OTHER EVENTS

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.


Team Betterlife end PCCA season on high at Shanghai

Team Betterlife driver Li Chao helped the Beijing based team end its Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season on a high at Shanghai on Saturday, 31st October, with Li Chao almost matching his own season-best.

Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Qualifying was held on Friday afternoon and Li Chao lapped the 5.4km circuit in a best time of 2:11.197 which was good enough for P6 in Class B and 15th overall. Shortly after the session, however, the stewards decided to disallow the Beijinger’s best lap time due to track limits infringements. The Team Betterlife driver put all four wheels beyond the white line in the last corner. However Li Chao still managed to keep his place in the grid for Race One, losing one position in Race Two grid.

Race One saw Li Chao making a good getaway, working his way up the pecking order in the first few corners. Unfortunately he would drop down the order as the race would progress, finishing 14th overall and sixth of the Class B.

In the second race of the weekend, Li Chao started the race in 15th but was able to gain three grid positions. The Beijing driver was in position to fight for the last podium position when, with three laps to go, he came off track resulting in two places lost. He crossed the line in thirteenth overall and fifth of Class B.

Commenting about the season finale, Li Chao said, "It’s been a great race and I enjoyed driving very much. I enjoyed my season in PCCA and I want to thank the team for their hard work they did during the year. There have been a lot of good days and a lot of good experiences that we can use to benefit our future campaigns."

Chief Engineer Yannick Mazier added, "Everything went according to plan this weekend. We knew from the beginning that would be tough to be in Top 5 in Class B. After a difficult day in qualifying yesterday, we’re very pleased to finish the race in fifth and sixth positions. Li Chao was able to make up positions in the early stages of the races. As it has been for most of the time this year, our pace was good in the race. Congratulations to the whole team."

Li Chao finished fifth in the Class B category standings on the strength of four top-fives and six top-10s.


Photo courtesy of Porsche China


Li Chao in Top Form at Sepang

Team Betterlife driver Li Chao kept his top form as he finished Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Round 9 & 10 in the Top-6 of Class B at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit.

After showing a strong pace on Friday’s Free Practice, the Qualifying did not go according to plan for the Beijing racer as he wasn’t able to get the best out of the new tires. Li Chao still managed to qualify the Asia Racing Team engineered car in seventh for both 10-lap races on Sunday.

On Sunday the drivers had to endure the high cockpit temperatures, but there was no let-up on-track as Sepang’s fast corners and open spaces encourage overtaking and hard racing.

In both races Li Chao decided to take a conservative approach, and the strategy paid off. Li Chao didn’t make into the podium but scored valuable points to move up to fifth in the Gentleman Drivers category’s championship standings with two events to go. Team Betterlife was P5 at the flag in Race One, and P6 in Race Two.

In less than two weeks, the 28-strong Porsche Carrera Cup Asia field will be back in action at the most glittering fixture on the calendar supporting the F1 Singapore Grand Prix. There, the battle for the Class B titles will resume on the demanding Marina Bay street circuit from September 18-20.

 

Photo courtesy of Cheung Chi Wai


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.


Team Betterlife’s Li Chao Jinxed Again

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Rounds 5 & 6 ended in disappointment for the Asia Racing Team with Team Betterlife’s Li Chao scoring only three points for Class B championship over the weekend.

After qualifying 7th in Class B for the first race and P8 for the Race Two, Li Chao hadn’t Lady Luck on his side to guide him safely through the two races.

On Saturday’ s race, a good getaway allowed Li Chao to move to fifth in the class. The Beijing racer seemed very capable of achieving a strong finish but an opponent did not allow that to happen. He still managed to cross the line 13th in the "Gentleman Driver" category.

In the 15-lap second race Li Chao didn’t complete a lap. His race ended early when he was t-boned by another car.

Li Chao said, "We have been very unlucky in both races. We will learn from what happened this weekend and we know that the result is not where we belong. I’ m sure we can improve and look forward to seeing that in a fortnight."

Team Manager Philippe Descombes, added, "These were not the results we wanted here in Fuji.  Despite the lack of strong results, I would like to thank everybody in the team for their hard work and dedication throughout a difficult and challenging weekend. We will do a better job in the next race."

