back in the podium. The conditions were too extreme and I preferred to not take any risk", said the Humpuss Junior Racing Team by Asia Racing Team driver.

On his first "wet" race ever Runacres kept himself out of danger, and gained three positions to finish second in the category.

Ni Weiliang showed encouraging pace during Qualifying, but crashed into the inside wall exiting Turn 10 after losing the rear of his car in the opening lap.

The second race enjoyed better weather conditions on Sunday afternoon, but it didn’t bring any happiness to Hutomo. The Indonesian ace was caught earlier in the race after his engine blew up and he coasted to a stop.

Starting from ninth place, Weiliang had an eventful mid-pack grid, crossing the finish line in sixth overall and fifth of the class. The race was red-flagged and ruled complete with two minutes and one lap to go.

Speaking about his weekend, Weiliang said "Race one didn’t end well for me but lessons leant there gave me a decent finish in the next race."

Meanwhile Runacres put up an intense duel for Class B fifth but went out of the track when he was trying to move up the ranks and eventually finished sixth of Class B.

Runacres said, "It was a challenging weekend for all of us in the team and I am really happy to be back in the podium on my first race in the wet. The second race didn’t work as planned but the weekend will toughen us up; I shall go away and learn from it. I have great confidence in the team and we should be strong at Zhuhai, so I can’t wait to get racing again!"

Now, the teams and drivers will have a summer break. Asian Formula Renault Series’s round 9 and 10 will take place on 19/20 September in Zhuhai, PR China.

 

Race 1 Results:

P2 Darma Hutomo (INA)

P9 James Runacres (GBR) - 2nd Class B

DNF Ni Weiliang (SIN) 

 

Race 2 Results:  

P6 Ni Weiliang (SIN)

P13 James Runacres (GBR) - 6th Class B 

DNF Darma Hutomo (INA)

 

Photo courtesy of Mickey Lo / FRD Sports

Double podium for Pu Jun Jin

Asia Racing Team driver Pu Jun Jin collected two podium finishes at Zhuhai International Circuit in China, last weekend for Rounds 5 and 6 of the Asian Formula Renault Series, while Humpuss Junior Racing Team by Asia Racing Team’s Darma Hutomo collected a pair of top-5 finishes. Teammates Ni Weiliang, Class B series contender James Runacres and Formula Renault debutant Liu Kai had eventful races.

Qualifying saw Pu Jun Jin fighting for the pole-position. The Foshan native had his best qualifying effort of the season, posting the second best lap time overall.

Struggling with the tires, Hutomo qualified fifth but he inherited the fourth position as the car #66 was found to be not in compliance with the championship technical regulations. After showing a great pace on both Free Practice on Friday, Liu Kai ended up being the fifth on Saturday morning qualifying.

Ever-improving Weiliang did his best qualifying so far this year. The Singaporean managed to place his car in the sixth position in the grid. On the other hand, Runacres saw his engine giving up on him after two laps.

On a safety-car-interrupted Race One, Pu Jun Jin claimed his maiden podium this season.

"I didn’t get well off the line today so I lost one position. It was a hot, tough race but I prepared well for these conditions. We improved a lot since last time here and I am happy with the third place."

At the start of the race, Weiliang had a heart dropping moment as he stalled the Razer sponsored car and was almost rear ended by an opponent. The Singaporean did not give up, crossing the line in 7th place overall, taking home the 5th place points in Class A.

Hutomo was 5th overall at the flag but he was penalized in 30 seconds for not parking correctly the car in grid, moving him back to 12th. Formula Renault debutant Liu Kai was involved in a race accident early on, crossing the finish line in 14th.

Starting from the very back of the grid, Runacres did a good start but a gravel incursion in the first laps prevented him to go much further in the classification. He still made up seven places in the race to finish 4th in Class B.

On a rather eventful 10-lap Sunday race Pu Jun Jin made a better start but he couldn’t keep the second place so settled for third, scoring his second podium of the weekend.

After a disappointing race one result, Hutomo climbed up through the field after losing ground at the start on his way to fourth. Speaking about his race, Hutomo said, "I made quite a good start but I lost a few places in the first corner. Then, I tried to make up as many positions as possible. If we didn’t have a bad set of tires in qualifying, this weekend could have been very different."

Liu Kai, who had fallen down the order as a result of bad start, finished the final race of the weekend in 9th but proved excellent pace in the process.

Weiliang and Runacres both did not finish.

Asian Formula Renault Series roars back into action at China’s Formula 1 track, the Shanghai International Circuit, on July 10-12.

 

Photo Courtesy of GCImages / FRD Sports

Asia Racing Team Positive Ahead of Zhuhai II

Asia Racing Team will line up a five-car team for the Asian Formula Renault Series Rnd 5 & 6 at the Zhuhai International Circuit. Team regulars Pu Jun Jin, Ni Weiliang, Darma Hutomo and James Runacres will be join by Chinese single seater racer Liu Kai for the third event of the season.

For the multi-tasking Liu Kai, this weekend will be his first in Formula Renault, although the Beijing racer is no stranger to single seaters having raced in the CFGP and recently in FIA Chinese F4. Looking ahead to the event Liu Kai said, "I’m really looking forward to my Asian Formula Renault debut with Asia Racing Team. I did not race this car before. I will use this race to improve my racecraft. This is a track that almost everyone on the grid knows well so it’s going to be a really close race."

The below-the-radar approach of Ni Weiliang paid off again in Sepang rounds. The Singaporean moved up in the ranks to fourth in the Drivers’ Standings. With temperatures expected to reach 35-degrees, Weiliang said, "I’m looking forward the weekend. The hot weather definitely makes things interesting."

Pu Jun Jin and two-time pole-position Darma Hutomo are serious contenders for a podium position, and will be hoping for a trouble-free weekend after a drama-filled weekend in Malaysia. Pu Jun Jin remains positive, "The feeling is good, the team is confident, as we saw we have a very competitive car!"

James Runacres sits currently in second place in the Class B Drivers’ Standings. British born Thailand resident rookie knows the circuit well and said about this weekend’s challenges, "Our strength has been our consistency – we have been performing well in each of the races so far, and I am looking forward to the weekend ahead. I am hoping my first win will come soon."

The Asia Racing Team quintet will get two practice sessions on Friday to familiarise themselves with the scorching Zhuhai circuit before qualifying and race one on Saturday. The final race of the weekend will take place late on Sunday afternoon. Both races will be broadcasted live on Zhuhai TV.

 

Photo courtesy of FRD Sports

Mixed feelings at scorching Sepang

It has been a weekend of mixed feelings. The main take-away from the Asian Formula Renault Series’s Sepang circuit round for the Asia Racing Team is that the team showed a great pace and just a series of unfortunate race incidents prevented further results. However Race Two Pole-Position Darma Hutomo stepped in the podium in Race One and teammate James Runacres was second twice in Class B.

Saturday’s morning qualifying session was, as always, a frantic battle for clear track and putting together the best lap possible. BlackArts Racing’s Maxx Ebenal and Hutomo fought hard for the pole-position and whilst the Canadian post the second best time overall, the young Indonesian claimed the pole position for Race Two by setting the fastest second best lap time overall. Pu Jun Jin qualified 4th for both races as BlackArts Racing’s Thomas Luedi was P9 and Sepang track debutant Ni Weiliang P13. Runacres qualified 3rd in Class B for both races too.

With temperature at Sepang hovering around the 32 degrees Celsius mark and with track temperatures having reached a searing 45 degrees Celsius, Saturday’s Race One started with an accidental contact between Ebenal and Hutomo in the first corner that took the BlackArts Racing car out of the race. Hutomo’s car was slightly damaged but it wasn’t enough to stop him finishing third in the 10-lap race.

Pu Jun Jin was the only top driver to start the race on used tires. The Chinese racer ran a clean race, took advantage of his competitors’ mistakes and took the checkered flag in the fourth position.

Further down in the field Thailand karting graduate Runacres went on to take his best finish yet in AFR Series’s Class B category. Runacres was running solid third when race returnee Luedi was taken off by a Class B top-contender, opening the door to the second position of the category to the British born Thailand based driver.

Still recovering from a fever that irked him during the week before the race weekend Weiliang finished 10th overall. The Singaporean was surprised when an opponent took his spot on the grid, slowing him down in the start. Weiliang lost a lap to the leader car after spinning on lap two.

Sunday’s Race Two saw an horrendous start to the race of the six Asia Racing Team engineered cars. Pole-position Hutomo lost his first place at the start of the race and his race was cut short when he collided with teammate Pu Jun Jin on lap four. The Foshan-native still managed to keep going with a front damaged car, crossing the finishing line in 4th position.

Meanwhile Ebenal, who had to start from the pitlane, managed to remount and claw his way back into 4th position but on the fourth lap he had a collision with a back marker which put an end to his strong run. BlackArts Racing’s teammate Luedi finished in 6th position, scoring his first points in the series and taking home the Master Class trophy.

The below-the-radar approach of Weiliang paid off again. The Singaporean was 10th at the flag, moving up in the ranks to fourth in the Drivers’ Standings.

Runacres planted his Class B machine in second place. The British racer was one of the few to have a relatively clean day. He lost two positions at the start but he quickly moved up to second, holding off the third place car through the second half of the race to secure the second place in the Class B Drivers’ Standings.

The Asian Formula Renault Series drivers will return to action in six weeks’ time at the Zhuhai International Circuit in China.

 

Race 1 Results:

P3 Darma Hutomo (INA)

P4 Pu Jun Jin (CHN)

P7 James Runacres (GBR) - 2nd Class B

P10 Ni Weiliang (SIN) 

DNF BlackArts Racing - Thomas Luedi (SWI)

DNF BlackArts Racing - Maxx Ebenal (CAN)

 

Race 2 Results:  

P4 Pu Jun Jin (CHN)

P6 BlackArts Racing - Thomas Luedi (SWI)

P7 James Runacres (GBR) - 2nd Class B

P10 Ni Weiliang (SIN) 

DNF Darma Hutomo (INA)

DNF BlackArts Racing - Maxx Ebenal (CAN)

 

Photo courtesy of FRD Sports

Quotes from the Asia Racing Team drivers

AFR SERIES Rnd 1 & 2

Zhuhai International Circuit, China PR

March 21/22

 

#3 Ni Weiliang: "It was a great weekend and I learned a lot from it. My team was fantastic in preparing my car and on driver coaching side. I am looking forward to the next race weekend at Sepang."

 

#8 Darma Hutomo (Humpuss Junior Racing Team): "The team gave me a great car and have been behind me all weekend. It was great to achieve my pole-position and finish my first race in the podium. I have faith in the team and the car and we head to Malaysia knowing we are very much in the fight."

 

#11 Pu Jun Jin: "Overall it was not an easy weekend for me but I am very happy about my pace in the second race. Now, we can build on this for the next race. We need to stay positive, keep improving and believing in ourselves because we know we can do better."

 

#17 James Runacres: "I am a bit disappointed how the weekend went. I can now see I have the pace but I need to do a lot of work on my race starts, hoping for a clean start in Sepang, and hopefully get a win this time. My team gave me a great car and did a great job."

 

#66 Maxx Ebenal (BlackArts Racing): "If I was being honest, I am a bit surprised by our results this past weekend. I don’t think it has quite sunk in, what we have achieved, with BlackArts Racing’s debut race weekend. Even though I came into the race weekend with confidence and high expectations, I didn’t imagine winning both races. I am now even more confident in my abilities, and I am looking forward to whatever opportunities comes next for me."

 

Philippe Descombes (Team Manager): "A terrific result and a great way to kick off the 2015 championship. Congratulations to Darma for his pole-position and to Maxx for his two wins; we are proud to be part of the team that helped BlackArts Racing achieve it. It’s very satisfying to see Ni Weiliang back on the podium, and the pace showed by Puj Jun Jin in Race 2. The weekend’s results don’t show the true pace of James in Class B as he had the speed to finish in the podium in both races."

