Great start to the 2017 Season with the 600 Km ZIC win!
Car #11, Yuan Sheng-Ping and Lee Yen-Han from Taiwan bring ARTs first victory of 2017, wining the A Class category with a great P2 Overall finish.
It was an eventful race with quite a few safety car periods. Pit stop strategy and efficiency were definitely the key points to this win. Drivers did a good job without making any mistake and drove with great consistency, which definitely played a big part in these results.
Sister car #15 driven by Lo Chi-Chun Chen, Chun-Hua, Liu Wei-Chih and Huang Wei-Hao ended up P4 in Class, despite a few visits to the gravel trap.
Sensational weekend at Shanghai
Canadian single-seater racer Maxx Ebenal and Macau rising star Leong Hon Chio produced a true star performance for Asia Racing Team at Shanghai International Circuit over the weekend, 10th/11th September, with two outstanding FIA F4 Chinese Championship race victories in round 11 and 12 of the season. Guangzhou native Charles Lin finished twice in the podium.
In the closest Qualifying from the beginning of the season Ebenal claimed his second pole position of the year beating Bruno Carneiro by 0.019. Leong Hon Chio continued in his impressive effort and qualified in third, only 0.160 seconds adrift.
Charles Lin qualified fifth fastest for race one, while Xi Xiu Ping qualified 9th and Yang Xi 10th. Liu Yang posted the 11th fastest lap out of 14 cars.
Zheng Jianian could not post any lap time due to a software issue.
>> Race One <<
Pole-sitter Ebenal had a good start and led half of the race, but was passed by the championship leader Carneiro after an enthralling battle. The Beijing Manthey Racing driver eventually came home second, sparking a hat-trick of podium finishes.
Leong Hon Chio finished third overall, courtesy of another impressive performance. Due to his young age, the Macau driver is not able to collect points or take part in the final podium ceremony but he took home the "Open Class" winning trophy.
Following a solid race, Charles Lin ensured Beijing Manthey Racing had two cars finished inside the top-five, while Yang Xi savoured a eight place finish.
Teammates Xi Xiu Ping and Liu Yang collided with Yang being forced to stop.
This accident costed Xi Xiu Ping a Top-10 finish as he has been overtaken by single seater rookie Zheng Jianian.
2- Maxx Ebenal
3- Leong Hon Chio
4- Charles Lin Tai An
8- Yang Xi
10- Zheng Jianian
11- Xi Xiu Ping
DNF Liu Yang
>> Race Two <<
Macau’s Leong Hon Chio was the first at the flag in the Round 11 of the 2016 FIA F4 Chinese Championship. Chio had a flying start, overtaking the two cars in front of him, taking advantage of the team strategy by running on new tires against old tires of his rivals to win.
As "Open Class" driver Leong can’t score points at any race or be classified overall. Therefore the second place finisher, Ebenal, inherited the championship race win.
Although taking the chequered flag in fourth place during Round 11, Charles Lin was elevated into third post-race.
Liu Yang, Xi Xiu Ping and Zheng Jianian finished 9th, 10th and 11th.
Due to business commitments Yang Xi was forced to skip both races of Sunday.
Leong Hon Chio said of his first win, "I got a really good start. I got around the outside and overtook the two Maxx and Bruno. The team strategy to put me on new tires helped a lot. I am very happy to have win this race before reaching 15 year old. My birthday is tomorrow and this victory was like a birthday gift."
1- Leong Hon Chio
2- Maxx Ebenal
4- Charles Lin Tai An
9- Liu Yang
10- Xi Xiu Ping
11- Zheng Jianian
DNS Yang Xi
>> Race Three <<
Ebenal kept the best for last. The Canadian mastered the tricky conditions on Sunday’s afternoon wet race, winning the Round 12 of the championship, collecting precious points for the Beijing Manthey Racing campaign. Benefitting from the jump start of Loeng Hon Chio - who moved away from the grid when the race start was delayed and had to start from the very back of the grid - Ebenal eased to an absolutely dominant second win.
Charles Lin claimed a highly respectable 4th place finish overall, enough to visit the Shanghai podium for a second time this weekend.
Leong Hon Chio was able to carve through the field and take P5 by flag fall.
Further back in the field Xi Xiu Ping was 10th at the flag.
Zheng Jianian did not line up on his grid slot due to a crash on formation lap. Liu Yang did not take part in the race due to a fuel pump glitch.
Ebenal said of victory, "It was a really dominating race weekend! It was enjoyable - but it wasn’t at all easy. In fact, I reckon the last race was one of the toughest races I’ve ever driven - but, guess what, I’ll savour it all the more for that. I’m also delighted for helping Asia Racing Team and the Beijing Manthey Racing to extend their domination in the Chinese F4 series."
Commenting about his third place finish, Lin said, "This race was the most intense since I started my single seaters career. It was my first time in the rain and I had a tough fight with Wu Ruopeng for third. It was very tough to drive on his spray but when he did a mistake I took the opportunity to overtake".
1- Maxx Ebenal
4- Charles Lin Tai An
5- Leong Hon Chio
10- Xi Xiu Ping
DNS Liu Yang
DNS Zheng Jianian
DNS Yang Xi
Zhuhai International Circuit in Guangdong Province will host the last event of the FIA F4 Chinese Championship season on 12th/13th November.
Maximum attack in Shanghai
After a month off on holiday, to race in Shanghai is the best way to get back into action in FIA Chinese F4 Championship.
Asia Racing Team had a very positive weekend at Shanghai two weeks ago in Asian Formula Renault Series, an exciting weekend with three overall podium positions and two strong Class B wins.
This weekend Asia Racing Team will be looking to the top positions again, putting on the field a strong seven-car entry.
Race winner Maxx Ebenal returns to the series but to drive Beijing Manthey Team’s car, teaming up with Guangzhou ace Charles Lin.
Shanghai race will also see the race return of CTCC racer Yang Xi, who missed the Beijing event, and Macau rising star and Formula Master China Series podium finisher Leong Hon Chio.
The WSK Champions Cup - OK Junior karting driver Zheng Jianian joins the team for the last two events of the season, making his first single seater appearance.
Asia Racing Team’s Shanghai line up will be completed by the ever-improving 有朋自远方来 pair Sam Liu Yang and Xi Xui Ping.
Three Podium Finishes at Beijing
Asia Racing Team added three more podiums to its 2016 FIA F4 Chinese Championship tally at Goldenport Circuit in Beijing over the weekend, with Charles Lin Tan Ai finishing third in round seven and round eight of the season and local star Liu Kai doing the same in round nine.
Single seater rookie Charles Lin was the form man for Asia Racing Team throughout the weekend, showing well in practice and then going onto start the race in fourth place. With overtaking difficult around the twists and turns of the Beijing circuit, the Guangzhou native finished third on Saturday’s race and repeated the strong result in the first race on Sunday. He could have make three podiums out of three but Lin did not take the risk of overtaking his teammate Liu Kai in the last race of the weekend, settling for fourth.
2015 Chinese Formula 4 second runner up Liu Kai bagged a podium position in the last race of the weekend. He was involved in an early tangle with Liu Yanng during the first race, leaving him sixth, and had to settle for a fourth place finish in race two. Despite his trials and tribulations, Liu Kai remains third in the drivers standings. The results of Liu Kai and Charles Lin consolidated Beijing Manthey Racing’s P1 position in the team standings.
有朋自远方来 teammates Liu Yang and Xi Xiu Ping endured a tough weekend in the capital. Liu Yang was super quick in his Mygale-Geely from the outset and finished the first race of the weekend in third. Unfortunately he has been given a 15 second penalty for allegedly causing Liu Kai’s spin, just missing out on a podium finish by only a handful of seconds. But the worst was yet to come. An engine failure in race two and an accident in race three ruined Liu Yang hopes to conquer his first podium in the category. Due to race accidents Xi Xiu Ping did not finish the first two races of the weekend but he put together a highly consistent performance with fifth place in round nine on Sunday.
All-Japan Formula 3 regular Alex Yang Fan took the place of Yang Xi. It wasn’t an event without high drama for the Formula 4 debutant, though. Yang Fan’s car caught on fire in free practice, and the team had to work extra time to get it back in form. Yang Fan’s luckless weekend continued in that vein as he has been caught on someone else’s mistake twice. On race two, Yang Fan was in the thick of the battles at the start, which resulted in a fifth place at the flag.
The next round of the FIA F4 Chinese Championship starts on September 9, with the three races taking place over the Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th.
Race 1 Results:
3- Charles Lin Tai An
4- Liu Yang
6- Liu Kai
DNF Xi Xiu Ping
DNF Alex Yang
Race 2 Results:
3- Charles Lin Tai An
4- Liu Kai
5- Alex Yang
DNF Xi Xiu Ping
DNF Liu Yang
Race 3 Results:
3- Liu Kai
4- Charles Lin Tan An
5- Xi Xiu Ping
DNF Liu Yang
DNF Alex Yang
Consistent Chengdu keeps Liu Kai in Chinese F4 top three
FIA Chinese Formula 4 Championship driver Liu Kai remains in the series top three for Asia Racing Racing after the second event of the season at Chengdu International Circuit – although the Beijing racer was robbed of second in the points’ standings after an unnecessary contact with his teammate in round four.
Saturday’s 20-minute Qualifying was a huge disappointment for the team with Lin Tan Ai being the best of the rest by qualifying fourth overall but nearly 2.3 seconds from the pole-position time. Yang Xi, Liu Kai, Liu Yang and Xi Xiu Ping lined up from fifth to eight respectively for Race One of the Sichuan racing weekend.
In the first race of the weekend on Saturday afternoon, Liu Kai had a good getaway off the line, passing a couple of cars. The championship leader at the time ran third for a while but he did not keep the position for more than two laps. Without being able to keep the frontrunners pace he quickly saw himself under pressure from Lin Tan Ai. The (bad) moment of the race came on lap 10.
Lin Tai An tried to overtake his Beijing Manthey Racing teammate at the chicane but it did not go well. Both cars collided and were taken out of the race in such dramatic fashion. The Safety-Car was called in and did not resume. Liu Yang ended up being the best of the ART five-car squadron, crossing the finish line in 4th position, his best result so far this season. Two gravel excursions in the opening lap took any chance of Yang Xi to finish further than fifth. Xi Xiu Ping was P6 at the flag, improving his best laptime by a second.
On Sunday morning’s Race Two Liu Kai made an excellent start to his race to rapidly climb into fourth position into the first sequence of turns, just behind his teammate Yang Xi. Yang Xi was able to keep the third position in the first half of the race but the former CFGP and AFR Series regular had to give up of his podium position when he ran out of energy. By being P4 at the flag, Yang Xi chalked-up his best points haul of the campaign by far. Therefore, round one winner at Zhuhai Liu Kai added another top three finish to his record.
Lin Tai An slipped to sixth initially and after spinning in the second lap to avoid an opponent stopped at the track. Recovering well, the young racer from Guangzhou benefitted from his steady pace and after moving into the top six he grabbed fifth five laps from the finish.
Liu Yang made a sensational start to the race but as he looked to try and slice up the outside in the battle for second in the first corner he found himself spinning. He ended the contest in 7th place, just behind his teammate Xi Xiu Ping.
The last race of the weekend was a race without much history. Liu Kai kept his third position from the start. Lin Tan Ai followed his teammate to fourth overall. Liu Yang immediately set pressuring Yang Xi, swarming all over the back of his rival’s car. Yang Xi tried everything but ultimately had to settle for seventh. Xi Xiu Ping was caught-out in the first lap tussle and pitched into a spin into the barriers.