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be back in action in August, when the 28-strong field of Asia’ s finest sports car drivers will reunite, and the battle of the overall and Class B championships will resume in earnest.


A Step Closer to the Podium

Team Betterlife and Li Chao achieved their best result so far this season in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia at the Korea International Circuit. Asia Racing Team engineered car was Class B P5 at the flag in Race 2.

The weekend started off on the wrong foot. The 30-minute Saturday qualifying saw Li Chao lay down the ninth fastest lap in Class B, a result far from the team-driver true potential.

As the 28-strong field roared off the grid for the start of the 10-lap race, Li Chao got away well but he ended up spinning in Turn 1, luckily without hitting anyone on the process. The Beijing driver had a chance to make amends, managing to come back from the very bottom of the classification to finish P21 - 12th of Class B.

Ever-improving Li Chao had a much better race on Sunday finishing 13th overall and fifth of Class B.

Li Chao had moved up to 7th position on Class B drivers’ standings.

Team Manager Philippe Descombes, said, "We knew from the beginning that Korea would be tough for us. It was the first time for Li Chao in this circuit. Qualifying results did not help but it was important to bank points in Race 2 to get a solid ground."  

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia is back in action next month from June 5 to 7, when it returns to the famous Fuji International Speedway in Japan.

 

Photo courtesy of Carrera Cup Asia


Results Do Not Show True Pace

For Asia Racing Team supported Team Betterlife driver Li Chao, rounds 1 and 2 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia were a challenge to say the least. Despite this, the team is clicking on all cylinders and ready for Korea.

After being the 3rd fastest of Class B on Friday’s Free Practice, the Beijing racer posted the 6th fastest lap time in the Qualifying. In both races Li Chao was involved in middle pack battles, crossing the fine line in 6th in Race One and in 7th in Race Two.

Team Manager Philippe Descombes, said "We knew we had a good car, but some bad luck and a couple incidents on track did not allow us to show our true pace. It’s a shame the results did not reflect Li Chao’s pace, but we are still confident we have some forward momentum with the car’s speed."

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be back in action next month, with another double-header, this time at the Korea International Circuit from May 15-17.

 

Photo courtesy of Porsche China / Sutton Images


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."


Asia Racing Team and Team Betterlife stay together

Asia Racing Team and Team Betterlife have announced they will partner up again for the 2015 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in an attempt to challenge the Class B title.

Macau-born Zhuhai-based Asia Racing Team is one of the most experienced GT teams in Southeast Asia with several wins in GT Asia Series, Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, and China series BOSS GP.

Team Betterlife was founded by Betterlife Group in 2008 and it was one of the first Porsche Dealer teams in PR China. Beijing BetterLife Import & Export Group is one of the leading multi-brand dealer groups in PR China specialized in distribution, servicing, parts supply and consulting of premium car brands.

In 2012 Team Betterlife and Asia Racing Team hold hands to form a strong and successful partnership in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. For the second consecutive season 2014 BOSS GT champion Li Chao will drive the #9 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. After one season racing in Class A, this year the Beijing born Gentleman Driver is back in Class B.

The team took part of Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Official Test Days on March 6 to 8 at the Sepang International Circuit. It was an extremely successful three days of testing. Asia Racing Team and Li Chao were able to tackle many areas related to preparing the new car for the competitive race season ahead.

Team Betterlife driver Li Chao looks forward to the series ahead: “It is my fourth season in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. I came in third place in Class B in 2013. This year my aim is to perform well and challenge the title. It is great to be back with Team Betterlife and Asia Racing Team. I made my Porsche Carrera Cup Asia debut with them and they are a very professional outfit.”

Team Manager Philippe Descombes, added, “Having worked with him in single seaters and seeing him continue to develop in GT cars, I have no doubt that Li Chao will be a top contender in Class B from the start. He really matured as a driver last year and overcame some issues to finish the season on a high.”

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season kicks off in China on April 11 as part of 2015 Formula One Chinese Grand Prix.


Mission accomplished at Macau

Asia Racing Team driver and instructor Rodolfo Avila added a third consecutive Macau GT Cup finish to his racing résumé.

Driving a GTM class Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Avila knew from the beginning that he would not have a car to match the pace of the GT3 class frontrunners. He focused instead to get the best possible qualifying lap time to get into the race, which he did it in the first qualifying session on Friday, and to obtain the best possible place on his class.