 

Rodolfo Avila (Driver Coach): "I was focused on Darma’s car the all weekend. Darma is improving every single lap he is out there and overcame the Free Practice sensor troubles with a fantastic pole-position. Our pace looked really strong in the Race 1 and we are confident we will be translating it into another good performance in Sepang."

 

Sergio Fonseca (Operations Manager): "Firstly, it’s worth saying that, as both a sporting event and as a piece of pure spectacle, this weekend’s races were a great showcase for Asian Formula Renault Series. Needless to say, Asia Racing Team’s dominance did not come easy and is the fruit of many people hard work. For now, though, we can enjoy what has been a highly successful few weeks for the team.”

 

Photo courtesy of CW Cheung

Kick Off 2015 Season in Style

Asia Racing Team-run cars stole the show in the opening round of 2015 Asian Formula Renault Series. BlackArts Racing’s Maxx Ebenal won both races at the Zhuhai International Circuit and Darma Hutomo claimed his maiden pole on a weekend marked by the introduction of the latest generation of the Formula Renault 2.0 in Asia. Singapore’s Ni Weiliang also had a points filled weekend with a solid Class A third place in Race 2 whilst Pu Jun Jin and Class B rookie driver James Runacres also showed great pace over the weekend.

Saturday’s morning Qualifying session saw Humpuss Racing Junior Team’s Hutomo claiming his first single seater pole-position, beating Ebenal by a short 0,011 seconds margin. Pu Jun Jin qualified 5th and teammate Weiliang P9 overall. Ever-improving Runacres set an impressive second-fastest on the previous spec cars category.

In front of fully packed grandstands, Race 1 later in the day saw a trouble-free start from the two front-grid drivers. Hutomo saw himself quickly under pressure of his teammate. On lap 2 Ebenal overtook Hutomo and started to build a small gap. Hutomo, meanwhile, had his hands full fending off his second place. Once at front the BlackArts Racing car was pretty much untouchable. Hutomo managed to come back and reduced the gap to less than a second but it was not enough to prevent the first win of the weekend for Ebenal.

Foshan-native Pu Jun Jin had an uneventful race, starting and crossing the finish line in 5th. Further down the grid Weiliang, who started from 9th on the grid, soon found himself battling up in the mid-pack. He lost two positions in the first three laps but he recovered to P8 at the flag.

On his first ever single seater race James Runacres overcame strongly an unfortunate getaway to finish 4th, setting the Class B’s best lap time in the process.

As the grid for Race 2 is based on qualifying second best times, Ebenal saw himself on Sunday in pole-position and Hutomo in P3. Pu Jun Jin lined up in P4, James Runacres in P8 and second of Class B, and Weiliang in P9.

There was no shortage of action in the first laps of 12-lap Race 2 with the Top-5 giving the spectators and TV viewers a great motor racing show. Ebenal lost the first position at the start but he managed to stay in the tail of the new race leader. On the approach to T4, Hutomo was far too optimistic in attempting an overtaking manoeuvre for third position, ending up in the gravel after spinning and hitting the first place car. One lap after the accident, Safety-Car was deployed to remove a car stranded in a dangerous position.

It took only two laps after the restart to BlackArts Racing driver Ebenal regain the first position. Meanwhile Pu Jun Jin was running on a strong third by then. The Chinese driver had a shot at the podium but he ruined his chances missing the braking point in T4, ending up crashing into the tire wall.

With the second position car fighting to stay within the limits of the track, as the race went into the final stages Ebenal had built up a comfortable margin and went on to a much deserved second win.

Weiliang plan was to run a cautious race and avoid trouble to ensure a clean race and score points. And the 19-year old Singaporean smart strategy paid off as a flawless race took him to the podium of Class A and fifth overall.

A shaky race start did not prevent Runacres to perform again. The British racer progressed quickly up the field and crossed the line in fifth overall and second of the Class B peloton. However the Thailand based driver was controversially penalised 30 seconds for an alleged jump-start. This saw Runacres classified as finishing 4th in Class B.

The next round of the Asian Formula Renault Series takes place at the Sepang, Malaysia, on 25-26 April.

 

Race 1 Results:

P1 BlackArts Racing - Maxx Ebenal (CAN)

P2 Darma Hutomo (INA)

P5 Pu Jun Jin (CHN)

P8 Ni Weiliang (SIN) 

P11 James Runacres (GBR) - 2nd Class B
  
  
Race 2 Results:  

P1 BlackArts Racing - Maxx Ebenal (CAN)

P5 Ni Weiliang (SIN) 

P8 James Runacres (GBR) - 4th Class B

DNF Pu Jun Jin (CHN)

DNF Darma Hutomo (INA)

 

Photo courtesy of FRD Sports

Pu Jun Jin Completes ART line up

China’s Pu Jun Jin completes Asia Racing Team’s lineup for the 2015 Asian Formula Renault Series opening event at the Zhuhai International Circuit.

The Foshan native will join AFR Series alongside his European Le Mans Series LMP2 commitments. Kevin Pu Jun Jin is no stranger to the team and to the series. He returns to the AFR Series for a second season, following an impressive first season last year, winning twice at Shanghai and blitzed the field to score two pole positions in two Zhuhai rounds.

In 2014 Pu Jun Jin took part at full-time of the Formula Masters China Series, finishing 14th in the championship standings.

Pu Jun Jin will team up with fellow rookie James Runacres and experienced Formula Renault 2.0 racers Darma Hutomo and Ni Weiliang to complete the Pakelo Lubricants supported squad for the first event of the season.

Commenting about the season ahead, Philippe Descombes said, “Pu Jun Jin completes an extremely strong line-up for us. Having worked with him last season and seeing him continue to develop in single seaters, I have no doubt that Kevin will be a potential race winner from the start."

British driver James Runacres joins Asia Racing Team

Asia Racing Team will run James Runacres in the 2015 Asian Formula Renault Series in the recently-formed "Class B" category for the previous generation two-litre Tatuus cars. 20 year-old James from Great Britain will be one of the youngest in the field and makes the step up to single seater racing from a strong career in karting in Thailand.

James began his racing interests at 11 years old in Motorcross in Great Britain. However, due to educational and family commitments, he relocated to Thailand, where he quickly returned to motorsport but this time in karting and rapidly excelled.

Having achieved excellent results in major Go-Kart events, he attained 2nd place in the Thailand Kart Prix Championship, having only entered two races, and finished 3rd overall in the National Thailand Kart Championship in 2014, and 3rd again in the 2014 Rotax Max Challenge.

Due to his achievements in 2014, James has been put forward to drive in the Asian Formula Renault Series. He has already demonstrated that he is a driver to reckon with and respect.  Well aware of the major challenge which awaits him during his rookie campaign, he is determined to learn as much as possible as he strives to climb the order during the season.

Speaking about the season ahead, James said: "I am very excited to step up to single seaters and I want to thank my father and my team for their full support. I have complete confidence that the team and I can work well together in what will be my rookie year."

"We’re delighted to have him in the team and look forward to helping him reach his goals next season", said Team Manager Philippe Descombes, "AFR Series Class B is an excellent and affordable platform for developing young drivers looking to progress on the career ladder of single-seater motor racing. The competition will be fierce and this is going to be a learning season for James but we are looking for strong results throughout the season."

The 2015 Asian Formula Renault Series kicks off on March 20 at the Zhuhai International Circuit as part of the ever-popular Pan Delta Super Racing Festival. Once more the calendar comprises six two-race events and the series will visit the circuit of Zhuhai as well as in the Formula One racing tracks of Shanghai and Sepang.

Asia Racing Team add Ni Weiliang to AFR line-up

Ni Weiliang is set to compete in the Asian Formula Renault Series with Asia Racing Team during the 2015 season. Ni Weiliang joins already announced driver Darma Mangkuluhur Hutomo, returning to the competitive junior championship which expects a bumper field for the 2015 season.

19 year old Singaporean will be able to continue to progress throughout the season, building on last year¹s three round experience. Uber and Razer sponsored driver was a regular AFR Series Asian Class podium finisher last season but over the winter he has stepped it up to another level, moving to the main class of the championship.

Speaking about his race programme, Weiliang said, "I’m glad to be competing for Asia Racing Team for a full season in 2015. Upon testing the new car, I was immediately comfortable and confident in it, owing to the great experience of the team."

Team Manager Philippe Descombes, added, "It’s the natural step following his half season with the team last year. Weiliang tested the current car and showed his speed. Not only was his pace good, but Weiliang also has a great approach and attitude. It will be a steep learning curve to start with, but we¹re expecting good things."

Indonesian Darma Mangkuluhur Hutomo signs with Asia Racing Team

Asia Racing Team is delighted to announce the signing of Humpuss Junior Racing Team driver Darma Mangkuluhur Hutomo for the 2015 Asian Formula Renault Series season.

Darma joins Asia Racing Team after an impressive rookie season in the Formula Masters China Series where the Indonesian finished seventh overall. He also took part of AFR Series Rnd 5 & 6 and in the end of the season 2-hour Endurance race, performing to the highest levels and he has proven himself to be an exceptional and exciting young racing talent, warranting a place in the team.

Sponsored by Humpuss Group, Mangkuluhur City and Lor In Hotel & Resort , Darma had already the opportunity to drive the Formula Renault 2.0/13 the official test days at Zhuhai, posting the best lap time in both days.

Darma, said; "I am very happy to join Asia Racing Team this season. I know the team and I’m in a great position, surrounded by great people and I want to make the most of this opportunity. We will be aiming to establish ourselves as front-runners immediately at the first race and work to stay there for the remainder of the season."

Team Manager Philippe Descombes, commented; "We’re thrilled to have Darma with us for next season; he has proven his racing credentials time. He ended his Formula Masters China Series season on a high and enjoyed a successful AFR Endurance weekend in Zhuhai. I’m looking forward to a strong season in 2015 and I’m confident that Darma will shine on the AFR Series stage."

Driver Coach and former Asian Formula Renault Series champion Rodolfo Avila, added; "Darma is one of the most promising drivers in the Southeast Asia region and he was very impressive in the Test Days at Zhuhai. The competition this year is more fierce than ever but I’m expecting to see some strong results from him from the outset."

Hutomo confirms ART supremacy

Asia Racing Team showed supremacy in the Asian Formula Renault Series Official Test-Days at the Zhuhai International Circuit. Darma Hutomo was by far the fastest, as he topped the overall and Class A timesheets in both days. Ni Weiliang had no problem adapting to the new car and Class B teammate James Runacres made some auspicious progress.

The tests once again ran smoothly and the team was able to successfully complete the scheduled test programme. Humpuss Racing Junior Team protégé Darma Hutomo completed more than 200 laps in two days, giving the team valuable feedback. Hutomo’s time of 1:36.4 was an excellent time as the track conditions were not ideal.

Ni Weiliang had the opportunity to drive the Formula Renault 2.0/13 for the first time this week. The Singaporean driver completed all the outstanding items on the team’s test programme, and closed the Test Days with his best lap time ever around Zhuhai circuit.

British racer James Runacres continued his work of understanding his car behavior, trying various setups in both performance and long runs. He finished the second day closer to the Class B favourites.

"It has been a very productive test," declared Team Manager Philippe Descombes. "We again tested some very important things for the future. The team gathered some more useful data and practiced race-relevant operations. We covered the whole of the planned mileage and the cars ran reliably. Everybody in the team worked relentlessly on a tight schedule, and we are now looking forward to the season opener in less than three weeks’ time."

Driver Coach Rodolfo Avila, added, "Darma was particularly fast these days. He got used to the new car quickly and he was the fastes in both, old and new tires. For sure, we still need to learn and improve the car. But I think we’re heading in the right direction. I am sure that we are going to show up at the first race and be spot on."

The 2015 Asian Formula Renault Series kicks off on March 20 at the Zhuhai International Circuit as part of the ever-popular Pan Delta Super Racing Festival.

 

ART will take part of AFR Series Test Days

AFR Series Official Test-Days will be held on March 2 and 3 at the Zhuhai International Circuit, People’s Republic of China.