The next round of the FIA F4 Chinese Championship takes place at Beijing Goldenport in the first weekend of July.
Race 1 Results:
4- Liu Yang
6- Xi Xiu Ping
7- Yang Xi
DNF Liu Kai
DNF Charles Lin Tai An
Race 2 Results:
3- Liu Kai
4- Yang Xi
5- Charles Lin Tai An
6- Xi Xiu Ping
7- Liu Yang
Race 3 Results:
3- Liu Kai
4- Charles Lin Tan An
6- Liu Yang
7- Yang Xi
DNF- Xi Xiu Ping
Liu Kai leads Asia Racing Team strong performance at Zhuhai
Liu Kai won the first race of the 2016 FIA Chinese Formula 4 Championship, leading a 1–2–3 sweep by Asia Racing Team at Zhuhai International Circuit. Having taken double second place finishes on Sundays’ FIA Chinese F4 Championship races, the Beijing driver left Zhuhai leading the championship standings.
After qualifying third on Saturday’s morning 30-minute session, Liu Kai did a brilliant start, moving up to first in the first corner. He managed to deal with the pressure in the first few laps, crossing the finish line with a comfortable gap to the second, Wu Ruo Peng.
2015 runner up Peng had held onto second, and an impressive 15-year old Lin Tan An to third. Back in the field, John Tianqi Zhu, Tang Xi and Liu Yang had an eventful race battling up through the field, crossing the finish lane fifth, sixth and seventh respectively. Teammate and single seater debutant Xi Xiu Ping was 9th at the flag.
Race two saw Liu Kai starting from pole-position but the Beijing Manthey Racing sponsored driver found himself under attack after four laps. He couldn’t defend his first position but he remained second, a position he would keep to the chequered flag to earn his second podium position of the season.
Lin Tan An meanwhile was circulating in third place, but the young driver from Guangzhou lost the control of his car in T3, ending up in the wall with two laps to go. Wu Ruo Peng hereined the third place but the Hebei driver couldn’t keep the pressure and lost the third place in the very last lap.
A slow getaway did not impeded John Zhu to another back to front race. The Sino-American driver finished fifth again. Teammate Yang Xi finished just behind in sixth, conquering his best result of the weekend.
Liu Yang started the race from the pitlane, after spinning in the out lap. The Shandong racer had a short race, ending up spinning in T14 on lap 6.
The early signs were that the final race of the weekend was going to be a close one, with each of the Asia Racing Team drivers fighting their own battles. At the start, Liu Kai maintained second, although here was a shuffle of the order behind him, as Lin Tai An passed a couple of opponents for sixth. At the chequered flag, Liu Kai had done enough to fend off the ever present Bruno Carneiro to take his second podium of the weekend and an early championship lead.
Wu Ruo Peng started fourth and remained there to the flag. Without taking unnecessary risks this time, Lin Tai An stayed sixth. Yang Xi and Liu Yang were in the thick of the battle at the sharp end of the field, finishing eighth and ninth.
Zhu meanwhile had been handed a drive through for track limits, finishing the race in 10th. An early spin took the chances of Xi Xiu Ping to obtain a better result in the last contest. He was 11th and last at the flag.
Charles Leong was the fastest in Free Practice 1 and qualified sixth overall but Macau karting ace has been hampered to take part in the races due to a license issue.
The championship resumes in the last weekend of May at the Chengdu International Circuit.
Race 1 Results:
1- Liu Kai
2- Wu Ruopeng
3- Charles Lin Tan An
5- John Tianqi Zhu
6- Yang Xi
7- Liu Yang
9- Xi Xiu Ping
DNS Charles Leong
Race 2 Results:
2- Liu Kai
4- Wu Ruopeng
5- John Tianqi Zhu
6- Yang Xi
9- Xi Xiu Ping
DNF - Liu Yang
DNF - Charles Lin Tan An
DNS - Charles Leong
Race 3 Results:
2- Liu Kai
4- Wu Ruopeng
6- Charles Lin Tan An
8- Yang Xi
9- Liu Yang
10- John Tianqi Zhu
11- Xi Xiu Ping
DNS - Charles Leong
Macau Karting Ace Graduates to Chinese F4
Asia Racing Team is delighted to sign Macau karting star Charles Leong Hon Chio for the opening round of 2016 FIA Chinese Formula 4 Championship, hoping to extend the agreement to the remaining four events of the season.
Starting at the early age of 8, Leong has been a regular top contender in the AAMC Macau Karting series and in the Asian Karting Open Championship junior categories.
Touted as the most promising driver in Macau karting today, Leong started testing the Mygale-Geely Formula 4 last summer at the Zhuhai International Circuit, showing a great pace on his maiden formula car experience.
The 14-year old from Macau is looking forward to the challenges presented by this new challenge: “This is going to be my first race weekend in single seaters, and it will be about learning. I don’t have many expectations. I’ll give it my best shot and see where we go.”
Asia Racing Team Driver Coach and Macau pro-driver Rodolfo Avila, added, “Charles tested with us a few times and on the back of that we are delighted he will be joining us in the team. His preparation and commitment to starting his single seaters racing career in 2016 meant he was top of our list for the season.”
Due to his age and provisional race license, Leong won’t be able to score points for the championship or teams standings.
Asia Racing Team technical service provider to 有朋自远方来 in Chinese F4
Zhuhai based Asia Racing Team are proud to be the newly announced technical service provider to 有朋自远方来 in the second season of FIA Chinese Formula 4 Championship. The multiple championship winning team will provide engineering and technical support to the Shandong team, both from the championship’s technical headquarters in Zhuhai, People’s Republic of China and at the five track events on the 2016 calendar.
有朋自远方来, which translated to English means “Friends Come From Far Away”, will enter the Chinese duo Sam Liu Yang and Xi Xui Ping. Both drivers have a vast touring car experience at national level but will be debuting this year in single seaters.
Team Manager Philippe Descombes said, “We are proud to be working with such a big organisation as the有朋自远方来 and we are keen to repay their trust in us with a successful Formula 4 campaign from the outset. It will be a learning season for both drivers but it’s already clear to us that 有朋自远方来 are taking this programme seriously.”
Sam Liu Yang, 有朋自远方来 Team Principal and Driver, said, “We never drove any single seater car before, not to speak of joining the races. We hope we can adapt the car quickly and develop our driving skills. The priority for this season will be to finish all the races.”
Held over a one day event in some of the world’s most exciting Chinese cities, the FIA Chinese Formula 4 Championship kicks off in Zhuhai on the 23rd April and concludes in Zhaoqing’s Guangdong International Circuit on 6th November. The Championship will also visit Chengdu, Beijing and the Formula One circuit of Shanghai.
Lin Tai An Signs Full Chinese F4 Season Deal
16-year old Charles Lin Tai An will compete in the full season of the FIA Chinese Formula 4 Championship with Asia Racing Team.
The Guangzhou racer will partner 2015 second runner-up Liu Kai to race under the Beijing Manthey Racing team banner.
Lin is not new to the team or to the series, having take part of the last event of the Chinese Formula 4 opening season at Zhuhai. He took the flag in fourth position in race one, and with the ability to maintain a steady pace, he repeated the fourth place of the first race on race two.
The protégé of FIA European Formula 3 driver Peter Li, the GT Asia Series Champion with Asia Racing Team in 2013, started racing in karting in 2008 at the early age of 7, being Chinese karting champion in the NCJ-A and NCJ-B classes.
Looking ahead to the season the Yumin Restaurant sponsored driver said, "I’m really pleased to be back at Asia Racing Team and follow the footsteps of Peter Li. There will be a lot to learn over the season but I’m pleased to be learning from one of the most experienced single seater teams in China and looking forward to the upcoming year."
Team Manager Philippe Descombes, commented, "We’re delighted to welcome Charles back to the team for a full season in the series; Charles knows the team well and we’re pleased to have him back on board. He’s still on a big learning curve but he’s delivered some good performances so far and just needs as much time in the car as he can."
Wu Ruo Peng signs with ART for China F4 title bid
2015 FIA Chinese Formula 4 Championship runner up Wu Ruo Peng will join Asia Racing Team to compete in all 15 races of this year’s championship.
Wu Ruo Peng will partner Yang Xi in a two-car squad with both drivers piloting under Ruo Peng Racing Team (若鹏赛车队) banner.
The 21 year old Hebei native will aim to win both the China F4 driver and team titles this year, following his maiden race win in the last event of 2015 at Zhuhai. The former China Formula Grand Prix (CFGP) driver showed consistent results over his F4 debuting season, scoring an impressive nine podium finish record out ten races.
Wu Ruo Peng said, “I will try my best to fight for the championship. We are committed to the positive values of the sport which shall be fair play, and at the same time to keep the friendship in the paddock. I am very happy to work with a new team this year and hope we can be in a ‘win-win’ situation.”
Team Manager, Philippe Descombes, added, “Last season we proved that we had the potential to perform in the series. By adding Wu Ruo Peng to the equation, we will be even stronger. Last season Wu has also proven he is able to win races, so I can’t see any reason why he won’t be a title contender in 2016 with us.”
The 2016 FIA Chinese Formula 4 Championship kicks off on April 24 at the Zhuhai International Circuit. The 15-race championship will visit five circuits across Mainland China.
Liu Kai set for second season of China F4
Liu Kai, a race winner last season in FIA Chinese Formula 4 Championship, is to return to Geely-powered competition in 2016 at the wheel of a Asia Racing Team-prepared car.
Beijing Manthey Team driver, who enjoyed a successful 2015 season racing in the FIA Chinese Formula 4 Championship, won one race and finished six times in the podium during his maiden season of single seater racing, ending the year third overall in the championship.
Liu Kai doesn’t hide he is aiming at the championship this season. The Beijing native says he is eyeing nothing less than the coveted single seater championship title this year.
Speaking about his Formula 4 season ahead, Liu Kai said: "Hope I can secure Drivers and Team’s Championship with Asia Racing Team’s support. I also wish my teammate will be fast to allow us to be 1+1 ＞2, not giving a chance to the opposition. On other hand, the competition is stronger this season; for sure this comes with more risks and things we cannot predict. At the same time it brings a new challenge and opportunity, and I want to show to everyone that I will not give up on trying to reach the highest step of the podium."
Team Manager Philippe Descombes added: “Liu Kai already has a year’s experience so has invaluable track and Mygale-Geely knowledge. We know he has a front pace and I’ve no doubt he’ll be a great asset for us as a team.”
The opening event of the FIA Chinese F4 Championship will take place at Zhuhai International Circuit over the weekend 23rd/24th April.
The championship will be decided over 15 races across Mainland China. The winning driver will hold the title FIA Formula 4 Champion of People’s Republic of China, and will earn 10 Grand Prix Superlicence points.
Zhu joins Asia Racing Team for 2016 China F4
John Zhu joins Asia Racing Team for 2016 China F4 Sino-American driver John Zhu will join Asia Racing Team for the opening event of FIA Chinese Formula 4 Championship at the Zhuhai International Circuit.
Zhu is excited to open a new chapter of his racing career in Mainland China by competing in the Formula 4 series. The 28-year-old from Shanghai is only confirmed for the first round at Zhuhai on April 25 at the moment, but wants to contest a full season.
“I’ll definitely be doing Zhuhai and after that it’s round by round,” he said. “Racing in China is something that I have always wanted to do and I think the F4 series is the best series for me to have the opportunity to do so. I like the variety of circuits that are on the schedule. Not only do I have to learn a new racecar, but also how the racing works here. My experience in US will definitely help me in China.”