Starting from GTM class second position on Sunday’s morning 12-lap race at the challenging and unforgiving Circuito da Guia, Avila finished fourth, after struggling with a brake issue from the second lap, being unable to convert his qualifying lap times into a class podium result.

Commenting on his race weekend, Avila said, "It was a great job by all the team and everyone has worked so hard all week. I just didn’t have the speed in the car. I did a good start to the race, but unfortunately by lap two we started having some handling problems and some brake issues so I decided to not take any unnecessary risk. I definitely wouldn’t have able to race without the support of Paradise Entertainment Ltd, LT Game, Waldo Casino, Casino Kam Pek Paradise, Casino Macau Jockey Club and Mr Steve Yin, who trusted me his car. To them, my sincere thanks and due appreciation."

Asia Racing Team and Rodolfo Avila expect to return to Macau Grand Prix next year with bigger ambitions.

 

Photo courtesy of Chi Wai


Li Chao takes two wins at Shanghai

At the Shanghai International Circuit, Asia Racing Team prepared JRM’s Porsche 911 GT3 R took two authoritative wins, making it four out four, in the Chinese GT series BOSS GP this season.

Following the supremacy showed on the first event of the series, the Beijing driver Li Chao dominance over weekend was never at risk. The JRM car did the pole-position on Saturday, being one second faster than the time of the second place starter.

A good start for Race 1 allowed Li Chao to keep the first place, and he quickly went on to build a healthy lead to the second place car. The race finished under safety car conditions after an early crash involving two backmarkers with Li Chao in the lead.

Driving in a class of his own, Li Chao took his 911 GT3 R to another crushing win in second race.

Beijing Duo Closes the Season on High Note

The final race of the season at Shanghai on Sunday 19th October saw Asia Racing Team run Zheng Tong Auto Porsche 911 GT3 Cup driven by Zhang Da Sheng secure the sixth position in the 2014 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia drivers’ standings.

The 28 drivers had their say on Saturday’s qualifying action. Da Sheng once again showed his speed and set the fifth fastest time. Teammate Li Chao bought Team Betterlife 911 Cup in 17th.

Off the line Da Sheng made a good start, but it wasn’t quite enough to keep sixth placed RoC Skyangel behind. The duo battled for several laps but Da Sheng couldn’t find a way to overtake his rival, crossing the line taking points for sixth.

Further back Li Chao had an eventful race in the middle of the pack. The Beijing driver spun on lap 5 but he managed to come back to secure 16th place.

After a convincing race on Saturday, Da Sheng didn’t managed to put in a great performance on Sunday’s end of the season race. Struggling with his car behavior from the beginning, the 21 years old racer from Beijing still managed to take it to the end. He was 11th at the flag.

Li Chao made the perfect getaway to retain his position for the majority of race. Taking advantage of his opponents mistakes he moved up to 14th, collecting three valuable points.

In the end Zhang Da Sheng was sixth overall in the drivers’ championship standings and the best of the four Porsche China Junior Development Drivers. Li Chao finished the season in 15th.

Commenting on his season, Zhang Da Sheng said, "It’s great to be racing with and against world-class drivers in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. I had a fantastic car at my disposal and I learnt a lot throughout the season. I must thank Zheng Tong Auto for the trust they put on me and show my gratitude to Asia Racing Team for their continuous support and hard work."

Li Chao, added, "The new car represented a new and different challenge for me. Once again, the whole team did a great job, and I feel today that I am stronger driver now than I was before.”

Team Manager Philippe Descombes, concluded, "I’m very happy with our drivers overall performance. We had to learn a new car and we showed strong pace and determination from the first day. The whole team did a great job all season and the sixth place of Da Sheng is definitely a good result. We cannot afford to take our foot off the pedal, and we hope to return stronger next year."

 

Photo courtesy of Carreracupasia.com

Asia Racing Team Pleased With the Strong Shanghai Pace

In partnership with Beijing’s JRM, 2013 Champions Asia Racing Team returned to GT Asia Series with a pair of strong finishes at Shanghai.