The Official Test Days concept will enable teams and drivers to gain a head start on preparations for the "regular season". Asia Racing Team drivers will enjoy a total six-hour of track time per day with official timing.

Speaking about the Test-Days ahead, Team Manager Philippe Descombes said, "We have new car this season and a new set of regulations to race under. We will try to collect as much data as possible and work on different car setups. This is an excellent opportunity to test before the season start as usually we don’t have so much track time available at Zhuhai."

The AFR Series season kicks off in Zhuhai on March 22 as part of Pan Delta Super Racing Weekend.

 

Drivers interested to join, please contact us for further information:

E-mail: art@art-motorsports.com

Tel: 0086 756 3394 811

Stepping Into a New Era

Asia Racing Team will be an integral part of the AFR Series once again in 2015, confirming its commitment to running a multi-car entry on the modernized, fresh-faced series.

Recognising Asia’s long-standing single seater feeder series as a prime proving ground for the young drivers of the future, the AFR Series enters a new era in 2015, with the introduction of an all new car featuring a 210 bhp 2.0-litre engine produced by Renault Sport.

With a chassis from Tatuus, the AFR Series will see Asia Racing Team continue a long relationship with the Italian racecar manufacturer. Lighter than its predecessor at 505 kg and with a paddleshift gearbox, the new car promises to be an exciting challenge for young drivers in the region.

Currently in advanced discussions with a number of drivers, Asia Racing Team isn’t ruling out a capacity five-car line-up for this year – a category the team acknowledges as the “best junior single-seater championship in the China”.

Asia Racing Team took delivery of the first of its new cars last week.

Team Manager Philippe Descombes, said, "Formula Renault 2.0 is a real breeding ground for single seaters in Asia, as we’ve seen with Jazeman [Jaafar], Alex [Imperatori], Rio [Haryanto], Sandy [Stuvik], or even Rodolfo [Avila] and gives drivers the skills they need. We see the introduction of the new car as an important new chapter for the team, for Asian motorsports and the entire team are excited for the future."

Drivers wishing to discuss testing or 2015 options with Asia Racing Racing, please contact art@art-motorsports.com


Stunning Victory for Senna Iriawan in AFR Endurance Race

Asia Racing Team driver Senna Iriawan took a stunning victory with a mature and impressive performance in the first edition of the AFR Endurance Race at the Zhuhai International Circuit. Rodolfo Avila and Leo Wong were third at the flag. Darma Hutomo finished fourth on a race dominated by Asia Racing Team cars.

The Indonesian racer came out on top after 2 hour of racing but he didn’t have it all his own way. Starting from the pole-position Darma Hutomo was the first leader of the race but quickly Rodolfo Avila, who line up from P8, took the lead. The Macanese driver pulled a solid 45 seconds lead on his stint. Behind car #82 teammates Hutomo and Senna had a hot battle for second with Modena Motorsport drivers before the first round of pit stops.

Avila pitted on lap 27 with Wong taking over but the Hong Kong native immediately had a starter problem. The duo lost one minute and half to get back on track. Senna emerged from the first round of stops as the new leader. Meanwhile Hutomo was already struggling with a lack of top speed, doing his best to keep his podium position.

Wong moved from eight to sixth and was the first to pit from the frontrunners. Avila did a all-or-nothing last stint, setting the best lap time in the process. Taking some risks, the former Asian Formula Renault champion came from P6 to P3.

Keeping a very steady pace to hold the lead, Senna claimed his maiden single seater win in style.

Speaking about his victory, Senna said, "I am very happy with the result. The team gave me a great car and I think we’ve shown it’s not always about being aggressive; it’s about being consistent and pushing hard. Pity my Humpuss Junior Racing Team teammate Darma couldn’t make into the podium with me as he was pretty strong in the first part of the race."

AFR Series race winner Pu Jun Jin was forced to retire on lap 8 because of an ECU glitch on his car when he was already lapping second overall. Yang Xi and Wu Zhou had an unfortunate end of the race as Yang Xi landed in the gravel trying to avoid a spinning car with two minutes to go.

Commenting on the race Team Manager Philippe Descombes, said, "Overall we are very happy with our performance and how everything went here. We never did a 2-hour Formula Renault race before. This is a kind of race that requires a different approach and teamwork. We had very short time to prepare ourselves for the challenge but our strategy was close to perfection and our pace was very competitive throughout the race."

 

Race Result:

P1 Senna Iriawan

P3 Rodolfo Ávila / Leo Wong

P4 Darma Hutomo

DNF Yang Xi / Wu Zhou

DNF Pu Jun Jin

Strong Pace in Season Finale

The 2014 AFR Series season came to an end last weekend at the Zhuhai International Circuit with Asia Racing Team showing strong pace throughout the weekend, taking the two last pole-positions of the year.

Pu Ju Jin started the weekend in good shape. The Foshan native took pole position for the first and second races in a dramatic qualifying session. Qualifying for the last rounds of the season couldn’t have been more exciting. Pu Jun Jin was the first to start on a flying lap but the session was red flagged after five minutes only. In the restart the Shanghai double race winner got stuck in the traffic and just did the pole-position lap time on his last attempt, securing the pole-position by a slim 0.105 seconds over 2010 Formula Renault BARC Champion Alice Powell.

On a very low grip track teammates Li Chao and Ni Weiliang had a rather difficult time: they qualified 11th and 13th for both race respectively. Inauspicious Li Chao hit the wall on the pitlane exit. Fortunately a quick change of the front wing allowed him to return to the session. Weiliang wasn’t that lucky and ended up spinning on T7 trying to break his best lap time, not rejoining the session.

Both races took place on Saturday. Feist shuffled into third in the first corner of Round 12 poleman Pu Jun Jin rallied back to retake the second position with three laps to go, posting the best lap time in the process.

"For me it’s a great achievement to take the pole position and to finish in second place in race, especially because this race was very difficult due to the tricky track conditions", said Pu Jun Jin.

Li Chao and Ni Weiliang took a cautious approach to the race. The Beijing driver finished P10, two positions in front of his Singaporean teammate, who is still recovering from some health difficulties that affect his performance in Shanghai.

A few hours break between the races allowed the Asia Racing Team men to analyse data and make some improvements to their cars. By the time of the second race track conditions had improved a little.

Round 13 start saw Pu Jun Jin managing to keep the first position in the first corner but a gravel incursion on T4 cost him nine places. A strong come back from P10 took him to P4, and first of Asian class. 

After a disappointing first race Li Chao had a stronger performance in the second race. Team JR driver was always on the fight for an Asian class podium result, crossing fourth in the category and 7th overall.

Ni Weiliang was an unfortunate casualty of the tricky cold conditions. The young Singaporean was unable to finish as drivers struggled to stay on the low grip track.

Although Thomas Luedi was forced to sit out for the last two events of the season, recovering from the injuries sustained on Round 9 accident at Zhuhai, the Shanghai based Swiss driver scored enough points to finish the season 3rd in Master Class.

The 2014 season may be complete however Asia Racing will be back out in force this winter, expecting to start testing the new Formula Renault 2.0 car by the end of January.

 

Race 1 Results:

P2 Pu Jun Jin (CHN) - 1st of Asian Class

P10 Li Chao (CHN) - 5th of Asian Class

P12 Ni Weiliang (SIN) - 5th of International Class

 
  
Race 2 Results:  

P4 Pu Jun Jin (CHN) - 1st of Asian Class

P7 Li Chao (CHN) - 4th of Asian Class

DNF Ni Weiliang (SIN) 

 

All Guns Blazing for 2-hour Endurance Race

The Zhuhai International Circuit will host the first ever 2-hour AFR Endurance Race as part as the “Circuit Hero 500” weekend. Asia Racing Team will arrive at the race with guns blazing.

The Macau founded Zhuhai based team will run a formidable five-car lineup, including two Formula Renault 2.0 in partnership with Indonesia’s Humpuss Junior Racing Team.

The field of drivers will include 2013 Asian Formula Renault Champion and Porsche Carrera Cup Asia top runner Rodolfo Avila, who will team up with 2013 AFR Series Master Class Champion Leo Wong; 2014  AFR Series race winner Pu Jun Jin; and China Formula Grand Prix top drivers Yang Xi and Wu Zhou. Indonesian rising stars Darma Mangkuluhur Hutomo and Yasuo Senna Iriawan complete the stellar line up for the race.

 It all goes down December 14.

 

Race Format:

- Race (2 hour + 1 lap),

- No Qualifying or Official Practice,

- Grid order by “lucky draw”,

- One to Three Drivers per car,

- 45-min maximum stint,

 

Photo courtesy of FRD Sports

Exciting Line Up for the Season Finale

Former AFR Series champions Asia Racing Team will field a three car team for the AFR Series Rnd 12 & 13 at Zhuhai this weekend. Single seater regulars Pu Jun Jin and Ni Weiliang will be join by Chinese GT racer Li Chao in the season finale.

Following a dominant performance in the last round at Shanghai, Pu Jun Jin will try to replicate the double win success at Zhuhai. The Foshan native knows well the 14 corners of Zhuhai Circuit, where he achieved his maiden Formula Renault pole-position last Spring.

After the appearances in the opening round at Zhuhai and in the last event at Shanghai, Ni Weiliang will be back for his third race weekend of the season. The young Singaporean is taking part in the race as preparation for the next season.

Li Chao, a race winner in BOSS GP and a Porsche Carrera Cup Asia regular, will make a one-off appearance in AFR Series season finale this weekend. The Beijing racer is no stranger to the Formula Renault 2.0 having finish 6th in last year round 8. The 2014 BOSS GP champion will use this race to sharpen his race craft and build toward next season.

Team Manager Philippe Descombes said, "We have a great line up for the weekend. Pu Jun Jin is a proven race winner in the series and Li Chao will collect some precious mileage ahead of a busy 2015 season. Weiliang is still on his learning curve. He will be a great asset to the team next year and we look forward to many strong results together. I think we have all we need to get the most out of the weekend.”

The AFR Series season final runs from 12-13 December, starting with the official free practice and qualifying sessions on Friday 12th. The two races will take place on Saturday 13th at 11.25 and 15.20 (local time) respectively.

Pu Jun Jin completes stellar weekend with double win

Asia Racing Team travelled to Shanghai to take two dominant wins at the AFR Series Rnd 10 and 11. Series returnee Pu Jun Jin took his maiden victory in the series on Saturday’s race, repeating the success on Sunday.

Pu Jun Jin was not the only Asia Racing Team driver at Shanghai who had a reason to cheer. Absent since Sepang Rnd 3 & 4, Leo Wong rounded off his AFR Series season with a hard-fought win in Master Class Rnd 11. Fighting with a virus of some kind since the first day of the event, Ni Weiliang also returned to the Asian Formula Renault to claim a double podium in the International Class.

After struggling start in the first and only Free Practice session, Pu Jun Jin managed to qualify in the first row from second place on the grid. Teammate Leo Wong impressed by qualifying sixth overall and pole-position in the Masters Class. Ni Weiliang sit out in practice this morning, and did the track learning on qualify. He would start P12 for both races.

Pole-sitter Alice Powell stalled on the grid, creating the chaos behind her, calling out the safety-car. Pu Jun Jin didn’t inherit the first position but he would move up to first after a few corners. Once in the lead, Pu Jun Jin pulled away to win comfortably. The Chinese racer also scored the maximum points for the Asian Class. 

Without taking unnecessary risks, but improving every lap, teammate Ni Weiliang was P9 at the flag, and second of the International Class. 2013 Master Class Champion Wong had a short race, retiring moments after the start with a broken drive-shaft.

In tricky weather conditions, race two took place in the early morning on Sunday. Starting from P2, Pu Jun Jin tried unsuccessful to make "a move" to first place at the first corner. The safety car came out halfway through the race and the, which bunched up the pack. It helped Pu Jun Jin, who passed Alice Powell for first with two laps to go, claiming a stellar second win.