Rodolfo Avila, Driver Coach of Asia Racing Team, added: “John tested with us in February and really impressed us with how quickly he adapted to the car. Obviously a lot is going to be new for him, but he has shown a lot of ability and commitment so far and I’m sure he’s going to be a fantastic competitor.”
The 2016 FIA Chinese Formula 4 Championship kicks off on April 24 at the Zhuhai International Circuit. The 15-race championship will visit five circuits across Mainland China.
Asia Racing Team signs YangXi for China F4
Beijing driver YangXi has signed with Asia Racing Team for this season’s FIA Chinese Formula 4 Championship, it has been confirmed today.
YangXi isn’t a stranger to the team as he tested Asia Racing Team’s Mygale-Geely in 2015 and raced in selected events of 2012 and 2013 AFR Series.
He also has a strong background in touring cars, having clinch the third position in Zhuhai’s Circuit Hero 500 Endurance race in Class A last January with Asia Racing Team’s SEAT Léon TCR.
“I’ve had the chance to do some limited testing last year and I’ve found the F4 car and the series interesting,” he said. “ART is a good team. I hope to be up to speed quickly.”
Team Manager Philippe Descombes, added: “We are delighted to announce YangXi will be racing Chinese F4 with us this season. The level of the series will go up this year but I believe that YangXi can challenge for the top positions from the outset.”
The opening round of the 2016 FIA Chinese Formula 4 Championship will take place at the squad’s local circuit, Zhuhai on 23/24 April. The championship will visit five of the China’s best circuits throughout the season – Zhuhai, Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai F1 and Guangdong.
Asia Racing Team’s SEAT impress at Circuit Hero 500 debut
Asia Racing Team’s SEAT Léon TCR endurance racing baptism went perfectly as both cars have run flawless in this weekend’s "Circuit Hero 500".
Beijing’s Yang Xi and TCR Asia Series Vice-Champion Rodolfo Avila were Class A P6 at the flag, and Hong Kong trio Thomas Ng, Keith Luk and Samuel Law finished fifth in the "2.000cc and above" category. The two Pakelo branded SEAT Léon TCR were the quickest touring cars out there on Saturday’s Qualifying.
Yang Xi qualified P12 overall, and third of Class A. Hit by a puncture Thomas Ng still managed to qualify fourth in Class A and P13 overall. Starting from P12, just behind the GT and Prototype opposition, Yang Xi and Avila knew from the beginning that would be hard to beat his two main class opponents in normal conditions.
Starting driver Yang Xi enjoyed a stellar opening stint, rising from 12th to run as high as eight overall. That pace continued and improved as Avila took over, briefly snatching the class second position and consistently running in the top three. With a need to preserve rubber, Yang Xi returned to the cockpit and carefully nursed the available tyres throughout his second stint.
With forty minutes remaining, Avila returned to the car intent on making up places, including racing on track the faster Class A cars. Lapping as fast as the front-running class cars, Avila pushed ART’s SEAT to complete the race in 12th overall and sixth in class.
"That was tough out there because of the traffic, but a lot of fun too. We knew we couldn’t beat the Caterham R500 and the Lotus if nothing wrong happened to them, so the three place is great result in the end. Yang Xi was running at the class pace and the guys in the pits were supreme", said Avila.
A gravel incursion in the beginning of the second hour, that cost three laps to the team, and a long first pit-stop when a wheel got stuck did not prevent Thomas Ng, Keith Luk and Samuel Law to perform well, finishing 5th in Class A and 17th overall on a 44-car field. The Hong Kong trio had their first TCR machinery contact only this week and the #8 SEAT was among the quickest cars in the class.
"It was a wonderful start of 2016! Despite the 200km/h tire puncture in qualifying, and the wheel that wouldn’t come off during first pit stop, we still managed to finish the race. Thanks everyone in the team for the support. It was a great experience", added Ng.
Team Champion’s Asia Racing Team will now start the preparation of the two SEAT Léon TCR for the second season of the TCR Asia Series that kicks off on May 14/15 at the Korea International Circuit.
Liu Kai Rounds Out Championship With Race Win
Liu Kai has rounded out his campaign in the FIA Formula 4 China Championship with a much deserved race win on his last chance. 15-year old Charles Lin Tai An made his single seater debut, securing two fourth-place finishes at the Zhuhai International Circuit.
The weekend started off on the wrong foot as the team was informed of the declassification of Liu Kai due to an allegedly ride height infraction in the Round 7 at Zhuhai on October 30th. As a matter of fact, Asia Racing Team’s car was in conformity with the 2015 FIA Formula 4 China Technical Regulations, being declassified by the race stewards decision based on a "new rule" not released to the teams before the Round 7 (!).
The initial setback did not deter Liu Kai, who qualified second for the first race of the weekend. Later in the day the Beijing racer tried to win for the first time this season but a collision in the first corner damaged his Mygale-Geely front wing. Fighting with a damaged car, Liu Kai was second at the flag. Liu Kai saved his best for the end.
The Manthey Motors (Beijing) sponsored driver made a good getaway and then held off the first position he got in the first corner, posting the best lap time of the race in the process. “The 2015 season couldn’t have ended better than with this win,” Liu Kai said. "I worked very hard to make it happen this season, so I am really happy I got it. Next season I expect a fair competition and regulation."
China Karting Championship top runner Charles Lin decided to join the race to explore the possibility of taking part in the series at full-time in 2016. The Guangzhou native was sixth on Saturday morning’s Qualifying session but had to start from the pitlane for the race one.
Lin’s car developed a clutch-related problem that required an extra effort from his mechanics to get it functional again on time to race.
Starting from the pitlane, Lin was eager to work his way up the field as quickly as possible during the early stages of the race. By lap three, Lin was up to sixth. Lin continued his charge up the order and took the flag in fourth position. With the ability to maintain a steady pace, Charles Lin repeated the fourth place of the first race on a less eventful race two.
Liu Kai finished third in the championship as Asia Racing Team finished third in the teams’ classified.
Asia Racing Team Wins Teams’ Title
Asia Racing Team won the inaugural TCR Asia Series teams’ title and capped a winning year with a double win result at the Macau Grand Prix’s Guia Race 2.0T.
Former Porsche Carrera Cup Asia vice-champion Rodolfo Avila and Hong Kong’s Sam Lok represented the Macau born Zhuhai based racing team for the season finale at Circuito da Guia.
Asia Racing Team duo was left with opposing thoughts after qualifying on Saturday. Avila praised the team for doing ‘a very good job’ by getting into Q2, qualifying first of the TCR Asia Series competitors, while Lok had been ruled out by the stewards after setting times outside of the 107% barrier.
Sunday races saw a series of crashes depleting the field. Avila’s cautious strategy paid off handsomely. The local ace powered by Pakelo Lubricants was 12th overall at the flag in the first race and 5th overall in the second race, winning twice the TCR Asia race.
Avila combined points vaulted Asia Racing Team to the top of the teams’ rankings and saw the successful conclusion to a season-long battle between the SEAT Léon TCR team and their closest challengers, the Prince Racing Honda squad.
In 9 rounds of series competition, Asia Racing Team drivers scored an impressive eleven podium results -- including three overall wins for Avila, two for one-time race-returnee Descombes and one for Thai touring car star Tin Sritrai.
Speaking about his race weekend, Avila said, "We had two crazy races out there. I was very cautious in both race starts because I was expecting a bit of mess before Lisboa Corner. I have been very lucky to escape unscathed too. I am happy with progress throughout the weekend. The team gave me a great car and I just had to manage my pace, knowing that was no point to take unnecessary risks. It is the best feeling to be able to share these results with everybody in the team."
Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, "Winning the teams’ title in the TCR Asia Series is a fantastic reward for all of our hard work. Thank you to all the drivers involved in this result - Rodolfo, Tin, Kevin and Liu Lic Ka - and congratulations to all of the teams we battled. I’m already looking forward to seeing how everyone in TCR Asia Series steps it up next year."
Asia Racing adds the TCR Asia Series teams’ title to an already impressive list of 2015 accomplishments. Team drivers and instructors Avila and Descombes brought home the drivers’ vice-championship and second runner-up.
The two SEAT Léon TCR are on its way to Zhuhai International Circuit where the team will start the pre-season testing soon.
Photo Courtesy of Chi Wai
ART enters Ávila and Sam Lok in Macau Guia Race
The Asia Racing Team has entered Rodolfo Ávila and Sam Lok Chi Kit in the final race meeting of the TCR International and TCR Asia series at Macau’s Circuito da Guia.
Born in Portugal, Ávila has established himself as one of the most successful racing driver from Macau and since 2009 has emerged as one of the title contenders in the competitive Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. Earlier this year he had the opportunity to drive one of the Asia Racing Team’s SEAT León, winning the opening round of the TCR Asia at Sepang.
“The Guia Race is very special for Macau drivers and I am no exception. I know the circuit pretty well, but this is only the second time I race in a touring car. I’ll have to make some adaptations to my driving style, but I will put my head down and do the best I can do for the team that is fighting to win the TCR Asia Teams’ title," Ávila said.
Sam Lok, from Hong Kong, began racing two years ago in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia; he later competed in the Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific and the Volkswagen Scirocco Cup China, before returning to the Super Trofeo in which he was classified fourth in the AM Class in the current season.
Lok stated: “This will be only my second time at the Guia circuit. I am happy that Asia Racing Team and StarSpeed Racing offered me the opportunity to take part in this great event. I don’t have high expectations, but I’m looking forward to gain more experience in one of the most demanding circuits in the world. Just participating in the event is already a dream come true for a Hong Konger!”
Asia Racing Team’s drivers have won four out of the eight TCR Asia rounds held so far: Philippe Descombes (Races 2 and 3) and Ávila (Race 1) at Sepang, Tin Sritrai (Race 2) at Buriram.
Text Prepared by TCR International Series
Photo Courtesy of TCR International Series
Liu Kai Races to Second-place finish at Zhuhai
Liu Kai picked up more points towards his FIA F4 Chinese Championship challenge by finishing second and fourth in the two 25-minute races at the Zhuhai Circuit in PR China.
On Saturday, the Beijing racer qualified second for Sunday’s Race One, just 0.153s shy, but things would not get easier on Sunday.
Despite menacing black clouds swirling around the peaks of Feng Hua mountains, race day remained dry. On a very "sui generis" afternoon at Zhuhai, Liu Kai managed to get away with a second place in Race One and a fourth place finish in Race Two despite starting from the pitlane following a "unexpectedly long" Parc-Fermé between races due to a last minute amendment on the technical regulations.
"The car today in the race was very good, but I made a mistake at the start of Race One and lost one position that I had to regain afterwards. In the second race I started from the pitlane but I am very happy with my progress during the race. For the next event I’m looking to do even better”, Liu admitted.
The results remain provisional at present, but against the odds, the Manthey Motors sponsored driver is still holding the second place in the drivers’ championship standings with one event to go!
The last event of 2015 FIA F4 Chinese Championship will take place in Zhuhai on the 9th and 10th of January 2016.
Photo courtesy @ NARCAR
Sritrai Wins With Pu Third
Asia Racing Team returned to the TCR Asia Series with a flourish, winning the second race of the weekend at the Chang International Circuit.
Thailand’s Tin Sritrai took one victory and a second-place. Pu Jun Jin finished his impressive series debut in third position in both races, extending Asia Racing Team lead in the teams’ championship standings.