Race winner Pu Jun Jin said, “That was not an easy win. The conditions certainly weren’t perfect. I was fairly slow at the start of the race. But once I got into my rhythm, I had good race pace and I knew I could overtake Alice."

After the disappointment on Saturday, Leo Wong didn’t let opportunity go to waste. The Master Class poleman led from lights to flag, taking a victory by almost 25 seconds.

Weiliang endured a learning "25 minute + 1 lap" race to cross the line 10th, and 3rd of the International Class.

Speaking about the weekend, Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, "It was great result for the team. It was a bit nerve-wracking weekend but Pu Jun Jin thoroughly deserved this result. Leo put in one of the stand out performances in Master Class. He was untouchable the whole weekend. Due to the circumstances, Weiliang did his job in perfection, making the most out of his track time, gathering some precious experience for next year."

In four weeks from now the AFR Series is coming back at Zhuhai for the season finale.

 

Race 1 Results:

P1 Pu Jun Jin (CHN) - 1st of Asian Class

P9 Ni Weiliang (SIN) - 2nd of International Class

DNF Leo Wong (HKG)
  
  
Race 2 Results:  

P1 Pu Jun Jin (CHN) - 1st of Asian Class

P6 Leo Wong (HKG) - 1st of Master Class

P10 Ni Weiliang (SIN) - 3rd of International Class

 

 

Photo courtesy of FRD Sports

 

Strong Driver Line-up Assembled for Shanghai

 

Asia Racing Team will bring a refreshing line-up to the AFR Series forthcoming race at the Shanghai International Circuit as part of China round of FIA World Endurance Championship. Singapore’s Ni Weiliang, China’s Pu Jun Jin and Hong Kong’s Leo Wong will be back in the team for the Round 10 & 11 of the season.

 

Following a solid appearance in the opening round of the series in March, Team Razer supported driver Ni Weiliang will be slotted into the team for the final two AFR Series races of the year. New to the China’s Formula One track, the 19 year old Singaporean, who will be arriving at the track in style in a Uber sponsored car, has very specific goals of getting to know the track better this race. He hopes to continue to build on the positives and get the most out of the weekend ahead.

 

Foshan driver Pu Jun Jin was the pole-position in the opening round of the series at Zhuhai. Commitments in Formula Masters China Series and Asian Le Mans Series didn’t allow him to return to the series until this weekend, where he will be determined to finish in the podium.

 

2013 Master Class Champion Leo Wong will make also his come back to the series after a strong appearance at Sepang. Last month Wong had the opportunity to test in Shanghai and is looking forward a podium position in the "Gentleman Driver" category.

 

AFR Series regular Thomas Luedi will miss the next two events of the AFR Series as he continues to recovery from an injury he sustained during the Zhuhai race in September.

 

Team Manager Philippe Descombes, said, "It is great to return to Shanghai in the Formula Renault and with this drivers’ line-up. We were following up Pu Jun Jin from the beginning of the season, we believe he has a very good potential as showed in Zhuhai March race. Weiliang has a lot to learn, as he never race in this track before. I expect to see him improve considerably as we go through the weekend. Leo has worked really hard over the last two years and has made good progress. We are looking forward a great weekend at Shanghai. Pity we will not count with Thomas Luedi this time as we are certain he’d perform in his home race. We wish him a speedy recovery."

Thomas is OK and that’s what it matters

Masters Class title contender Thomas Luedi, British F3 podium finisher Li Zhi Cong and the whole Asia Racing Team endured a dramatic AFR Series Rnd 8 & 9 weekend at the Zhuhai International Circuit, People’s Republic of China.

After a dominant Friday’s Official Free Practice sessions from the Asia Racing Team powered by Pakelo Lubricants duo, the Qualifying session was overshadowed by two red flag periods that prevented Li Zhi Cong and Luedi - who struggled with the front grip of his repainted and now called "Dark Knight" Formula Renault 2.0 - to qualify further up the grid. The Chinese was fifth fastest in the Qualifying session and his teammate thirteenth.

As has been the competitive nature of the championship for the whole of the 2014 season it was a tough battle for the top spots – and in the opening laps Li Zhi Cong was one of many drivers who would sit on top before being pushed back down the order as the session was twice interrupted and the lap times did not drop as a result.

Li Zhi Cong said: “I did not drive competitively this car for two years and I’ve been in catch up-mode the whole weekend. The second qualifying red flag came out right at the wrong time. That hurt my position without a doubt.”

If qualifying frustrated Li, then Race 1 should have given him a one-way ticket to desperation. The Guangzhou native lost a position at the start but quickly got back his position, overtaking Kimi Qin in style. On lap 2 he overtook the former Red Bull Junior Team driver Jim Kato and moved up to 4th. The Yumin Restaurant racer looked to be in control and ready to challenge the third place until he spun at Turn 10 on the still dirty and slippery surface. He managed to recover from the back of the field to eighth at the finish, posting the best lap time of the race in the process.

Eleventh went to Luedi after a stirring fightback from a high-speed excursion at T14 while battling for the Masters Class podium early on. The Bundshop and Soleria sponsored driver was 4th of the Masters Class at the flag.

Sunday’s Race 2 happened on Sunday afternoon in front to a huge crowd. A solid but careful start paid off for Luedi as he emerged unscathed to the first corner mess. The Shanghai resident moved his way up to first within the first three laps of the race. However, with less than ten minutes to go, Luedi lost the backend of his car at T2 and spun backwards into the inside wall.

The race was immediately interrupted to assist the injured driver. The 40-year-old Swiss driver was transferred to Zhuhai’s Sun Yat-Sen University Hospital, and then to Matilda International Hospital in Hong Kong. Luedi, who underwent surgery, left the hospital five days after, and is projected to make a full recovery.

Starting from P5, Li crossed the line in P4, right in the tail of the third position driver but his attention was already focused on his teammate condition.

Deputy Team Manager Sergio Fonseca, said: "It was a tough weekend for the team but the most important is that Thomas is fine. Everyone knows motorsport is dangerous and things like this can happen, and it shows how safe these cars are. Asia Racing Team and Thomas wish to thank the medical staff of the Zhuhai’s Hospital, Matilda Hospital and the medical intervention team at the Zhuhai circuit for their care and professional assistance, and all those who have supported him in his continuing recovery."

AFR Series next race meeting is at the world-famous Shanghai Formula 1 circuit as part of FIA World Endurance Series weekend in China.

 


Race 1 Results:

P8 Li Zhi Cong (CHN) - 5th of International Class

P11 Thomas Luedi (SUI) - 4th of Masters Class

   
Race 2 Results:

No official results as the race was not completed at 65%



Photo courtesy of FRD Sports

 

Asia Racing Team - Statement

Asia Racing Team is pleased to announce that our driver Thomas Luedi’s recovery is going well.

The Swiss driver was involved in a crash during the last Sunday AFR Series race at Zhuhai.

He is expected to be released from the hospital in coming days and it is expected that Thomas will make a full recovery from the injuries sustained.

AFR Series Promoter Confirms New Formula Renault 2.0 for 2015

Renault Sport and FRD Motorsports have signed an agreement for the introduction of the latest generation of the Formula Renault 2.0 in China, beginning with 2015 season.

In the wake of the announcement of an agreement with Chinese automaker Dongfeng for the Chinese market of production vehicles, Renault is reninforcing its presence in China. From 2015, Renault Sport will entrust the Formula Renault 2.0 China series to the promoter FRD Motorsports.

After its European launch, cowned with sucess in 2013, the Formula Renault 2.0 China will aim enable young drivers to emerge and prepare to make their way to the highest levels of the sport.

The car will be available in China at RMB 600,000 (exclufing transportation from Europe to China).

For further enquiries about the car and 2015 racing and testing packages, do not hesitate to contact us at art@art-motorsports.com

Double Class Podium for Humpuss Duo

It was a weekend of mixed emotions for Asia Racing Team’s AFR Series team with rookies Senna Iriawan and Darma Hutomo taking their first Asian Class podium positions in the series at the Zhuhai International Circuit. However it was heartbreak for Thomas Luedi and Thomas Chow who both failed to finish in the podium in Masters Class.

In a tough Saturday’s 25-minute qualifying session which was interrupted by two red flag periods, Humpuss Junior Racing Team driver Senna secured a third row start on the grid for Round 6 despite getting caught up in traffic. Teammate Hutomo set ninth quickest best lap time. Luedi was P10 overall and P3 of Masters Class but his session was cut off short as he had been t-boned by another driver. Masters Class returnee Thomas Chow qualified P16 out of eighteen cars, and P7 of the gentleman driver category.

Saturday’s race did not start well for the ART quartet. Senna had an awful getaway and lost two places. Although Hutomo had a much better start he went too wide trying overtaking an opponent on the opening lap, dropping back to 11th. Further back Luedi had a gravel excursion in T1 while Chow stalled his car in the warm up lap, starting the 10-lap race from the very back of the grid.

The Safety-Car was called in on lap 3 to allow the track to be cleared, and the race restarted two laps later. Senna took the opportunity to pressure the cars in front, moving up two positions in two laps, crossing the finish line in 6th. Teammate Hutomo kept fighting through the field and came up 8th at the chequered flag. On their Formula Renault racing debut, the Humpuss Racing Junior Team duo finished 2nd and 3rd in Asian Class.

Speaking about his first Formula Renault race experience, Senna said, “I stalled at the start but could make up a few places after the Safety-Car period. The race field is very competitive here and I am enjoying the experience.”

In Masters Class, Chow finished fifth and Luedi sixth. The Swiss driver was forced into a spin to avoid a collision when trying to move up to fourth in the class.

The spectators were presented with a thrilling display of racing on Sunday. Starting from eight, Hutomo had an excellent getaway, moving up to fifth in the first corner. On the opposite, Senna struggled again at the start, dropping to eight. Luedi and Chow both perform safe starts. The chaos was installed in the end of first lap with three cars going into spin at T14. Hutomo bravely escaped by a cat’s whisker to Alice Powell’s car out of control. Owing both to consistency an outright pace, Senna was up to fifth. Staying out of trouble Chow inherited thirteenth place, while teammate Luedi was the unluckiest in the team. The Swiss racer, who showed a much stronger pace this weekend, ran too wide in T14, losing the control of the car during that time, crashing heavily into the inside barriers.

With 15 minutes and one lap to go the race restarted. Senna overtook Hutomo on lap 5 and put up a tooth-and-nail fight with the top drivers in the series for the third place overall. The young Indonesian was on a mission and was momentarily in third but couldn’t keep the position, dropping to 5th when the Safety-Car was deployed for a second time. The race finished under Safety-Car conditions with Hutomo crossing the finish line just behind his compatriot in 6th. They both repeated the Asian Class 2nd and 3rd places in Round 7.

Starting from sixteenth Hong Kong native Chow had a trouble-free race, but also survived a series of fights for positions throughout the middle portion of the race, ending a valiant twelfth and fourth of Masters Class.

Comment about his second AFR Series race, Hutomo said, “I had a very good start, which I think was the pivotal point of race. The team gave me an extremely good car, which made possible for me to be in the podium in both races. I’m really happy and this was a valuable experience.”

Next up for the team is the autumn’s Pan Delta Super Racing Weekend at Zhuhai, September 19-21.



Race 1 Results:

P5 Senna Iriawan (IND) - 2nd of Asian Class

P8 Darma Hutomo  (IND) - 3rd of Asian Class

P15 Thomas Chow (HKG) - 5th of Masters Class

P16 Thomas Luedi (SUI) - 6th of Masters Class

   
Race 2 Results:

P5 Senna Iriawan (IND) - 2nd of Asian Class

P6 Darma Hutomo  (IND) - 3rd of Asian Class

P12 Thomas Chow (HKG) - 4th of Masters Class

DNF Thomas Luedi (SUI)



Photo courtesy of Stanley Iriawan

 
Stay tuned for the latest updates by following us on Twitter ‘@ARTMotors’ or on Facebook by searching ‘AsiaRacingTeamMotorsports’.

Asia Racing Team links up with Humpuss Racing Junior Team

Asia Racing Team will team up with Humpuss Racing Junior Team for Round 6 and 7 of AFR Series on June 14/15 at the Zhuhai International Circuit, People’s Republic of China.
 
Humpuss Racing Junior Team protégés Darma Hutomo and Yasuo Senna Iriawan will drive the Asia Racing Team run Formula Renault 2.0 in the third event of the season. The Indonesian duo will follow in the footsteps of compatriot Rio Haryanto who raced with Asia Racing Team in the 2008 Asian Formula Renault Challenge and Formula Asia 2.0.
 
With vast experience and titles in Indonesian national karting championship, Darma Hutomo and Yasuo Senna Iriawan are both competing this year in Formula Masters China Series. Hutomo and Senna are both Asian Karting Open Championship (Junior Class) former champions.

Hutomo and Senna are no strangers to the team or the circuit, having prepared Formula Masters China Series season for two days under Asia Racing Team supervision last winter.
 
Philippe Descombes, Team Manager of Asia Racing Team: “We are very proud that the Humpuss Racing Junior Team have entrusted us with Darma and Senna. They don’t have much Formula Renault experience but they are both young and quick drivers with exactly the right attitude to be AFR Series front-runners from the very start.”
 
Stanley Iriawan, Manager of Humpuss Racing Junior Team: "We are pleased to cooperate with one of the Asia’s prominent racing teams. We will be looking to use this event as preparation for the remaining races of Formula Masters China Series. I am sure that Darma and Senna will be a strong force in this race and can deliver a good result."

 


Chow to Return in Zhuhai

2012 AFR Series Masters Class first runner up Thomas Chow is expected to make his race return with Asia Racing Team at the next round of AFR Series at Zhuhai in two weeks’ time.

Due to professional commitments, the Hong Kong native has been absent from the racetrack. In 2013 he only competed in the race of Shanghai, finishing 3rd of Masters Class in the second race. To get back in shape in the series, Chow has been driving the Asia Racing Team-run Tatuus-made Formula Renault 2.0 at the Zhuhai International Circuit.

Speaking ahead of the weekend, Thomas Chow said "This will be my first race this season as I have missed the previous five races due to personal affairs. Coming back to Zhuhai since the last race 18 months ago is exciting. Besides enjoying the races, it’d be wonderful as well as meaningful to go on the podium in the Father’s Day weekend after missing the Sepang races due to Mother’s Day.”

Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, “We’re very pleased to have Thomas back in the team for this meeting. He has been sidelined since May last year but he can’t be written off in the Masters Class podium race. He has been testing with us in Zhuhai and he knows the track very well.”

The AFR Series Rnd 6 & 7 will take place in Zhuhai from June 13th to 15th.

Rock-solid performance at Sepang

AFR Series travelled to Malaysia for the Round 3, 4 and 5 at the Sepang International Circuit, the home of the Malaysian Grand Prix. All in all, it was a race full of emotions for Asia Racing Team trio.

2013 AFR Series Masters Class Champion Leo Wong make it again to the first step of the podium, Thomas Luedi consolidated his second place in Masters class drivers’ standings and local boy Mitchell Cheah had an inspirational single seater debut.

Due to the late arrival of the containers, the non-official practices were cut off, leaving the drivers with a single opportunity to learn the track in the two official practices. Asia Racing Team trio did know the track from previous testing experiences but never ever drive the Formula Renault 2.0 in the ostentatious circuit of Malaysia.

Friday held the single qualifying session and the first race of the weekend. Cheah was quick to post a time good enough to send him straight into front row, but with the ever-changing positions and with three minutes remaining the young Malaysian had been pushed down into fourth place. Teammates Wong and Luedi qualified tenth and eleventh, second and third in Masters class, respectively.

Starting from the second row for Friday’s race Cheah start was far from impressive, resulting in the #22 car falling to the middle of the field. The 16 year old fought his way back through the order but two consecutive spins and a driveshaft failure did not allow him to complete his first ever formula car race. But the team’s misfortune in this race did not end here.

Running solid second in the Masters class, a puncture in the last lap forced race-returnee Wong to finish the 10-lap race out of the “Gentleman Drivers” category podium. Switzerland’s Luedi ended up to be the team’s best representative, crossing the finish line in 8th, being P2 in Masters Class.

The second race at Sepang saw Cheah start from fourth on the grid, making an excellent start the young Malaysian showed a strong pace for the first seven laps but a spin on lap 8 took way from Cheah a Top-5 result. He managed to finish eight and third of Asian class.

Further back in the field Wong had a rock-solid race to secure a much deserved second place in Masters class just behind his teammate Cheah, whilst Luedi was also look racy, holding Wang Yang to finish P10 and in the last step of Masters class podium.

In dry conditions, the third and final race start was a slightly chaotic affair and despite a good getaway initially from the line, Cheah lost ground in run into the first corner. Decided to get his position back, Cheah did a flawless race with some impressive overtaking manoeuvres to finish P5, third in Asian class again.

In Masters class, Wong already took the lead soon after the start on the third of 13 laps and didn’t lose it anymore until the finish. He was followed in the category podium ceremony by his teammate Luedi, who completed the weekend with three precious podium scores.

Commenting after the weekend, Deputy Team Manager Sergio Fonseca said: “We are taking a lot of positive things with us from this race. Thomas and Leo performed as good as we expected and they improved a lot over the weekend. Mitchell impressed all of us for his natural speed and he still has room for improvement. One last word of appreciation to our boys who endured a tough Wednesday and Thursday to make sure everything was ready on time for the first practice session on Thursday morning.”

 

 

Race 1 Results:
  
P8 Thomas Luedi (SUI) - 2nd of Masters Class

P10 Leo Wong (HKG) - 4th of Masters Class

DNF Mitchell Cheah (MAL)
  
  
Race 2 Results:  

P8 Mitchell Cheah (MAL)  - 3rd of Asian Class

P9 Leo Wong (HKG) - 2nd of Masters Class

P10 Thomas Luedi (SUI) - 3rd of Masters Class


Race 3 Results:

P5 Mitchell Cheah (MAL) - 3rd of Asian Class

P6 Leo Wong (HKG) - 1st of Masters Class

P7 Thomas Luedi (SUI) - 2nd of Masters Class

 

Photo courtesy of AFR Series

 

 

Stay tuned for the latest updates by following us on Twitter ‘@ARTMotors’ or on Facebook by searching ‘AsiaRacingTeamMotorsports’.

Leo Wong seals a race return at Sepang

 Asia Racing Team is proud to announce that Leo Wong will team up alongside Thomas Luedi and a third driver to be announced for the 2014 AFR Series Rnd 3, 4 & 5 at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia.

The Hong Kong native knows Asia Racing Team well after defending its colors in the 2013 AFR Series, conquering the Masters class. Sidelined this season due to personal commitments, Wong has driven his Formula Renault 2.0 on a few occasions at the Zhuhai International Circuit, South China, keeping himself in shape for a planned return.

Speaking about his race return, Leo Wong said: “I am very excited! Especially I will get to race at the Sepang International Circuit, which is the first time for me. I’m also quite relaxed than before since I won’t be competing for the entire season this year, so I don’t have to worry about the results and just enjoy the race as much as possible.”

Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, “It is great to have Leo back in the team. He is probably one of the fastest Gentleman Drivers out there. He qualified, started and ran his car up front at many of the races last year and impressed a lot of people, especially us. Even though Sepang is a new track for him he will be a serious contender in the Masters class during the weekend.”

The AFR Series Race of Sepang will take place from May 8th to 12th.

ART opens AFR Series season with a dominant performance

Asia Racing Team put on a dominant performance throughout the three-day AFR Series Rnd 1 & 2 event at the Zhuhai International Circuit last weekend.

The team’s combined knowledge of GT and single-seater racing drove momentum in a strong engineering performance, producing one of the fastest cars. Pu Jun Jin’s car was by far the quickest over the weekend and teammates Thomas Luedi and Ni Weiliang also showed stronger pace.

AFR Series debutant Pu Jun Jin has stormed to an impressive double pole position Saturday morning around the South China circuit. Having been the man to beat all the weekend the Chinese racer stormed to set the two fastest times during qualifying on his way to securing pole position for the both races of the weekend.

Team mates Luedi and Weiliang, who were also locked in tense championship class battles, enjoyed a strong showing and lined up eleventh and thirteenth on the Race One grid. For the first time the second best time set by the drivers during the qualifying session determined the grid position for the second race.

Pu Jun Jin took second place in a dramatic race on Saturday afternoon. The Foshan native hadn’t managed to hold first off the line, having dropped to 4th on the first lap. The #11 red and white didn’t stay long in fourth, overtaking Qin Tianqi in T4 on lap 2. But Pu Jun Jin was not about to give up as the Chinese pulled a brave overtaking manoeuvre into T9, putting him ahead of Shimono Shigetomo. In the three last laps Pu Jun Jin closed the gap to the leader, setting the fastest lap time in the process.

Further back in the field Luedi endured a tough race to finish 13th while Weiliang was unable to finish after contact with another car with two laps to go. The Swiss racer still managed to finish third of Master class.

Sunday’s 25 minute + 1 lap race was the apotheosis of the weekend. The race started in the wrong foot for Pu Jun Jin, who had another uninspiring start. The Chinese driver lost three positions before the first corner but he wasted no time however in taking back the lost positions quickly moving up to third, and then second. He passed the race one winner Jim Ka To with a very determined move through T4 just before the safety car came out on lap 2 to clear away the car of Luedi.

In the restart Pun Jun Jin started to pressurise race leader Shimono Shigetomo and in the very last lap he managed to overtake in style the former AFR Series champion, crossing the line as race winner, receiving a big and fair applause from the crowd.

After celebrating the triumph in the podium, Pu Jun Jin got a 30 second penalty for alleged driving infringements on T4. He still managed to be second in the Asian class.

After a careful getaway, Singapore’s Weilaing had an eventful race in the second half of the field. As the race began to settle, Team Razor driver was still progressing through the field and keeping out of trouble while others weren’t. This meant he had soon passed a multitude of cars, including Ray Chan and Hong Kong touring car legend Kenneth Lau, on his way to clinching 11th position, 4th position of Asian class.

Meanwhile Luedi had a short race, spinning on T9 on lap 2 and not being able to rejoin.

The next AFR Series race on the schedule is on May 10 and 11, at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia.


Race 1 Results:
  
P2 Pu Jun Jin (CHN) - 1st of Asian Class

P13 Thomas Luedi (SUI) - 3rd of Masters Class

DNF Ni Weiliang (SIN)
  
  
Race 2 Results:
 
P8 Pu Jun Jin (CHN) - 2nd. of Asian Class

P11 Ni Weiliang (SIN) - 4th of Asian Class
  
DNF Thomas Luedi (SUI)

 
  
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Luedi rejoins ART for AFR Master Class challenge

Thomas Luedi will stay with Asia Racing Team for a second year in AFR Series for the 2014 season.  The Swiss racer competed with Asia Racing Team in last year’s AFR Series, finishing second in the Master Class.

After just a single race’s experience in single seaters in 2012, Luedi was a regular AFR Series Master Class front runner in the in 2013, taking six podiums. The Shanghai resident finished the season second in the category. Luedi has the particularity of being introduced to the sport via ART’s One-Day Intensive Course.

Eager to learn and gain more race mileage, Luedi has raced in the two last events of 2013 Formula Masters China Series and tested the OAK Morgan LMP2 at Sepang.

Speaking about the season ahead, Luedi said, “I am very much looking forward to be racing again with ART for my second AFR season.  It is going to be a fascinating season with races in Zhuhai, Sepang, and Shanghai. After coming second in the Master Class last year, my goal for this year is to fight for the championship. It won’t be easy as the competition will be very strong, but I was able to do a lot of testing over the winter and believe that I will be competitive from the first race.”