The weekend started with mixed feelings during qualifying. Local hero Sritrai didn’t make it into Q2, qualifying P14 overall and second of the TCR Asia Series participants, while Pu Jun Jin qualified P18 overall and P4 of the Asian series. The Lady Luck was not on team’s side on Saturday. Sritrai had a slow puncture on his first new tires run as Pu Jun Jin lost his best lap time for not respecting the track limits.
Sunday’s Race One saw a chaotic race start in the middle of the field with both Asia Racing Team’s SEAT Léon TCR emerging miraculously unscathed. Sritrai lost one position to championship leader Michael Choi but the Thai racer won’t take long to overtake his opponent and get back his second place, putting a nice fight with Alain Menu and Gianni Morbidelli for the 12th place overall in the process. China’s Pu also showed a great pace, crossing the finish line in third position.
Sritrai’s SEAT Léon TCR took the honours in Race Two despite race-long pressure from his main rival Munkong Sathienthirakul, and a stewards penalty that made him to start from the back of the grid. He also managed to score points in the International Series, finishing 8th in Race 2.
Pu made a strong start off the line but he got hit by opponent in the opening stages, dropping to fifth. Despite being the only one of the top runners on used tires, Pu driver charged back from adversity to post a third-place finish.
Speaking about his race win, Sritrai said, “It was the first time for me with a front-wheel driven, turbocharged car. I am very happy of this experience and the nice progression throughout the weekend. Of course, taking the win in Race 2 was a perfect end, although I benefitted from the engine problems encountered by Sathienthirakul.”
Teammate Pu added “Overall I am very happy with my results. I had a very good start in the first race but in the end I couldn’t match the pace of my teammate. In the second race I was doing very well until I got hit by the FRD Focus. Then I focused on not making any mistakes. The car felt good so it was a very good experience.”
The circuit reported an attendance of 22,000 over the weekend. With four wins out of five races, Asia Racing Team is comfortably leading the TCR Asia Series teams’ championship standings by 58 points.
The TCR Asia Series and the International Series will resume on 19 to 22 November at Macau, for its maiden season’s final.
Photo courtesy of Thanamet Jantotirawong
Pu-Sritrai Driver Line-Up for Buriram
The Asia Racing Team has revealed that they will compete in the two final events of the TCR Asia Series, at Buriram and Macau.
After dominating the inaugural race meeting of TCR Asia at Sepang, claiming victory in all the three races, the Zhuhai-based squad was forced to skip the Singapore event. The team though have now named Kevin Pu Jun Jin from China and local driver Tin Sritrai to drive its pair of SEAT León cars at Buriram.
The 31-year old Pu returns at the wheel of a front-wheel drive touring car three years after his maiden racing season in the Volkswagen Scirocco Cup China; more recently, Pu has split his racing activity between single seaters and sportscars with brilliant results.
“I have been looking to compete in the new TCR Series, and I am very happy to get this opportunity. I never drove the SEAT Léon before and Buriram’s circuit is new to me. Nevertheless I will be aiming to perform my best at this event, hoping to finish on the podium in the TCR Asia and fight with the best of the international field,” he said.
Sritrai is facing his first appearance in an international series, but he can claim perfect knowledge of the Buriram circuit, as he leaves nearby. On top of this he is an experienced touring car driver in spite of his young age (25), having grabbed four titles in the Touring Car Series Asia and two in the Super 2000 class of the Thai Super Series in the last four years.
“This will be a new challenge for me. The SEAT is a front-wheel drive turbo car; very different from what I am used to driving. I’m not going to know what to expect until I get out there on Friday and get a proper feeling of it. It’s going to be a great experience though and I’m going out to do a good job in front of my home fans,” Sritrai admitted.
Team manager Philippe Descombes commented: “We are pleased to be back in the series with such a strong line up. Tin and Kevin are no stranger to the team. They both did well with us in single seaters and having them back at this event will be special for us. We are still leading the teams’ championship standings and we want to keep it that way. You never know until qualifying how the weekend will be, but we’re feeling confident."
Text Prepared by TCR International Series
Photo Courtesy of Cheung Chi Wai
Liu Kai Banks Double Podium at Shanghai
Asia Racing Team driver Liu Kai fought a hard battle to secure a FIA Chinese F4 Championship double podium finish at the Shanghai International Circuit. The Beijing racer scored two third place finishes in the third event of the season, strengthening his hold on second place in the drivers’ standings.
Unfortunately, though, the desired pace couldn’t quite be unlocked on Saturday’s qualifying and Liu Kai had to settle for 5th position on the grid for the first encounter, leaving a lot of work to do in Sunday’s Race One.
Off the line Liu Kai rushed into the "Top-3" snatching it from series leader Julio Acosta. The Chinese driver fought well to secure the third place, crossing the finish line under pressure from his opponent.
Speaking about his first race, Liu Kai said, “I had a good start and kept a good pace all through the race. I have built myself up after the battles I had with Julio in the previous races at Beijing. I know now how to hold my position, and I already got used to his attacks. I start to understand what he will do and where I shall keep the pace or try harder."
On Sunday’s Race Two, Liu Kai showed again a strong performance and confirmed his good form with a fourth place finish at the flag. An opponent post-race time penalty promoted him to third. With two podiums from the weekend he remains in contention for the title with four races remaining.
Liu Kai summed up, "We are a bit overweight and this is not helping us but importantly we’ve shown great potential at every event on the calendar and shown we have a strong package in our first year in Formula 4. The next two events are in Zhuhai and I know the track well, so I have a good feeling for the track and look forward to returning there."
The inaugural season of FIA Chinese F4 Championship resumes on November 1st at the Zhuhai International Circuit.
Asia Racing Team Stuns on TCR Asia Opening
Asia Racing Team wrote a piece of Asian touring cars history last weekend at the Sepang International Circuit. The Macau-based SEAT León operation laid down an impressive challenge from the outset, winning the first three races in the opening event for the new TCR Asia Series in Malaysia after qualifying its cars on the front row of the grid.
Macau’s Rodolfo Avila had a dominant performance on Saturday race, and teammate Philippe Descombes completed the trifecta for the team, with two dominant wins on the final day of competition to give the team a strong lead in the points heading to Singapore.
The two SEAT León cars had dominated qualifying earlier in the morning, with Avila turning his first real laps in qualifying after missing Friday practice due to illness, the Macanese driver setting a pole time of 2:19.363 in the opening session just 17 one hundredths ahead of teammate and Team Manager in facto Descombes. The Frenchman returned the favour in Q2 though, switching the tables on his teammate, in the process lowering the new benchmark to 2:19.335.
Highlighting perfectly just how competitive the new TCR Asia Series cars are, both laps were actually three tenths of a second faster than Kevin Gleason’s pole time in the Honda back when the TCR International Series qualified at Sepang for their opening round back in March.
The race did not start as planned as both Asia Racing Team cars lost positions at start. Avila dropped to eight and Descombes lost one position to the Ford Focus. It took no longer than two laps for both red-black-white SEAT regain the 1-2 position of the start.
As the laps wound down Asia Racing Team duo didn’t give an inch, with Avila punching out an impressive 2:10.140 late in the session before slowing to join Descombes in a formation finish for the Macau-based operation.
Speaking about his strong touring début, Avila said "I’m proud to be the first ever TCR Asia Series race winner. It was an excellent job from the boys today. The car was always "au point", and after a slow start, I had a lot of fun battling back from 8th to 1st. A special thank you to all those who helped make this happen. I really hope to return to the series in the future."
Sunday’s races were a blast for the team who continued its momentum with a double victory of Descombes. The French veteran started from pole-position in both races and delivered on promise, pulling off an easy double race win.
Descombes said of his race weekend, “We’re very happy with the way the weekend went. The car was fantastic. This weekend was effectively a glorified test session for us, as the cars arrived just last week, so we decided to push them ourselves to see what they were capable of, and I have to say, they do everything they’re supposed to do perfectly. I think this new TCR concept is exactly what the Asian region needs, it will be a great category.”
Due to his Porsche Carrera Cup Asia commitments on Sunday, Avila was replaced by Liu Lic Ka, a former World Touring Car entrant who happened to be in Sepang and tempted to sample the new TCR Seat after watching Avila’s strong victory. Without any previous mileage in the car, the Macau driver had to start from the back of the grid for both races, crossing the finish line in 7th and 4th.
Deputy Team Manager Sergio Fonseca added, "We are very happy with the overall results and our cars performance as this was the very first touring car race weekend for the team: it’s difficult to do any better. But it wasn’t as easy as it looks, and we have to say thanks to everyone who helped us over the weekend. The TCR concept will definitely change the way people see touring car racing in Asia. This is a completely new world."
Photo courtesy of Cheung Chi Wai
Liu Kai returned to the podium
Asia Racing Team’s Liu Kai returned to the podium in the second event of 2015 FIA F4 Chinese Championship at the Beijing Goldenport Circuit.
The Beijing native took pole-position for Asia Racing Team on Saturday for Sunday’s Round 3 and 4. He was the only driver to have gone under 1:07 mark.
Unfortunately Liu Kai couldn’t translate the pole position(s) into a win(s) on slippery track conditions on Sunday. A third place in race one and a fourth place in race two, after a 30-sec penalty for an allegedly contact with an opponent, did not show the true pace of his Manthey Motors sponsored Mygale-Geely over the weekend.
Commenting about his races, Liu Kai said, “The track was wet today and we adjusted the settings a little bit. I was trying something else but it didn’t work out. Hopefully we can continue improving on the performance side and finish the races in the podium again in Shanghai.”
Team Manager Philippe Descombes, added, "A day of missed opportunities. Li Kai had huge difficulties with the slippery track, which compromised his race pace, so he was not able to keep hold of his position. We now need to find a solution for this issue. We’ve shown some good pace on dry this weekend, so we are still optimistic for the upcoming races."
The FIA F4 Chinese Championship returns on September 18-20th at the Shanghai International Circuit.
Asia Racing Team Joins Debut Season of TCR Asia Series
One of the most successful teams in Asian motorsport, Macau’s Asia Racing Team [ART], have revealed they will be on the grid with a two-car team for the opening round of the new TCR Asia Series at Sepang in early September [4-6].
Owned by a group of successful South China entrepreneurs, ART has not only been successful across a variety of GT and open-wheel categories over 15 years, they also employ a host of dynamic and multi-faceted young professionals involved in motor racing and event management.
ART are not only one of the most recognisable names in Asian and Chinese motorsports, but the men who command the outfit are respected in the international racing community as well.
The on-field operation of the company is managed by motor racing multi-titlist Frenchman Philippe Descombes, with Macau motor racing ace Rodolfo Avila as the team’s Driver Coach. Portuguese Sérgio Fonseca is the COO, directing ART’s day-to-day office operations to ensure all processes run with seamless perfection, whilst Chief Mechanic Yannick Mazier leads a 12-man crew in the workshop based at Zhuhai International Circuit in China.
The team will line up with a pair of SEAT Léon TCR cars for the season-opener, with a yet-to-be-confirmed driver lineup, although they have been quick to point out they have no shortage of candidates.
“We can see the huge benefits of being involved with the TCR Series in Asia,” ART’s Team Manager Phillipe Descombes explained. “Touring car racing has a huge heritage in Asia but we have been more than a decade waiting for the professionalisation of a new category to step in. The TCR global concept and the Asian series package offered includes a strong calendar, good-looking cars, close racing and affordable budgets - they were key factors in our decision to take part in the series.”