Commenting about the team’s new AFR Series signing, Team Manager Philippe Descombes said, "I’m delighted that Thomas is staying with us for another season.  He’s developed a lot as a driver over the last 15 months and is getting better and better.  We won the Master Class trophy in 2013 and we want to win it again. Thomas is a fast and committed Gentleman Driver and will be a great asset to us this season."

The AFR Series season start will be held on 21 – 23 March at Zhuhai International Circuit, PR China.

 

Weiliang confirmed for AFR Opening

18 year old Team Razer driver Ni Weiliang will join Asia Racing Team’s AFR Series team for the opening rounds of the season at the Zhuhai International Circuit, PR China, on March 20/23 as one the youngest driver on the grid.

Fresh from karting, last season Weiliang took part in two events of AFR Series, finishing in the Asian class podium on two occasions. In April , weiliang is due to enlist in two years of mandatory military service in Singapore"

Weiliang said, “It’s great to be able to take part in the season opener for the race series as a representative of Asia Racing Team and Team Razer. I have been with Asia Racing Team for some time, and I have no doubt in their abilities to give me a competitive car."

Speaking about the newest signing to the Asia Racing Team line up, Philippe Descombes said, "We’re delighted and very proud that the Team Razer has once again chosen Asia Racing Team as the team to look after their promising driver. This year will very much be a learning curve for him but we’ve no doubt that Weiliang has the natural talent to be able to adapt very quickly."

Ni Weiliang is proudly supported by Razer, Yu Xiang Yan, Hyflux, Hyphen, Silvermile, HCP, FES International, Mencast, Negative Motion, HCP and Miss Korea.

Wong and Asia Racing Team crowned champions

Hong Kong’s Leo Wong sealed the 2013 AFR Series Masters class with two emphatic victories in Round 9 and 10 of the season at the Zhuhai International Circuit.

Asia Racing Team entered five cars for the last event of the year: Hong Kong’s Leo Wong, Switzerland’s Thomas Luedi, Israel’s Eitan Zidkilov, and race debutants Karl Yip from Canada and Guillaume Cunnington from France.

Qualifying was held on a drying track, with sun shining and cool temperatures. In the extremely close 20-minute session, which saw the three Masters class cars post times within 0.5s, Wong was the fastest of the ART quintet, qualifying sixth overall and pole-position of his category. The Hong Kong native was followed by teammates Luedi and Zidkilov. Further back, Yip qualified eleventh and Cunnington twelfth for a 15-car grid.

It was an eventful Round 9 to say the least for the Macau born and Zhuhai based squadron. Wong did not make a superb start and was Zidkilov who took the lead of the class in the first lap. Wong didn’t take much time to get back his position with a good move in T7. In turn Zidkilov had a scary moment in T17, dropping behind Luedi, who was coming back after tough beginning.

On lap four, Zidkilov tried to overtake Luedi on T9, ending up colliding with his teammate. The Swiss driver managed to bring his red and grey car to the pits but a damaged suspension forced him into retirement. Zidkilov continued in the race until he was force to retire with an electric problem.

Struggling with understeering in the first half of the race Yip also saw his race shortened by a gearbox cable failure and had join the pits with two laps to go.

Cunnington stalled at the start of the race, losing more than one minute to the rest of the field, and dropping to last. Eventually he crossed the finish line in 9th. 

As the lights went out for the last time in the 2013 season, the AFR Series roared off the grid with Yip storming to the fifth position. Unfortunately in the second lap the red flag was drawn and the race was suspended with all cars back into the pit. It took twice till the race was restarted.

Wong and Zidkilov were both taken by surprise at the start. The former motorcycle rider Yip showed a strong pace and was lapping P5 again but he got caught in the oil of the first lap incident, spinning and dropping to last. He would manage to finish the race in eight.

Wong was under pressure from Zidkilov for six laps. The Israeli veteran briefly overtook his teammate but Wong got his position back in the very last corner, with both cars crossing the finish line with less than one tenth of a second. Wong won Masters category again, returning to the podium with his teammates Zidkilov and Cunnington.

Luedi did not take part of the season due to personal commitments.

In the end of the day Asia Racing Team was first in AFR Series Master Class teams classification standings.

 

Race 1 Results:
 
P7 Leo Wong (HKG) - 1st of Masters Class

P9 Guillaume Cunnington (FRA) - 2nd of Masters Class

DNF Eitan Zidkilov (ISR)

DNF Karl Yip (HKG)

DNF Thomas Luedi (SUI)
 
 
Race 2 Results:
 

P6 Leo Wong (HKG) - 1st of Masters Class

P7 Eitan Zidkilov (ISR) - 2nd of Masters Class

P8 Karl Yip (HKG) - 4th of Asian Class

P9 Guillaume Cunnington (FRA) - 3rd of Masters Class

DNS Thomas Luedi (SUI)

 
 
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1-2-3 in Masters category

Asia Racing Team entered five cars in the AFR Series Rnd 7 & 8 at Zhuhai Circuit and was dominant in the “Masters” category. Hong Kong native Leo Wong was unmatchable and won both races.

Saturday morning qualifying was tough for Asia Racing Team quintet. Wong managed to qualify P8 overall and PCCA regular Li Chao was a modest P10.  Thomas Luedi (P15), Ni Weiliang (P16) and Robert Buchheit (P18) were all involved in incidents that hurt their results.

Saturday afternoon’s Race One saw the Asia Racing Team drivers clean swept the ‘Masters’ class podium. Li Chao had a good start and a great first lap, and was able to make up a few places. The Beijing racer was the first of the team’s armada, crossing the line 8th overall and second on Asian class. Managing his class position from the green lights to the checkered flag, teammate Wong managed to  finish in 10th place, winning the ‘Masters’ category for the fourth time this year.

Further down the field the last lap was dramatic for Luedi and Weiliang. But if the Swiss born and Shanghai resident did manage to come back and finish 13th, the young Singaporean got stuck in the gravel after improving his personal best lap time at ZIC in the lap before. Buchheit pretty much did a flawless debutant race to finish 14th, joining his teammates Wong and Luedi in the Masters category podium ceremony.

The second and final race of the weekend saw another great result for Wong as he won the ‘Masters’ class. Starting in tenth overall and pole-position of Masters class, Wong had a great start, staying out of trouble in the first corner. The Cyrus Watches sponsored driver continued to hold his own in first of his category to the chequered flag, claiming his second win of the weekend. Wong now leads the race for the 2013 AFR Series Masters category title with a 31 point advantage over his teammate Luedi.

For Li Chao a great drive from eight place saw him work his way through the field to cross the line in sixth. JR Motorsports’s driver was second in the Asian category.

Further down the grid Weiliang had an eventful start of the race, gaining several positions. Unfortunately the Razor sponsored car would finish again in the gravel. This time Luedi couldn’t match the pace of the two quickest cars in Masters category, finishing 3rd in the class and 13th overall, whilst Hong Kong based Buchheit rounded off the weekend with a 16th place finish

The AFR Series season finale will be held at Zhuhai International Circuit on December 22nd.  


Race 1 Results:
 
P8 Li Chao (CHN) - 2nd of Asian Class

P10 Leo Wong (HKG) - 1st of Masters Class
 
P13 Thomas Luedi (SUI) - 2nd of Masters Class

P14 Robert Buchheit (USA) - 3rd of Masters Class

DNF Ni Weiliang (SIN)  
 
 
 Race 2 Results:
 
P6 Li Chao (CHN) - 2nd of Asian Class

P10 Leo Wong (HKG) - 1st of Masters Class
 
P13 Thomas Luedi (SUI) - 3rd of Masters Class

P16 Robert Buchheit (USA) - 5th of Masters Class

DNF Ni Weiliang (SIN)  
 
 
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Double class win for Leo Wong

Shanghai-based Hong Kong-native Leo Wong enjoyed a successful weekend of the racing in the Summer’s Pan Delta Super Racing Festival at Zhuhai, taking two AFR Series Masters class victories. The South China race weekend also saw Thomas Luedi returning to the podium and the race debut of Ni Weiliang from Singapore.

The third event of the season started out with wet conditions in Friday’s Free Practice sessions and it did not improve on Saturday. Wong made it count in a rain soaked Saturday morning qualifying, taking sixth on the grid for Saturday’s race and Masters class pole-position. Weiliang kept his cool in the treacherous conditions to safely steer his car to P8. Teammate Luedi had a drive-shaft blower, preventing him to complete a single lap.  


Race One

A dramatic first lap in Saturday’s race saw Wong and Luedi involved in a three-car accident. The Swiss driver tried to overtake his Hong Kong teammate, ending up colliding with Alexandra Asmasoebrata. Luedi and Wong suffered minor damages and both rejoined the race at the back of the pack with Wong finishing fifth, coming home as Master Class winner.

Luedi unfortunately did not finish the race as he had a spin in the very last lap of the race when he was trying to improve his best lap time. Race debutant Ni Weiliang had a relatively eventless race. Rolling the dice, Asia Racing Team crew decided to start the race on rain tires on Ni Weiliang’s car. Unfortunately it never rained in the race and the 17 year-old Singaporean focused on finishing the race. He crossed the line in P7.

Race Two

The three ART drivers had a fairly straightforward race without any issues or major events on Sunday.  Wong finished the race in 5th place, ahead of his teammate Luedi who was 6th. Wong’s 5th position overall was enough to score his third Masters class win of the season. He is now leading the category by 40 points from Luedi.

On a 25-minute dry race Weiliang stalled the car on the start but he managed to restart to finish 8th.

Reflecting about the race weekend, Team Manager Philippe Descombes said, “Another good result for the team, with two double wins in Masters class for Leo. It was pity that Thomas could not convert his fast pace in the wet into a good result in Race 1. That was definitely a tough and learning weekend for Ni. We all know he can go faster and we expect some improvements for the next race in September. “

Next up for the Asia Racing Team’s Formula Renault 2.0 squadron is the Autumn’s Pan Delta Super Racing Weekend at Zhuhai, September 13-15.


Race 1 Results:

P6 Leo Wong (HKG) - 1st of Masters Class

P7 Ni Weiliang (SIN) - 3rd of Asian Class

DNF Thomas Luedi (SUI)


Race 2 Results:

P5 Leo Wong (HKG) - 1st of Masters Class

P6 Thomas Luedi (SUI) - 2nd of Masters Class

P8 Ni Weiliang (SIN) - 2nd of Asian Class



Stay tuned for the latest updates by following us on Twitter ‘@ARTMotors’ or on Facebook by searching ‘AsiaRacingTeamMotorsports’.

Ni Weiliang Joins Asia Racing Team for AFR Assault

Asia Racing Team are pleased to announce that 17-year-old Singaporean driver Ni Weiliang will be joining the team for the AFR Series Round 5 & 6 at the Zhuhai International Circuit on the June 15th and 16th as the youngest driver on the grid.

Ni Weiliang will make his motor racing debut this weekend at the wheel of a Pakelo powered Formula Renault alongside team mates Leo Wong and Thomas Luedi.

The St Josephs Institution International School student will exchange his pen and paper for a steering wheel on the Zhuhai circuit for his first race on Saturday 15 June, and admits the excitement is already building.

Speaking ahead of the weekend, the driver sponsored by Razer, Hyflux, Mencast, Rue De Jeans, Sara Shantelle, Atara, Negative Motion, FES International, Alpst, Web Solutions Singapore, Synocraft and SMSA said “It’s going to be pretty nerve wrecking getting on the grid for the first time, but this experience will help me develop as a driver. The Formula Renault car is a great drive, the AFR Series is very competitive, and I’m doing it with a competitive team.”

Team Manager Philippe Descombes add, “Everybody’s got a realistic expectation. Weiliang is just giving his first steps in the sport and this is going to be a learning race weekend for him. He improved a lot over the last few test days in Zhuhai. I know both he and the team are very keen to build on that further with the benefit of a little more time and experience.”

Ni Weiliang and Asia Racing Team will take part in two free practice sessions on Friday, followed by one Qualifying and Race 1 on Saturday.  A second 10 lap race will conclude the weekend at 15.30 local time on Sunday.

 

ART quartet shines at SIC

AFR Series visited Shanghai International Circuit on 1-2 May for Round 3&4 of the season 2013. Asia Racing Team quartet of Leo Wong, Thomas Chow, Thomas
Luedi and Yangxi brought some encouraging results to light up the team.

With the AFR Series heading to Shanghai Formula 1 circuit for the first time in three years, ART was taking no risks with full preparation by bringing in one new
Race Engineer from Europe, Ruben Silva, besides with our very own Philippe Descombes, Rodolfo Avila and Yannick Mazier which made ART the strongest racing support team.

The race weekend began with nice weather for Wednesday morning Qualifying which Yangxi secured the 5th place overall and International 2nd in the grid at the Race 1. Further back in Masters class, ART “Gentlemen Drivers” Leo Wong, Thomas Luedi, Thomas Chow qualified 2nd, 3rd, 4th respectively. 

Race One

The firstrace of the week started with little drama for ART racers. Chow had no choice but crashing into Wong who was trying hard to get back to the track after spinning in the opening lap, bringing the Safety Car out. Teammate Yangxi showed strong commitment. The Beijing driver had climbed half-way through the field, climbing positions lap by lap to finish 5th overall and International 3rd. Switzerland born and Shanghai resident Luedi made no mistakes, working his way up the order to cross the line as Master class 1st runner-up.

Race Two

Race Two saw Wong and Chow trying to fight it back after the eventful Race 1, Yangxi and Luedi tried to grab one more Trophy to make it “Twins”. However, some did make their dream come true but some didn’t. Yangxi lost his pace because of a bad start and Wong was simply seemed lacking some luck. Teammate Chow and Luedi managed to step in the podium of Masters class making ART became the winner of the category.

Speaking about the team’s performance in Shanghai, Team Manager Philippe Descombes and Driver Coach Rodolfo Avila came to an agreement and commented: “The Shanghai racetrack is not a small challenge for any new driver. Our drivers did just fine with something out of expected in a good way. Many years of Formula Renault practice plus the experience we gained make us feel like playing host even at this Formula one
track.”

The AFR Series will be back in action on 15-16 June at Zhuhai International
Circuit.

 

RACE 1 Results:

P5 Yangxi (CN)- 3rd of International Class

P9 Thomas Luedi (SUI) - 2nd of Masters Class

DNF - Leo Wong (HKG)

DNF - Thomas Chow (HKG)

 

RACE 2 Results:

P7 Yangxi (CN) - 4th of International Class

P8 Thomas Luedi (SUI) - 2nd of Masters Class

P9 Thomas Chow (HKG) - 3rd of Masters Class

P10 Leo Wong (HKG) - 4th of Masters Class

 

Photo courtesy of Jeff Chow 

Weekend of Emotions at ZIC

2013 AFR Series has seen an exciting start to the season at the Zhuhai International Circuit with plenty of drama for the Asia Racing Team four car line-up - Timothy Teo, Leo Wong, Thomas Luedi and Kenneth Low.

Teo was fast in the opening laps to finish fourth and pole-position of the Asian category. Team mate Wong did also well to contend with the traffic and qualified ninth overall and pole-position of Masters class. Luedi and debutant Low lined up 13th and 14th respectively on the grid for the first race of the pan Delta Super Racing Festival weekend.

Race One

As the lights went out on Saturday’s race, Teo made a good start to the race and moved to third overall but it was going to be a dramatic race for the team. Luedi, who was comfortably P2 in Masters class, saw his engine blew up with two laps only forcing him to retire and calling the “Satefy-Car” out. The drama of Saturday’s race continued in the race restart. Teo’s race was ruined by a cruel right-rear puncture that forced him out when he was running third and certain of a podium finish.

Wong and Low saved the day for the team. Finishing tenth and eleventh respectively, Wong and Low made it a “1-2” for Asia Racing Team in Masters category (aka Gentleman Drivers class). After visiting the podium last year, this was the first class victory for the Shanghai-resident Wong in his yet short motor racing career.

Race Two

Sunday’s Race 2 was an incredibly exciting scrap with wheel-to-wheel racing the entire race. Starting from 13th, Teo rapidly move up the field after a superb getaway. The Singaporean was not satisfied with the 8th position he got in the first lap. He put his head down showing speed and tenacity to cross the finish line in 5th and 2nd of the Asian class.

Further back in the field, meanwhile, Wong, Low and Luedi were hooked up in a contest for the podium positions of the Masters class. Unlucky Low lost his car in T3, hitting heavily the protection wall and bringing the Safety Car out. Struggled with his tires, Wong had to slow down the pace in the second half of the race but still managed to salvage a second-place finish in the class. Luedi, who also had a good start and led the Masters class into the first corner, ran a conservative race to grab the third spot in the podium.

The next round of the AFR Series will be held at Shanghai International Circuit on May 1st and 2nd.

 

RACE 1 Results:

P10 Leo Wong (HKG) - 1st of Masters Class

P11 Kenneth Low (SIN) - 2nd of Masters Class

DNF - Timothy Teo (SIN)

DNF - Thomas Luedi (SUI)

 

RACE 2 Results:

P5 Timothy Teo (SIN) - 2nd of Asian Class

P11 Leo Wong (HKG) - 2nd of Masters Class

P12 Thomas Luedi (SUI) - 3rd of Masters Class

DNF - Kenneth Low (SIN)

 

 

Photo courtesy of Yi Chen

Asia Racing Team Offer Scholarship to 13-year-old Zhuhai driver

Asia Racing Team keep contributing to the development of motor racing in China, the Macau SAR team offered a scholarship to 13 year-old Zhuhai resident Liu Weng Long, giving him the opportunity to drive a Formula car for the very first time in his life at the Zhuhai International Circuit.

Liu is not a strange to the sport as he has been racing and winning in karting in China. He is currently one of the biggest hopes of China motor racing. Liu started his racing career in 2009 and won the “Most Potential Young Driver” of China award three years in a row.

Taught by the French driver coach and former racing driver Philippe Descombes, Liu showed a great bravery and drove flawless stints, improving his best lap times along the way. In the end of the day Liu was able to set pretty decent lap times at the wheel of the Formula Renault 2.0

Commenting about Liu’s performance, Descombes said, “At young age of 13, Liu has a lot to learn to become a top driver but he shows a great potential as a racing driver. We’re giving Liu all the tools he needs to be able to make the most of this fantastic step up opportunity. Here at ART we believe that Chinese drivers can race shoulder-to-shoulder with the best in the world – with proper tuition and practice.”

Liu’s father, Mr Liu Yi Xiu, agrees with Descombes, “For a young Chinese driver like my son, who is eager to develop his racing career, proper instruction is the key. In the end of the day my son was genuinely happy. It was a day full of excitement for him.

Liu explained in few words his experience, “For my very first time to drive a Formula car, everything went fine and I just did not feel confident on braking. I believe in the old adage ‘practice make perfect’. Hope I can progress by practicing more in the near future.”

The rationale behind this scholarship stems from the obvious need to provide the platform for the Chinese young drivers to step up into the international spotlight. In synergy with Asia Racing Team’s faithful partners; G&L Group, Michelin, Pakelo Lubricants - the team is committed to create new opportunities for the upcoming Chinese rising stars.

ART has Successful Test-Days

A fleet of five Asia Racing Team-prepared Formula Renault 2.0 and eight different drivers took part of the 2013 AFR Series Official Test-Days at the Zhuhai International Circuit on February 24 and 25.

With the start of the season coming closer, the team’s main goal was to cover as many laps as possible, but also to acquire lots of precious data in order to prepare the 2013 season in the best conditions possible. AFR Series regulars Li Zhi Cong, Thomas Luedi and Leo Wong were joined by Timothy Teo, Kenneth Low, James Teo, Terence Chin and Simon Leong.

After the winter break, everybody needs to push as hard as possible, as Philippe Descombes, the Team Manager, confirmed: “It was a good opportunity for the drivers. We were able to do a lot of running which was quite productive, and all of drivers set several very competitive lap times as well. All the cars achieved very good mileage, the team is happy with the work done and completed the scheduled test programme. We had a few unlucky incidents during the two days but overall, both drivers and mechanics did a great job to overcome the hurdles.”

Two days before departing to England for a F3 testing, Chinese rising star Li Zhi Cong returned to his red and white Formula Renault 2.0 and enjoyed ideal track conditions in China. The 2012 GT Asia Series vice-champion said, “I had lots of good runs on used and new tires. Feel great to drive this car again.”

Hong Kong native Leo Wong had a different strategy. He focused in long runs and managed to improve two seconds in the last day. “We had a very productive test, no question about it,” held Wong. His driver coach Rodolfo Avila added, “Good to see that Leo has made improvements. We have a whole raft of data to go through, so we’ll see how we can be faster in the next test and get ready for that.”  

Swiss racer Thomas Luedi did not start the Test-Days in the right foot. He had an accident in T10 in the first session of the first day and was forced to skip the afternoon session. Luedi would bounce back in the day two, completing 117 laps without incidents, and improving his best lap time. Luedi said, “It was fantastic to get two full days of track time.  Unfortunately my first day ended early as I crashed in T10.  A big thanks to Yannick and his crew for fixing the car overnight.  I made the best out of the second day and did many laps, bettering my personal best in the later morning session.”

During these two days, car #51 and #69 were shared by the five Singaporean racers – Formula Renault habitué Timothy Teo, Shenzhen karting series racer James Teo, MSS regular Kenneth Low, and newcomers Chin and Leong. 2012 IFC Class last race podium finisher Timothy Teo was the quickest among them. When questioned if he would join the series in 2013 at full-time, Teo replied “I did not decide yet.”

The 2013 AFR Series season kicks off on March 14-16 in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province.


TIMES:


1st Day – Morning Session
#3 Li Zhi Cong – 1:38.519 – 46 laps
#51 James Teo/Terence Chin – 1:40.463 – 41 laps
#69 Kenneth Low – 1:40.630 – 20 laps
#9 Thomas Luedi – 1:41.189 – 26 laps
#82 Leo Wong – 1:42.348 – 33 laps

1st Day – Afternoon Session
#3 Li Zhi Cong/Philippe Descombes – 1:37.587 – 45 laps
#69 Kenneth Low – 1:40.630 – 45 laps
#82 Leo Wong – 1:41.464 – 30 laps
#51 James Teo/Terence Chin/Simon Leong – 1:40.463 – 35 laps
#9 Thomas Luedi – No time

2nd Day – Morning Session
#3 Li Zhi Cong/Philippe Descombes – 1:36.910 – 45 laps
#69 Timothy Teo/Philippe Descombes/Terence Chin – 1:37.903 – 54 laps
#82 Leo Wong/Philippe Descombes – 1:38.619 – 38 laps
#9 Thomas Luedi – 1:39.593 - 55 laps
#51 James Teo/Terence Chin/Simon Leong – 1:40.463 – 55 laps

2nd Day – Afternoon Session
#3 Li Zhi Cong/Philippe Descombes – 1:36.473 – 54 laps
#69 Timothy Teo/Terence Chin/Rodolfo Avila – 1:37.024 – 54 laps
#82 Leo Wong – 1:39.453 – 29 laps
#9 Thomas Luedi – 1:40.604 - 62 laps
#51 James Teo/Terence Chin/Simon Leong – 1:41.671 – 40 laps

ART clinches IFC Class Team’s Championship

Zhuhai played host this weekend to the final round of the AFR Series championship, and Asia Racing Team clinched the 2012 IFC Class Team’s Championship thanks to a podium of Timothy Teo in the last race of the year.

Asia Racing Team lined up four cars for the last event of the season. After one year out of the track due to a wrist injury Singapore’s Timothy Teo joined China’s YangXi and IFC Class contenders Thomas Chow and Leo Wong. Switzerland’s Thomas Luedi, who won the IFC class in the previous race, was forced to skip the season finale due to last minute professional commitments.