“I’m overjoyed to have ART join the TCR Asia Series in our debut season,” David Sonenscher, the TCR Asia Series promoter and the Asian region’s representative of WSC Ltd admitted. “They are a well recognised team in Asia, and very successful in a variety of categories, so for them to sign up for the maiden season only reinforces the foundation of why we wanted to introduce the Asian series this year.
“The TCR Series offers an amazing program, on some of the best circuits in Asia, with teams getting the opportunity to compete against the world’s best touring car drivers for at least three of our events. The costs are more than competitive against other touring car series around the world, but the fact that it is identical in structure to all the other TCR Series that will be contested this year and into the future, provides teams with the opportunity to compete on a level playing field anywhere in the world.”
2015 TCR Asia Series – Calendar
4-6 September, Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
18-20 September, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore
23-25 October, Buriram International Circuit, Thailand
20-22 November, Circuito da Guia, Macau SAR
Excellent Double Second Place for Liu Kai at Beijing
Asia Racing Team headed north to Beijing for the opening round of 2015 FIA F4 Chinese Championship at Goldenport Circuit, putting in a strong performance, taking one pole-position and second place twice with Liu Kai and only missing out on first by a narrow margin. Teammate Hua Miao claimed a double-fourth place finish.
Qualifying saw Li Kai conquering Race 2 Pole-Position as the second fastest qualifying time recorded sets the grid position for the second race. The Beijing racer was a shy 0.06 seconds off the Race 1 Pole-Position on a polemic Qualifying session where the poleman got caught 10kg underweight and no action was taken. Still recovering from an heavy crash on Free Practice, Hua Miao managed to qualify 5th and 4th respectively.
As the lights went out the Beijing crowd were welcomed to their first racing start of the weekend; and as the cars had made their way to the second corner Liu Kai was already leading while Hua Miao moved to fourth where he stayed until the chequered flag. Liu could have won this race but he got badly held up by a backmarker and just missed out on the victory.
Off the line as the Sunday’s second race begun Liu Kai kept his first position. Manthey Racing sponsored Asia Racing Team run Mygale-Geely led half of the race and eventually finished second behind the race one winner again. Hua Miao had a quiet race to fourth.
Speaking of the result Liu Kai said, "I am full of praise for my team and my car. All I need to do is to improve my pace. In a way, Hua Miao and I are the only drivers who got the proper service team at this race event. I hope all the drivers will start from scratch for the next events."
Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, "It was a shame to come away from the race without a win considering that Liu Kai showed a great pace and attitude. Hua Miao had no experience with the car but he has potential to be a podium contender. We showed a lot of potential and signed off very well."
FIA F4 Chinese Championship returns to Beijing Goldenport on the 1st and 2nd of July.
Strong Line Up Ahead of Inaugural Season
Asia Racing Team will line up a two-car team for the opening round of FIA Formula 4 Chinese Championship at Beijing Goldenport Circuit on July 4 and 5.
Formula Masters China Series regular Hua Miao will join Beijing frontrunner Liu Kai. Following the promising results on Zhuhai and Chengdu test days Asia Racing Team is aiming high for the first edition of the series.
Team Manager Philippe Descombes, said, "I believe we have a strong line-up. Liu Kai and Hua Miao are a very strong pairing and they get on very well. Formula 4 will be another new challenge for Asia Racing Team and we will be pushing as hard as possible to achieve a strong showing at what we believe will be a fantastic new championship."
Meanwhile 13-year-old Macau karting rising start Leong Hon Chio made his single seater debut in a China F4 last week. Under the guidance of Asia Racing Team’s Coach Philippe Descombes, the test proved to be a positive one with Leong showing a great pace on his maiden formula car experience. The Macau driver will be under an evaluation process, hoping to join China F4 series anytime soon.
The championship uses the French company Mygale’s F4 car and Chinese car company Geely will supply the engine.
Asia Racing Team Tops Afternoon Test Session in Chengdu
Asia Racing Team’s Liu Kai finished second overall in the FIA Formula 4 Chinese Championship official testing at the Chengdu Circuit, topping the times in the second official session.
The Beijing racer continued his strong form in pre-season and having moved to Asia Racing Team he has adapted well to the Mygale-Geely throughout the official testing days at Zhuhai and now at Chengdu.
Just the last of the three testing days was timed, and Asia Racing Team-run Manthey Motors-livery car was the second fastest in the first official timing session, a shy 0,085 seconds away from the overall fastest.
Although the Asia Racing Team driver topped the time sheets in afternoon session, beating the competition by over three tenths of a second, the time was not enough to beat the morning session best lap time.
Commenting about the Chengdu’s test, Liu Kai said, "We learned a lot, and I think we’re going in the right direction. Everything we learnt here can be applied at other tracks. The team is doing a good job. The more we develop the car, the better it will be."
Philippe Descombes, Team Manager, added, "We had a good weekend showing great pace. The current car-driver weight regulation doesn’t benefit us but Liu Kai is getting more comfortable with the car and the front pace is there. We are looking forward to the championship start."
The FIA Chinese Formula 4 Championship kicks off on July 3rd to 5th at Beijing Goldenport Circuit.
Asia Racing Team Top Timesheets at Pre-Season Testing
Asia Racing Team driver Liu Kai topped the timesheets in the FIA Formula 4 China championship official pre-season test at the Zhuhai International Circuit.
Last weekend Zhuhai International Circuit hosted the official test and media days of the new-created FIA Formula 4 China series. Asia Racing Team took part of the event with Beijing native Liu Kai. Once more the focus of the team was on race preparation, with Liu Kai working on refinement of the set-up on short and long runs. The team gathered some more useful data and practiced race-relevant operations.
Liu Kai’s 1m42s9 was the best lap time of the two days. The team is expecting to do more private testing ahead of the series kicks off on June 12-14 at the Chengdu International Circuit.
FIA Formula 4 is set to become a new global standard for drivers looking to make the step up to single-seater racing. The Chinese series will be promoted by the Federation of Automobile Sports of the People’s Republic of China (FASC) which will work with Chinese motor manufacturer Geely and private race organizer NARCAR.
On its first season, the 2015 FIA Formula 4 China series calendar includes four racetracks: Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai and Zhuhai.
Pakelo renews Technical Partnership with Asia Racing Team for 2015
Asia Racing Team announces today the signing of a Technical Partnership contract renewal with Pakelo Lubricants. This contract consolidates the strong cooperation between the supplier of lubricants and the renowned GT and single-seater motor racing team, as well as prestigious racing school, based in Zhuhai International Circuit, South China.
As part of the agreement, Pakelo Lubricants will continue providing Asia Racing Team with Pakelo Lubricants technology, expertise and support to develop next generation lubricants for the race car engine and gearbox, along with greases, and brake fluids. The Pakelo brand will be prominently displayed on the Asia Racing Team race and school cars, and as it has since 2011. Pakelo will leverage the technical partnership as a key component of its regional marketing and communications activities.
Since November 2014, Sinopec Lubricant Co., Ltd is the general agent of Pakelo in Mainland China, being responsible for product sales, channel development and brand promotion in the local market. Pakelo enjoys a great reputation in Europe for its Krypton PRO high performance fully synthetic racing engine oils for competition as well as its Racing Transmission DLS oils.
Commenting on this partnership renewal, Brutus Tang, Area Manager of Pakelo Lubricants, said; “Our partnership with Asia Racing Team has been very effective for China and Southeast Asia promotion of the Pakelo brand. We’re excited to work with them again this year and showcase our most advanced product lineup to date in the Asia arena.”
Asia Racing Team’s Team Manager, Philippe Descombes, added: “Pakelo is one of our longest standing partners and very much part of the Asia Racing Team family. I’d like to thank them for their continued support. Strong partners are fundamental to success in motor racing nowadays and together we are looking forward to the next season ahead."
ART evaluating China F4 entry
Asian junior single seater powerhouse Asia Racing Team is evaluating joining the new China Formula 4 championship from 2015.
“The team is looking for new horizons,” Team Manager Philippe Descombes said. “We want to remain in single seaters racing, and as we are a China-based racing team this championship is a serious option for the future.”
The new championship’s carbon-fibre monocoque chassis, designed to meet exacting FIA safety standards, will be supplied by respected French manufacturer Mygale. Chinese automaker Geely Auto will supply the 2.0L naturally aspirated engine.
A six-round calendar is planned, featuring Zhuhai, Tianma, Shanghai, Beijing, and Chengdu. China F4 championship is organized by former CFGP promoter Narcar International Racing Development Co.,Ltd.
China F4 championship is the only single seater championship in Southeast Asia that scores points for the new Super Licence Formula One points system.
Testing is available at GIC in September and October
Asia Racing Team’s advanced performance Formula Renault and Formula Abarth/Pilota training will be available at the Guangdong International Circuit (GIC) in September.
Following the success of Asia Racing Team "arrive & drive" sessions at the Zhuhai International, under the guidance of top race instructors, Asia Racing Team will be offering now the opportunity for drivers to experiment the FIA Grade 3 Guangdong International Circuit.
GIC is located between the cities of Zhaoqing and Sanshui, some 40 km North East of Guangzhou, China’s third largest city and capital of the Guangdong province. The circuit was inaugurated in 2009, with modern facilities and a 2.8 km racetrack.
Team Manager Philippe Descombes said, “To stay on top of the industry, we are permanently looking for new opportunities. Our Racing School at Zhuhai has been a success for the past 10 years and we believe we have something interesting to offer in GIC. Formula Renault and Formula Abarth are worldwide proven racing products, endorsed by the world’s leading drivers and used as pivotal stepping stone in to Formula 3, GP3 and ultimately Formula 1.”
Dates Available (Provisional):
For more information on programs and rates offered;
Asia Racing Team - Team Manager
M: (+86) 137 023 365 74
O: (+86) 756 339 48 11
AFR Master Class Champion impressed by Formula Abarth
As a reward for his AFR Series Master Class title with Asia Racing Team, Leo Wong has spent one day with the Asia Racing Team’s Formula Abarth in Zhuhai. The Hong Kong driver had more than fifty laps to try his hand at the Tatuus FA010 powered by a 1.4L Fiat-FPT turbo engine.
Driving the Formula Abarth for the first time, Wong grew in confidence each time he took the Formula Abarth out on track. In total, he completed 57 laps of the Chinese circuit, which equates to 425 kilometres. The 2013 AFR Series Master Class Champion managed to do a lap in 1:37.9 on used Kumho tires.
Wong obviously enjoyed the experience: “The opportunity to test ART’s Formula Abarth was really a joy! I find the Formula Abarth to be an awesome race car, especially compared to my 2003-spec Formula Renault 2.0, which I’ve been driving for over a year now. There are notable improvements in terms of ease of driving, higher cornering speed because of more downforce, lighter chassis, etc. The turbo charged engine was also a delight as I could feel the turbo boost when I accelerate out of a corner. It’s really much easier to handle overall than the old Renault, so I encourage any motorsports enthusiasts to try it out.”
Ruben Silva, Race Engineer with Asia Racing Team, had this to say about Leo’s performance: "It’s always special for us working with a driver new to the car. First of all, we did everything we could to make him feel at ease in the team and in the car. We were not looking for lap times ultimately but he improved constantly and we finished the day with a good lap time. The Formula Abarth is an excellent training ground for drivers that want to step up in the career ladder but it also provides a great experience for those who are looking to drive something else than a Formula Renault in Zhuhai circuit.”
Asia Racing Team test team is permanently available for testing Formula Abarth cars on Zhuhai International Circuit, South China.
Faultless duo leads the way
Faultless duo leads the way Macau’s Rodolfo Avila and Singapore’s Vignesa Moorthy drove impeccable race in round three of the Malaysian Super Series to claim victory, in only their second start as teammates.
Avila dominated qualifying at Sepang to take his first career pole position in the Malaysian Super Series. The ViewQwest backed Radical SR8 was never off the top spot once the 30 minute qualifying session got underway, setting a qualifying time a full 5 seconds faster than any other team.
Moorthy took the rolling start in bright sunshine but, as part of the team’s strategy, he let the led go, opting for not pushing in the first couple of laps. The Singaporean skilfully fought through the traffic before an incident down the field caused a red flag period. At the restart Moorthy maintained the pace handing over to Avila with just half hour to go.
“Without doubt, today’s win boosted our championship chances after a poor opening round. There’re still three more rounds to go and we will be ready to push further to enhance our position,” Vignesa said, adding that Round 3 in June would be very critical in their quest to defend the overall crown.
Avila added, “I don’t think we’ve made the most of our car this weekend but we really brought everything together today. Vignesa focused on making a good start and he had the right pace from the beginning. The red flag made our life easier and I didn’t feel the need to take any risks in my stint. It was a comfortable and deserved win for the team.”
The Malaysian Super Series will be back in action from June 28-30.
Asia Racing Team starts Formula Masters China pre-season testing
Asia Racing Team has begun testing in preparation for the 2013 Formula Masters China Series (FMCS) season campaign. The team conducted testing day at the Zhuhai International Circuit in People’s Republic of China with Malaysian-born racer and Hong Kong resident, Shaun Thong.
The 2012 AFR Series second runner up and Asia Racing Team’s Racing School alumni had his first opportunity to drive the FIAT powered Tatuus FA010 and impressed the team with his performance. Thong did a good job at the controls of the car, and took advantage of the day to get used to the Michelin tyres. The young Malaysian driver completed a total of 50 laps, clocking a best time of 1.35.8.
Reflecting about his first Tatuus FA010 – FIAT testing, Thong commented: “The turbo engine has a funny kick but I got into it quite quickly. I improved my lap times and I was pretty consistent during the day.”
Team Manager Philippe Descombes said: “we had a very productive day with Shaun. He clearly adapted quickly to the car, and showed he was immediately on the pace. It is good to end the year like this, especially after a tough season with results below our expectations. It is always nice to get back to fast track.”
The FMCS, the former Formula Pilota China series, kicks off in May 2013 in Zhuhai and hosts six events in the first season – three in China, one in South Korea, one in Malaysia and one to be confirmed. Asia Racing Team will continue testing at Zhuhai in the beginning of January.
For further enquiries about Formula Masters China Series testing at Zhuhai, please e-mail email@example.com
Zou Sirui to Miss Sepang race
After a sensational weekend in the last Formula Pilota China event at Guangdong International Circuit, Asia Racing Team and Zou Sirui will miss this weekend’s Round 13, 14 and 15 at the Sepang International Circuit.
Due to problems with his passport, the Guangzhou-native driver couldn’t travel to Malaysia but he will return to action in the last event of the season in December.
Zou Sirui is currently 9th in the championship standings, and 7th in the “Asian Driver Trophy”.
Determined Sirui bounces back to podium finishes
Three dramatic races for the Asia Racing Team entry in the Guangdong International Circuit rounds of the Formula Pilota China saw driver China’s Zou Sirui finish twice on the podium.
Friday Qualifying saw Zou Sirui scoring his best qualifying results so far this season. The Guangzhou native managed to start from 6th in Race 1 and 5th in Race 3.
Saturday’s season-opening round saw Zou Sirui delivering a faultless race where others slid off the track. Starting from 6th he was sensible and reaped the rewards with a third position overall. Still, the best was yet to come.
In the second race of the day he started fourth, quickly caught up to second place. The 24-year-old driver was looking fast and kept his opponents on their toes for him to hold the second place position and his best result of the season.
Race 3 took place on Sunday, with the team starting from fifth on the grid. Unfortunately the red and white car was sidelined from the podium fight early with a flat shift sensor problem. Despite the bad luck he tends off, Sirui still managed to cross the line in 8th.
Reflecting on a strong performance, Sirui said “I’m really happy. Things haven’t always gone our way but this weekend I pushed really hard from the beginning. I was determined to finish in the podium, and I knew we could make it. Obviously I’m a little disappointed not to have been on the podium in race 3 because I think we were capable of that, but I’ve moved up in the drivers’ championship and now look ahead to more points finishes in Malaysia.”
Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, “Sirui showed vast improvement this weekend. He did no mistakes and it paid off. He did a flawless job in every aspect. It’s a big positive we can take from this weekend in Zhaoqing.”
The next race of the Championship is the Malaysian Super Series support event in Sepang, Malaysia, on November 4, 2012.
Photo courtesy of FormulaPilotaChina.com
Frustrated Sirui struggling with race consistency
After a brief hiatus, 2012 Formula Pilota China returned to the Ordos International Circuit for the Round 7, 8 and 9, with Asia Racing Team’s Zou Si Rui struggling to score points.
A disappointing performance in Qualifying saw Zou Sirui secure 10th on the grid for the first and third race of the weekend, with the Chinese driver trying unsuccessfully to improve his best time in Free Practice.
On Friday afternoon eleven cars lined up for the 14-lap Race 1 of the weekend. The Asia Racing Team’s Guangzhou native kept the tenth position at the start but after five laps he lost his concentration for a second and ended up losing control of the car finishing in the gravel.
On Saturday’s Race 2 - the shortest of the weekend with eight laps only - Sirui ran a clean, consistent race to claim 9th place. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to repeat the performance on Race 3, ending up in the gravel when all he needed was to cross the finish line in order to claim a 7th place overall.
Sirui commented, “Obviously I am frustrated with myself most of all because I had the pace to do much better this weekend. We also need to be strong in race consistency and I regret that I didn’t hang it all out there. I will bounce back and I am looking forward to the Guangzhou race.”
Reflecting about the race weekend, Driver Coach Rodolfo Avila added, “It’s true that we’ve made considerable strides, but this weekend results were not what we expected. Nevertheless, Sirui still has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to making optimum use of the car. But that is primarily a question of managing his own race, and Sirui keeps learning at each test and each race.”
The championship returns to Guangdong International Circuit on September 14 – 16.
Photo courtesy of www.formulapilota.com
Sirui Left Empty-handed At Ordos
Asia Racing Team’s Formula Pilota China squad endured a tough weekend in the second even of the championship this weekend, following three disappointing races around the Ordos circuit.
China racer Zou Sirui visited Inner Mongolia Ordos International Circuit for the very first time and he took him a while to adapt to the short and twisty track, as the no. 23 Asia Racing Team claimed the 12th position in Qualifying 1 and 9th position in Qualifying 2.
The 24 year-old was quick to fight back on Friday’s Race 1 but in the chaotic first lap was tapped into a spin and was fortunate not to be collected by the rest of the field. Managing to recover, Sirui rejoined at the back, finishing 12th overall.
Race 2 was declared "wet" due to a damp track. The team decided to go out on a rain tyre, believing that it might come on to rain soon after but it didn’t happen. Sirui struggled to keep himself on the right track, crossing the line in 11th.
Race 3 reached an early conclusion for Sirui who was knocked out of the race after being 6th overall after performing another superb start.
Speaking about his weekend at Ordos, Sirui said, "I’m a bit disappointed with the race weekend result. In the last race, I managed to nail the sixth position after the first corner but unfortunately I got into an accident and had no chance to get it back. I hope to overcome the challenges we face, starting from Ordos event in August.”
“This weekend was definitely character building, for Sirui and the team. We need to take this experience and learn from it, and work out to best translate our pace in the races to a strong performance in qualifying”, a team spokesman added.
Rounds 7, 8 and 9 of the Formula Pilota China will take place as part of the China Touring Car Championship at the Ordos International Circuit from August 15 to 17.
Photo @ FormulaPilotaChina.com
First Points for Zou Sirui
Zou Sirui scored his first points of the 2012 Formula Pilota season with a tenth place finish in Race 1 and a sixth place finish in Race 2 at the Shanghai International Circuit last weekend.
The Chinese driver, that inherited 2011 vice-champion Luis Sá Silva number 23, had an eventful Saturday Qualifying. He did the 11th best time in Q1 but wasn’t able to put any time in Q2, ending up in the gravel on his first flying lap.
In a relatively uneventful Race 1, Guangzhou driver held on to tenth to take one precious point to add to his tally, 36.1 seconds behind race winner.
On Sunday Race 2 Sirui finished sixth having managed to survive a chaotic 10-lap race which saw few cars crash out. The 24 year old driver played it safe and his strategy paid off.
Unfortunately the weekend didn’t finish like it began. Race 3 saw Sirui involved in a collision with a slower opponent that cost him 10 seconds and a secure position in the points.
Reflecting about his first race weekend of 2012, Sirui commented, “I made mistakes in qualifying and I was forced to start from the back of the grid. I had big expectations for myself and I am bit disappointed. I am looking forward to the next race at Ordos, and I know we will get it done.”
Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, “These results have been more or less the maximum we could have achieved. It was the first time that Zou Sirui drove this car in Shanghai and it was a tough weekend for him. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us and I remain confident that we have the ability and resources to close the gap, but it will be a tough fight.”
The 18-round series will resume in three weeks with races 4, 5 and 6 at the challenging Ordos circuit in Inner Mongolia (China) over the weekend of 7/8 July.
Zou Si Rui to drive for Asia Racing Team in Formula Pilota China
Chinese racer Zou Si Rui will make the move to the Formula Pilota China for the 2012 season with Zhuhai based Asia Racing Team.
The 24 years old from Guangzhou is not a strange to the team as he raced for Asia Racing Team in the last event of 2011 Formula Pilota China at Sepang.
Zou Si Rui learnt his race craft in the Formula West and did a single appearance in Asian Formula Renault Championship but he raised the bar in 2012.
Looking ahead to upcoming season, Zou Si Rui said, “Since my aim is to race in Europe one day, I have taken this step because I believe in the team’s capabilities to move forward and I get on well with everyone in the team. Every driver wants to be a in a winning car and to win races. I’m no different. I race for success. ”
In 2011 Asia Racing Team driver Luis Sa Silva became vice-champion of Formula Pilota China. The team scored 2 overall victories and a total of 9 podium positions.
Welcoming Zou Si Rui to the team Philippe Descombes said, “It’s great to have Zou on board with us for this season. His motivation is contagious around the team, and his performance in testing has so far been very encouraging. He has made a huge amount of progress already but we all know in advance the competition is going to be fierce.”
The Formula Pilota China will kick off in Shanghai from 15 – 17 June, before visiting Ordos, Zhuhai, Taiwan with the season finale in Sepang in November.
Constructive First 2012 Test
The first pre-season test for Asia Racing Team’s 2012 Formula Pilota China season got underway in the past two weeks at Zhuhai International Circuit in People’s Republic of China. After nearly two months, the Asia Racing Team cars were back on track.
Guangzhou’s Zou Si Rui got behind the wheels of Asia Racing Team’s new car and had a good start. The last year one race only racer demonstrated strong pace and was able to complete plenty of mileage on a dry track. “Overall it was a good day. It was my first time driving this car in Zhuhai and a matter of me being comfortable in the car and doing set-up changes to work out what it does to the car. Now I’m looking forward to further testing to get things underway properly for the season.”
Last season competitor Zhang Ran took the wheel from Zou Si Rui, getting back into the swing of Formula Pilota China after so many months away. The Beijing native female racer did not yet decided where to race next season but took the opportunity to drive the FIAT powered Tatuus car on a track that will host the Ferrari Drivers Academy supported series twice in 2012.