The team opened the weekend with a promising free practice with YangXi and Timothy Teo posting the 4th best lap times in session one and two respectively. However, after a chaotic qualification session YangXi and Teo were severely hampered by traffic and were only P7 and P9 respectively.

The messy Saturday Race 1, which saw one safety car period and plenty of yellow flags, finished dramatically for ART drivers. With three laps to go Teo was involved in a collision when he was trying to reach the 7th place. In the same lap teammate Chow missed the braking point and spun into the gravel where he became stuck.

Further down the field Wong was making impressive progress climbing up the order, eventually taking the chequered flag in 16th from starting 21st on the grid. The result could have been even better with the Hong Kong native would not spin in the last lap on T1. YangXi was the best of the ART squadron in the race, finishing an eventful race in 12th, far from what he could have deliver in normal circumstances.

The sun shone down on the last race of this weekend’s AFR Series with ART drivers taking the opportunity of a new race to gain confidence to battle their way through the pack. Teo did a great getaway whilst Yangxi lost a couple of places. Both driver got involved early on a five-car battle for the 10th place overall. Teo came out 11th and 3rd of IFC Class. YangXi finished his race just 1.9 seconds behind his teammate in 12th place.

Wong and Chow unfortunately became tangled up in traffic halfway thru the end. Both IFC class drivers opted for not taking unnecessary risks, crossing the line 16th and 17th, IFC Class 4th and 5th respectively.

In the end of the day Asia Racing team clinched IFC teams’ title and Thomas Chow was crowded first runner up of the gentleman drivers’ category.

Reflecting on 2012 AFR Series season, Team Manager Philippe Descombes said "Congratulations to Thomas Chow, who really deserved his second place in IFC Class for his efforts over the year, and a big thanks to him, Leo, Tim, and Thomas Luedi for helping us to conquer the IFC Class team’s championship for the very first time. A note of gratitude to our partners too, especially Pakelo Lubricants who provided us the best racing lubricants to meet our winning standards. We hope to come back next year with an even more ambition. "

With the current season now over, attention turns to the winter testing which starts in a few weeks. Stay tuned for the latest updates by following us on Twitter ‘@ARTMotors’ or on Facebook by searching ‘Asia RacingTeam’.

 

 

1-2 finish for ART’s Gentlemen

Asia Racing Team has finished 1-2 in the IFC class in the third event of the AFR Series at the Zhuhai International Circuit, achieving its best Gentleman Driver category result to-date.

With a lot of questions about the legality of certain cars, current championship leader Li Zhi Cong had decided to not take part in the this weekend event. As so, Yang Xi, Thomas Chow, and race debutants Leo Wong and Thomas Luedi completed the four-car line up for the weekend.

The only session of qualifying was held in the early morning of Saturday, and that didn’t go according to the plan. Yang Xi struggled to get the maximum out of the last minute introduced Hankook tyres, and the Beijing driver was left to start the Race 1 from 9th position. Teammate Chow qualified 14th, and was the best of the team in IFC Class (4th). Hong Kong’s Wong and Switzerland’s Luedi drove in  a very calculating fashion, without taking unnecessary risks qualifying 16th and 17th respectively.

Race 1 was somehow a disaster for the team. The early stages of the Saturday afternoon race lead to a huge number of crashes and incidents, which left some of the front-runners and favourites out of the race. Yang Xi stalled at the start and frustratingly dropped to last place, pitting after eleven laps to withdraw from the race.

However, the most dramatic moment of the race came on lap twelve when Chow lost the control of his car and hit the rear of teammate Wong’s car under Safety Car. Wong, who was doing a very good job on his first ever race, still managed to bring his car to the pits but both cars were too damaged to continue. Luedi managed to avoid any on-track mishaps and drove a clean race to finish in the 12th position overall, 3rd of the IFC Class.

Race 2 saw Luedi starting the race at a conservative pace, hoping this would pay off later. The Shanghai resident lost the first position of the IFC Class to his teammate Wong at the start. Wong led the way for the most part of the race but was unable to keep the position, opening the door to his Swiss teammate, who came home with a class win on his first race weekend ever and 7th overall.

Showing strong pace throughout the weekend Chow once again spun twice, losing the 3rd place of IFC Class in the very last lap. Yang Xi came out strong before a radiator puncture took him out of the race when he was fighting for the 7th place.

Driver Coach Rodolfo Avila, said, "This weekend has been more difficult than we expected, but I believe the drivers still had a lot of fun and enjoyed. We had big hopes for Yang Xi but he was unlucky from the start. Thomas Chow showed improvements and had a strong pace in IFC Class but couldn’t capitalize with too many mistakes. Compliments to Thomas Luedi for taking the win in IFC Class second race and to Leo Wong, who impressed us during the weekend."

 

Li Zhi Cong Takes Championship Lead

Fresh from his first ever GT victory, Asia Racing Team’s Li Zhi Cong has battled his way through numerous difficulties to finish this weekend’s AFR Series Rnd 3 in a superb 2nd position. The 18 years old from China is now leading the driver’s standings.

The race weekend began with challenging weather as rain poured for Saturday afternoon qualifying.  As expected Li Zhi Cong made quick work of the wet track, placing the Yumin Restaurant sponsored car 1st on the grid. But four red flags delayed the whole programme and the Race Director decided to call it a day with two minutes still to go, disallowing all the times posted in the previous lap before the last red flag. Unfairly Li Zhi Cong was placed 2nd on the grid. CFGP rain specialist Yang Xi qualified 10th. Further back, Guille Pintanel and Thomas Chow were 13th and 17th, but both were also hampered by the Race Director’s polemic decision.

Race 1 got underway in dry conditions and Li made a good start, keeping his second place safe. Fighting with different weapons, Li couldn’t hold the position and fell to fourth. He was even deprived of fourth place in the very last lap when the Safety Car was deployed late in the race, crossing the line in 5th.

Unconcerned when the car dropped to twelve-place in the early stages, Yang Xi was able to reclaim two positions as the race progressed. Moving into ninth with steady driving, the Beijing driver finally moved into the eighth place in last quarter of the race.

The endurance style event determines that the drivers need to turn consistent laps without taking unnecessary risks and Chow took this approach. And his race strategy paid off nicely. The Hong Kong Gentleman Driver saw the chequered flag in the second position of the IFC Class. Teammate Pintanel suffered indigestion before the race and was forced to stop after seven laps.  

In good conditions and hot temperatures, Race 2 saw Li start on row 3. This was going to be a tough race again, but within 2 laps Li was in 2nd, outmuscling three opponents in style. Li daringly reduced the gap to the car in front but the safety car was deployed to remove teammate Yang Xi’s car from a dangerous position. The Guangzhou native had one lap to perform his last-gasp ‘try’ but it was not enough to achieve a much-deserved win.

Meanwhile teammate Thomas Chow struggled with his car grip, finishing the race in 14th. On his way up to “Top-10” Pintanel was betrayed by his engine seven laps from the finish. Yang Xi was involved in a collision during the last yellow flag period at T7 and did not finish.

Driver Coach Rodolfo Avila, said, “This weekend’s result is due to very good team work and keeping focused on the task at hand. The cars were very well setup for the races, and we were in with a chance of winning until the chequered flag in Race 2. Unfortunately Li Zhi Cong was not lucky in the qualifying, and in Race 1 everyone could watch on TV why we did not finish in the podium. Our cautious strategy worked perfectly for Thomas, and we were really happy to see him in the podium of IFC Class for the first time. We were also pleased to bring Yang Xi home on his Formula Renault weekend debut, but obviously the luck ran out on Guille’s side, who retired in Race 2 due to a technical failure.”

Next up for the Asia Racing Team’s Formula Renault 2.0 squadron is the Autumn’s Pan Delta Super Racing Weekend at Zhuhai, September 14-16.

ART’s Li Zhi Cong off to perfect 2012 season start

Its been a strong start to the 2012 season for Asia Racing Team. China’s Li Zhi Cong has made a dominant return to the AFR Series, qualifying on pole and winning the second of two races this weekend at the 4.3 km Zhuhai circuit south of China.

One second faster than the rest of the field, Li Zhi Cong has claimed the pole position for AFR Series’ season-opening. Hong Kong Gentleman driver Thomas Chow started from 10th place in Race 1.

With no surprise the Guangzhou-native set the pace for the whole Race 1. Li was the first to see the chequered flag but he was penalized in 30 seconds for alleged jump-start, moving him back to 5th. Teammate Thomas Chow had an entertaining race, finishing 7th overall, 4th of the IFC Trophy participants. “It was my best race so far. I just regret that I took the wrong strategy. I decided to save the tyres for the second race and in the end it cost me a place in the IFC Trophy’s podium”, Chow said.

Starting from the 5th place on the grid, Li Zhi Cong ran a flawless Race 2 to pick up his and Asia Racing Team first and deserved win of the 2012 AFR Series season. Reflecting on a positive start to the 2012 season, Li said, “After what happened in the Race 1 I was cautious and didn’t get a perfect start, a bit of wheelspin off the line. It was hard to overtake the red car (Wayne Shen) as he defended his position very well but once I took him things settled down into a comfortable pace.”

In the end of the “25 minute + 1 lap” race, Chow was 8th overall and fifth among the IFC Trophy fleet.

The next AFR Series - as known as Asian Formula Renault championship - race on the schedule is on June 15 and 16, once again at the Zhuhai International Circuit.

 

 

Photo @ Cheung Chi Wai

Formula Renault: A weekend of mixed feelings

Macau owned Asia Racing Racing had a mixed feelings weekend at yesterday’s AFR Series Round 1 and 2 at the Zhuhai International Circuit. Championship contender Chi Cong Li battled a mysterious problem that appeared to be electronic related to finish 2nd on Race 2. Teammate Thomas Chow managed to complete his first ever race.

The nightmare started with Asia Racing Team enduring a terrible Qualifying session. Chi Cong Li set the pace during the two official Free Practice sessions but was to be betrayed in Qualifying by his engine, fading out of power. 55 years old Chow hadn’t better luck and was forced to park his car before the end due to a driveshaft failure. Chi Cong Li managed to qualify 3rd and Chow was 9th and last.

Replacing the Renault 2.0 liter unit on the car number 3 didn’t solve the fading power problem. Limited by his engine, Chi Cong Li quickly moved to second and he would stay there until the checkered flag. In the end of the race, the Chinese prodigy was penalized in 30 seconds for alleged jump-start, moving him back to 6th.

The Race 2 was far more straightforward. Chi Cong Li climbed three positions at the start. One lap later; he overtook the car in front. Knowing that the leader was going to be penalized for jump-start, Chi Cong Li tried to keep his position. Fighting with uncooperative car, the Guangzhou man wasn’t able to put valuable yards between himself and his chasers, and was demoted by an opponent with four laps to go, finishing 2nd. Despite all of the problems, Chi Cong Li conquered the Asian Drivers Trophy first position.

Sadly Chow didn’t take part of Race 1 after spinning on the warm up lap. Still inexperienced as a race driver, Chow calmly approached each corner of the Race 2 to finish on a clean 8th .

The next AFR Series race on the schedule is on May 28 and 29, once again at the Zhuhai International Circuit.

#3 Chi Cong Li (CHN)

Qualifying: 3rd

Race 1: 6th

Race 2: 2nd

“We struggled with lack of power all weekend. They say I slightly moved on Race 1 start and I respect the stewards’ decision. I did a very good start in Race 2 but my car was losing power lap after lap. I hold the black car (Juan Arenas) for a couple of laps but it was impossible to keep him behind forever. At the end of the day I know that my team did their best in every way possible to make sure that the problem was solved. I guess we’ve got to have had some bad luck at some point and unfortunately it was today.”


#20 Thomas Chow (HK)

Qualifying: 9th

Race 1: DNS

Race 2: 8th

“It was my first race weekend and it was all new to me. I was disappointed initially because of what happened in Race 1. Definitely I have to exercise my left foot braking. I managed to stay in the track in Race 2. I was not pushing, just avoiding doing any mistake. I know I have a lot to learn but hopefully I can build from here.”


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