Russian single seater debutant Sergei Karokin took the place of Zhang Ran on the day after. "It was my first time in this car so I concentrated on getting comfortable and up to speed. It was good experience and fun despite the low temperatures", he said.
Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, "We haven’t come up with a decision regarding season 2012 but we want to be prepared. Formula Pilota China is an extremely competitive series and a level playing field where driver talent and teamwork can really make a difference. Last year we finished second in the championship standings and we were the strongest of the Asian teams. Definitely we want to do it again."
The second pre-season test will begin in Zhuhai from February 21.
Sa Silva, 2011 Vice-Champion Formula Pilota China
Asia Racing Team driver Luis Sa Silva became vice-champion of 2011 Formula Pilota China after a mature performance in the last race of the season at Sepang International Circuit. Team-mate Chi Cong Li had also reasons to celebrate as he clinched the third position in the Asian Trophy category.
Starting in 8th in the first race of the weekend, Sa Silva moved up to 6th place despite the inherent difficulties in overtaking on the Sepang circuit. The Angolan driver was quicker than the drivers in front but he couldn’t quite get close enough to find a way past. Chi Cong Li had another great race start and spent the balance of the race in a tightly knit group of cars and crossed the line in 9th place. Sritrai was unable to maintain his opponents’ early pace but the Thai ace fought back with aplomb once more, however, and eventually finished 10th. Series debutant Zou Si Rui made a good start from and picked up a couple of places, but he wasn’t able to keep the position until the end, and was only 14th by the 10-lap race’s conclusion.
Race 2 saw Sa Silva putting in another mature performance to finish 5th and this result warranted to him the second position in the championship. “It was not the best weekend of the season for us but we did what we had to do to secure the second position in the championship. Everybody has done an awesome job, so my thanks go to one and all”, he said.
Chi Cong Li put in a worthy drive in the Asia Racing Team, setting some solid laps to finish 9th, grabbing the third position in the Asian Trophy standings. Teammate Sritrai lost part of the front wing on first half of the race. He was not a whit discouraged and his 11th place - finishing his second single seater season in fifth place in the points standings - was a poor reflection of his talent.
China’s Zou Si Rui had a tough race in the back of the grid, finishing 15th but hoping to return next season. Said the Guangzhou native, "Overall, it was pretty tough weekend. Everything was new to me, the circuit, the team and the car. I had to get used to all that but it has been a fantastic experience that puts me in good shape for 2012.”
With the season now over, Asia Racing Team would like to thank everyone for their support throughout the year. The Asia Racing Team look to come back in 2012 stronger, and will soon start testing in Zhuhai.
Overall Championship Standings:
2. Luis Sá Silva – 124 Pts
5. Tin Sritrai – 67 Pts
6. Chi Cong Li – 67 Pts
16. Eric Lichstenstein – 10 Pts
24. Naomi Zhang Ran – 3 Pts
NC. Zou Si Rui
Asian Trophy Standings:
3. Chi Cong Li – 134 Pts
4. Tin Sritrai – 130 Pts
9. Naomi Zhang Ran – 29 Pts
12. Zou Si Rui – 4 Pts
Asia Racing Team gives Zou Si Rui a Formula Pilota debut
China’s Zou Si Rui will be driving in next week’s world famous Sepang circuit, after agreeing a one-off deal to drive for top Macau Formula Pilota China outfit, Asia Racing Team.
The 23 years old from Guangzhou is not a strange to the team as he has been testing the Macanese team’s Formula Renault 2.0 in Zhuhai International Circuit during the summer. Zou Si Rui racer learnt his race craft in the Formula West and did a single appearance in Asian Formula Renault Championship.
Team Manager Philippe Descombes said of the new partnership “It will be the first race for Zou Si Rui this season and with us but he is not a stranger to the team. We tested him in Zhuhai and he showed a great potential. We look forward to working with him and developing him into a front-running driver.”
Sepang was designed to be a great challenge for the drivers, with wide-sweeping corners, high-speed sections, and tight corners to create overtaking opportunities. The country’s climate also means that both car and driver will have to cope with some of the highest temperatures of the season.
Zou Si Rui is also looking forward to working with Asia Racing Team adding “It will be the first I will be driving the Formula Pilota car and this is my first time in Sepang but I learn fast. I am looking forward a podium spot in both races in Asian Category.”
Qualifying Speed but Torrid Saturday for ART in Tianma
Asia Racing Team drivers Luis Sa Silva, Tin Sritrai, Chi Cong Li and Eric Lichtenstein couldn’t translate the Free Practice and Qualifying speed into results across two eventful races at the Shanghai Tianma Circuit.
The Asia Racing Team quartet showed a promising pace in Free Practice and Qualifying. Sa Silva demonstrated his growing ability as his finished the Qualifying session fourth quickest, while guest driver Lichtenstein was also on the pace and was seventh quickest. Teammate Chi Cong Li lined up eighth for race one, while Sritrai started 11th.
Sa Silva’s hopes of clinching the championship ended in first race of Saturday, when the Angolan talented driver was punted off by Riccardo D’Agostini in the last lap when he was running third overall. Teammate Lichtenstein had a near miss in the early stages; the Argentinean racer went off the track while fighting in the middle pack, but managed to recover to finish 10th.
Chi Cong Li and Tin Sritrai had better luck and both finished in the podium of the Asian category. Starting eighth for the race the Chinese prodigy had an excellent start by moving up to fifth. Chi Cong Li resisted the pressure from behind throughout the entire race, and still managed to finish fourth overall. Teammate Sritrai did a good start and kept his car out of trouble to cross the line in fifth.
A drama filled Race 2 at the Shanghai Tianma circuit Saturday afternoon yielded a disappointing result for the Asia Racing Team. Despite lining up on the grid third, ninth and eleventh respectively, Sa Silva, Sritrai and Lichtenstein failed to finish, while Chi Cong Li who started seventh, crossed the line eleventh in a wet race which started behind the safety car.
In the first lap Sa Silva lost control of his car ending up crashing the concrete wall, putting him into immediate retirement. “There are days to forget and today is one of it”, he held. One lap after, Lichtenstein tried to overtake his teammate Sritrai and both cars collided which created the second safety car period of the race.
Meanwhile Chi Cong Li was already sixth, and getting its steam up. In the race restart the 17-years old tried to overtake his opponent but . With a damaged front suspension, the Guangzhou native still managed to finish eleventh. Said Chi Cong Li: "The car was perfect in the wet and I was much quicker than D’Agostini. When we were side by side he deliberately hit me."
Commenting about the weekend, Team Manager Philippe Descombes said, “Seriously tough day, all our four cars were involved in accidents in Race 2 and Luis lost a solid podium position after being hit by a guest driver, the same driver who put Chi Cong Li out of Race 2. Everything just went wrong for us, mainly for Luis, although it’s still mathematically possible to win the Championship, we would need a miracle now to turn things around. But, we’ll do everything we can to finish the season strong and hopefully we’ll win some more races and especially at Sepang, where it would be a nice way to sign off for the year.”
Luis Sa Silva is still second in the championship standings, while Sritrai now lay fourth and Chi Cong Li fifth. Sritrai and Li are second and third in Asian category standings.
The 2011 Formula Pilota China Season Finale will be held at Sepang International Circuit (Malaysia) Sunday November 27. Chinese female driver Zhang Ran should retake her place at the wheel of the team’s fourth car.
Lichtenstein steps in for ART in Shanghai Tianma
Asia Racing Team are pleased to announce that Argentinean Driver Eric Lichtenstein will be joining the team for the Formula Pilota China Series Round 9 & 10. Lichtenstein will race alongside the team’s regular drivers; Luís Sá Silva, Chi Cong Li and Tin Sritrai.
17-years old Lichtenstein proved himself one to watch this season in only his first year of formula racing, finishing 5th in the Round 6 of the championship. The Argentinean driver skipped Ordos event but he has been testing in Europe.
The Shanghai track is unknown from most of the paddock. Shanghai Tianma circuit is short and narrow, almost a “mickey-mouse” track, where it will be difficult for the Formula Pilota China cars to reach top speed. Hence the importance for Asia Racing Team drivers to be in the front in Qualifying and ensure the best possible grid positions for Race 1.
Speaking ahead of the weekend, the driver sponsored by Restaurant De Marco and Que Rico said "I don’t know the circuit and this is my first time with the team but I hope to adapt quickly and get onto the pace. The competition will be strong but I hope to put in a good performance.”
Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, "We will miss Zhang Ran this weekend but Eric is a welcome addition to the team. He has already shown himself to be extremely quick and we are looking forward to working with him."
Asia Racing Team …1…2…3!
Asia Racing Team drivers Luis Sa Silva, Tin Sritrai and Chi Cong Li stole the show at the opening race of the Ordos’ weekend.
The weekend started well for the Macau founded and Zhuhai based team, when Sa Silva shot to the second place of the Qualifying. If Luis’ performance didn’t come as surprise to anyone in the paddock, the same couldn’t be said about Sritrai third spot in the grid. The tight and twisting Ordos track suits Sritrai driving style, and the Thai racing hero knew how to take the maximum out of it. Teammate Chi Cong Li qualified fifth and Zhang Ran was eleventh out of twelve cars. With three cars in the first five positions, Asia Racing Team had reasons to smile but the best was yet to come.
The three ART top drivers had a good getaway. Sa Silva secured the second spot, and Chi Cong Li jumped to third in front of teammate Sritrai. Knowing that the leader was going to be penalized for jump-start, Sa Silva managed his race to win for the second time in the series. Sritrai and Chi Cong Li had a hot fight for the second place and Asian trophy win with the Thai driver crossing the line in front of his Chinese colleague. Race 1 was short for Zhang Ran as she got sandwiched by two opponents at the start, damaging the front wing, ending up later in the gravel at T5.
Speaking about his second race win, Sa Silva said, “I’m very happy to have closed the gap to the first, its good to get some more solid points today. I knew Matheo was going to be penalized and that I was actually the new leader, so I decided to keep cool and take it easily till the end”.
For the second race of the weekend Sa Silva lined up second with his team mate Chi Cong Li just behind him in third, Sritrai in fifth, and Zhang Ran started in twelfth. The Angolan prodigy got away cleanly off the line and fell into place behind the leader. Sa Silva soon started to charge towards race leader however the championship leader had an answer and maintained the gap well. Chi Cong Li did a good start and kept his third position for a couple of laps but wasn’t able to sustain the speed and was caught by his Thai teammate. Sritrai finished again in the podium and celebrated the second Asian Category win at Ordos.
in the end of the weekend, Sritrai commented, "It feels really good to have finally finished in the podium after a difficult start to the season. I made no mistakes and I was fast from the beginning so it’s a great feeling. The team did a good job, and this will definitely give us momentum as we move forward".
Meanwhile Chi Cong Li was involved in an accident and finished sixth. Zhang Ran was eleventh but dropped to twelfth and last at the wire.
Sa Silva, Sritrai and Chi Cong Li are now second, fourth and fifth respectively in Formula Pilota China drivers’ standings. Sritrai and Chi Cong Li are both in the Top-3 of the Asian Category.
The Formula Pilota China will now take a month break, with the racing action resuming in earnest at Guangzhou in China, for the FIA World Touring Car Championship support event, which will take place 4-5 November 2011.
Asia Racing Team fights back with a second place in Shanghai
Round five and six of the burgeoning Formula Pilota China were a mixed affair for Asia Racing Team drivers. Torrential rain didnt prevent Luis Sa Silva from claiming a stunning second place, while team mate Chi Cong Li got his first overall podium of the season. But what could have been a spectacular 1-2 for Asia Racing Team drivers in Race 2 turned into disappointment.
On Saturday Chi Cong Li proved to be well-adapted for the ever-changing weather conditions, putting in a stunning effort to qualify in second position in the wet-turned-damp qualifying session. “I knew I would be quick in the rain but I wasn’t expecting to be second overall. The team did a good job, and this will definitely give us momentum as we move forward”, said the 18 years old driver from Guangdong Province.
Sa Silva was equally fast and posted the fourth quickest time. Teammates Sritrai and Zhang Ran lined up in sixth and eleventh. Both races occurred on Sunday.
Eventually 11 cars lined up behind the safety car for the rolling start on Sunday morning for the Race 1. The four Asia Racing Team drivers got away well off the grid for the wet 10-lap race but Chi Cong Li held on however, to fall into third behind his Angolan team mate. The 2009 Asian Formula Renault Challenge runner up had a great getaway, holding onto second to take another well-deserved podium. Chi Cong Li finished third after an eventful race, achieving his first victory in the “Best Asian Driver Trophy”.
Meanwhile Sritrai ascended to fifth after one lap but the Thai driver would drop to seventh due to a spin on last corner. He would stay seventh until the chequered flag. The safe race of Zhang Ran in the back of the field paid off, finishing tenth and scoring her first points in the series.
Rain at the Shanghai circuit held off offering spectators a dry Race 2. And as the first lap got underway all Asia Racing Team drivers were quickly making their way up the field. Starting from third, Sa Silva was a big winner during the first lap storming two places up the order into first position and Chi Cong Li jumped to second behind his team mate. They would keep their position until lap 3 when Sa Silva missed the brake point on T9, costing him four positions. The late braking destroyed his tyres and a new lock-up would throw him to sixth where he finished.
Struggling to keep his podium position Chi Cong Li fitness fading just as his opponents cars started to come good. Lap after lap he lost positions to finish fifth. On the other hand, his teammate Sritrai was coming up after a so-so first half of the race. An overtake on the final lap of the race put Sritrai in fourth position as the best of ART drivers in Race 2, equalling his best result of the season so far.
Reflecting on his race, Sritrai said, “Today, on dry, was good. I had a really good feeling and everyone did a good job. Everyone wanted to do well, and we put ourselves into position to do that. I’m pleased for the team that we finished the weekend with a podium in Asian category.”
Without the pace to match the front runners and fighting in the cockpit against the high temperatures Zhang Ran had a lonely run home, finishing ninth, scoring two valuable points.
The championship reached halfway point of the season and Luis Sa Silva is a solid second in championship standings.
The 12-round series will resume in three weeks with races 7 and 8 at the challenging Ordos circuit in Inner Mongolia (China) over the weekend of 4/5 September as part of the FIA GT1 World Championship racing weekend.
Asia Racing Team and Luis Sa Silva victorious in Shanghai
Thousands of fans flocked to the Shanghai International Circuit last weekend for the first Ferrari Racing Days weekend in China to watch Asia Racing Team and Luis Sa Silva scoring its maiden victory of the 2011 Formula Pilota China.
Inspired by a strong return in Guangzhou race, Sa Silva started the weekend being the fastest in Free Practice and getting the second place in qualifying. The Angolan motorsport biggest hope quickly went to work in Race 1, piling the pressure on the race leader and in the final laps, Sa Silva moved into first as result of a leader car mechanical failure.
A delighted Sa Silva said "The car felt really good and I was able to push quite hard from the beginning. When I saw Matheo slowing down I didn’t want to push any harder than necessary. These points are definitely what I needed for the championship."
Having started from ninth on the grid, Sritrai made a steady start to the race before steadily working his way through the field to his best result so far this season. Sritrai did celebrated a well-deserved fourth place finish and the valuable championship points that go with it. "I had a consistent run and the car was handling very well. It was definitely fun out there; there was a lot of side-by-side racing and it really was quite exciting", held Sritrai
Chi Cong Li initially made a positive impression on the field, but his walk to the top had to stop when one opponent damaged his rear wishbone. There onwards the car balance was not too great and it was all about damage control to finish seventh. Compatriot Zhang Ran had a short race, spinning out into the gravel in the first lap.
Sunday morning’s race began with Luis Sa Silva losing one position at the start. The Angolan driver tried to follow the leaders pace but soon he found himself struggle on the approach to T6 and T7. An adversary was able to capitalize on Silva’s problems pushing our man down into fourth.
If Sa Silva had a weak start, his teammate Chi Cong Li had a great getaway and gained two places into the first corner. Things were to change on lap 5 however, the Chinese prodigy got himself trapped in the mid-field, and couldn’t defend his position, dropping back to ninth position. For once though, and starting from P7, Sritrai didn’t make his strong getaway off the line and he found himself down in tenth place at the end of the opening lap. The Thai driver didn’t get much opportunity to progress further and finished ninth. Naomi Zhang Ran had a humdrum race in the back of the field but managed to finish the race in sixteenth, doing her best laptime of the weekend.
Team Manager Philippe Descombes, commented, "This was just our second event with these cars. This result in Shanghai has given us the feeling that we are heading in the right direction."
Asia Racing Team’s Sa Silva is currently second in the Drivers’ Standings eight points adrift from first. Sritrai and Li are in contention for Asian Drivers Trophy, lying third and fourth in the category standings.
The energy within the team is all focused on making it to the podium again in the next round. After taking the next three weekends off, the 2011 Formula Pilota China returns to Shanghai International Circuit, China, on August 14.
Strong start for ART in Formula Pilota China
Asia Racing Team’s Luis Sa Silva took a strong third place in the first ever Formula Pilota China race this weekend at the Guangdong International Circuit.
The Zhuhai-based Macau Team made a promising start in the inaugural weekend of Formula Pilota China on Saturday, with a strong showing from three of the team’s drivers in the first ever-qualifying session. It was Sa Silva who got the most out of the drying track to qualify fourth. Tin Sritrai meanwhile was 7th with Chi Cong Li in 8th place. Zhang Ran qualified in 15th.
After one year away from the track Sa Silva was clearly on a charge and showed he is a serious contender for the championship. In the Race 1 the Angolan driver didn’t make a strong getaway but made lightning progress from his 5th place in lap one to finish 3rd. Making a great start Chi Cong Li moved straight up to 7th on the first lap. The Guangzhou-native pushed hard from the outset to finish 6th, conquering the 3rd place in the Asian trophy. Sritrai had an uninspired start but the Thailand ace managed to recover and cross the line 7th. Still inexperienced as a race driver, Zhang Ran had a clean first race to finish 14th.
Starting from 5th on the Race 2 grid, Sa Silva quickly moved to 4th after a superb overtaking maneuver on David Zhu. “I knew I had to overtake him early which I did, then I put some quick laps. I started to pick up the pace in the front to try to close the gap but but I couldn’t catch up with him", he said. Teammate Tin Sritrai had a solid race, climbing from 10th to 7th overall and Asian trophy’s 3rd at the chequered flag. Chi Cong Li had a good race start but the young Chinese couldn’t keep the front drivers pace. “I had the speed but I was very tired by the end of the race. I need to work harder on my fitness”, he said. Zhang Ran was 15th and left Zhaoqing empty-handed.
Sa Silva sits second in the drivers’ championship standings following the inaugural Formula Pilota China event. Team Manager Philippe Descombes was pleased with team’s performance stating, "It was a long and tough week for everybody but it’s been a great start to our Formula Pilota China campaign. Luis was strong from the beginning and Cong and Tin are not so far from the front pace. We gained a huge amount of information that will help us going forwards."
Asia Racing Team will be in action again in Formula Pilota China from July 23-24 for Rounds 3 & 4 at the Shanghai International.
Zhang Ran to race Formula Pilota China
Naomi Zhang Ran has joined Asia Racing Team for the 2011 Formula Pilota China Series season. Zhang Ran is the second Chinese driver to form part of Asia Racing Team’s Formula Pilota China Series team and will race alongside China’s Chi Cong Li, Angola’s Luis Sá Silva and Thailand’s Tin Sritrai this season.
27 year-old Zhang Ran has completed half season of Formula Renault with Asia Racing Team in only her third season of motor racing. The Beijing born racer previously raced GT cars. Zhang Ran is not just another pretty face in racing. During the winter she has been testing in Zhuhai for the coming season with Asia Racing Team’s Formula Renault cars, and she is looking and she is determined to repay the team’s faith in her. Zhang Ran’s learning process continues in this season in Formula Pilota China Series where shining results are not the prime goal.
Speaking about the exciting season ahead, Zhang Ran said, "First of all it is an amazing feeling to be with a great team again, especially after what I learnt from them last year. I hope last year’s experience will help me this time. I am still an inexperienced driver, and I will be driving this car for the very first time. I will do best and I will try to improve every single race. I hope everybody can see the progress. I am also very proud to represent China in this fantastic new race series."
Philippe Descombes added, "Last season was our first together and as expected it was a scholarship year. In 2011, we plan to go to the next level. This season will be a tough learning curve for her, but she has the attitude to be able to turn whatever challenges she faces this season into relative success. I think we’ve got a very strong team this season and I look forward to seeing them on track at Guangzhou."
Associated with the most famous Formula 1 teams of all via sponsorship from the Ferrari Driver Academy, Formula Abarth was introduced in Italy in 2010, and its expands for 2011 to include the inaugural Asian and European Series. The 2011 calendar includes five events in China and one in Malaysia.
Formula Pilota China: Sa Silva (re)joins Asia Racing Team
Luís Sá Silva is the most recent reinforcement of the Macanese outfit Asia Racing Team for the recently launched Formula Pilota China Series; a brand new single seater championship introduced this year in Asia with the support of prestigious Ferrari Drivers Academy.
After conquering the 2009 Asian Formula Renault runner up spot with Asia Racing Team, Sá Silva moved to Europe last season, where he raced in German F3 Championship until an accident and a serious hand injury took him away racing.
Speaking ahead of the new season, Sá Silva said: “After one year without racing, I am very satisfied to relaunch my career, and nothing better than do it in the team where I started racing and where I got my best results.”
Based in Zhuhai International Circuit, Asia Racing Team, founded in 2003 in Macau, is one of the most well known racing teams in the region. Knowing the strong competitors he will face, after one year out of competition, Sá Silva admits Asia Racing Team give him the confidence to win again.
“With Asia Racing Team I know that I will have a very competitive car from the start of the season and guarantees to win. I’ve really enjoyed the times we raced together and already feel part of the team. I learnt a lot last season in F3 and I want to build on that this year and put together a strong championship campaign. I will do my best and I look forward to defend my nation with proud”, held the 20 years old Angolan driver.
Team Manager Philippe Descombes, added, “Luis gave the first steps in motor racing in this house, and in 2009 we were decidedly unlucky to lose the Asian Formula Renault championship. After one-year forced break, Luis needs to get back the rhythm of racing and trust. We are certain that the European experience will help him to be competitive from the outset as we mustn’t squander any points.”
2011 Formula Pilota China Series will run over six double-header rounds – five in China and one in Malaysia. Formula Pilota China introduces the most up-to-date Formula Abarth vehicles to Asia, featuring chassis manufactured by the Italian Tatuus, engine of 1400cc turbo powered by FPT (Fiat Powertrain Technologies), which provides 180HP and outstanding aerodynamics.
The season proper begins in Guangzhou from July 1-3.