Having paced Thursday’s free practice, it was no surprise to see the Asia Racing Team-run #66 Porsche 911 GT3 R once again at the sharp end during that Friday’s qualifying sessions. The JRM duo of Zhang Da Sheng and Li Chao quickly got to grips to take an excellent third and a fine sixth place for the Round 10 and 11. After the superb performance in qualifying, the car was forced to carry a weight penalty of 50 kg for the races.

On Saturday’s 40-minute race, despite contact from an optimistic opponent at the first corner on his opening lap,  Da Sheng maintained his strong qualifying pace and after a solid and consistent stint handed over to Li Chao in fifth position. Li Chao did an exceptional job keeping the Porsche out of trouble, despite understeer issues as a result of a missing dive-plane courtesy of the opening lap quarrel, grabbing an impressive overall fifth place.

Da Sheng said after his race, “The team worked hard overnight to make the car ready for today’s race. We measured up strongly against the competition and I am very happy with the result. As always I’d like to thank the team and Li Chao for their super efforts.”

On Sunday’s race, the JRM pair displayed again determination, maturity and speed in equal measure, capping an impressive weekend for the Asia Racing Team-run squad. Da Sheng and Li Chao crossed the line in fifth but were promoted to third overall due to post-race penalties given to the cars #9 and #97.

Team Manager Philippe Descombes, commented, “Considering our drivers GT experience and the quantity of factory supported teams in the series, it is fair to say the whole team did a great job over the weekend. Once again both the team and drivers focused all of their energy into operating at the highest level. That’s been reflected in the results. We can’t wait to get back out there and show what we can do.”

The final round of the GT Asia Series takes place at Macau on November 13/16. Asia Racing Team will run the #20 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Macau ace Rodolfo Avila.

 

Photo courtesy of Benny Luey

Back in Style

2013 GT Asia Series champions Asia Racing Team came back in style to GT racing, scoring a double victory in the kickoff of China GT series BOSS GP at the Shanghai International Circuit by supporting Team JR’s Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Facing a five-car Audi R8 armada, Li Chao, a full-time contender in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, made his "GT3" debut but adapted quickly to the German car. Starting from second on the grid for the openin race, Li Chao quickly move up to first, winning a Round 1 that finished under safety-car. Next day, he triumphed again in the 10-lap Round 2.

Asia Racing Team and Team JR return to Shanghai on October 10-12 for an assault on the GT Asia Series Chinese round.

Up To Sixth at Singapore

Zheng Tong Auto’s Zhang Da Sheng once again completed a strong race at the Singapore’s Marina Bay Street Circuit, taking points for sixth place in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia single race of the weekend. Teammate Li Chao was involved in some exciting racing action and crossed the line to come home eighteenth.

After a very promising Free Practice session on Friday, the Qualifying was slightly disappointing for Asia Racing Team Beijing duo. In the out lap, Da Sheng was involved in a collision with a slower opponent and damaged his 911 GT3 Cup. He still managed to qualify 9th. Li Chao was left disappointed with his 19th place grid slot, after lying in or near the top ten for the majority of the session.

Li Chao said, "It hasn’t gone to plan for us today – the track definitely changed quite a lot in that session and as a result I struggled a little bit. You always try to adapt but sometimes there is very little you can do."

As the lights went out on Sunday, Da Sheng had a good getaway and stayed out of trouble, moving from 9th to 6th in less than two laps. Zheng Tong Auto driver managed well his 12-lap race, crossing the line on the sixth place. With just two rounds of the 2014 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season remaining, Da Sheng is holding the sixth position in the championship standings.

Da Sheng said: "It was a good start and we were fighting really well with good pace from the first lap and closing in on the top five. Overall I am happy with the weekend result, just pity what happened on Saturday’s qualifying that prevented us to do even better."

Further back, Li Chao maintained position off the line and clinched eighteenth position as he crossed the line.

The 2014 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship will come down to the wire at the season finale next month, where Rounds 11 and 12 will be part of the Sports Car Champions Festival at the Shanghai International Circuit from October 17 to 19.

 

RACE RESULT:

P6 Zhang Da Sheng (CHN)

P18 Li Chao (CHN)


 

Photo courtesy of Sutton Images / Porsche Carrera Cup Asia

Zheng Tong’s Da Sheng places fifth at Sepang

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia headed to Sepang in Malaysia last weekend. Beijing native Zhang Da Sheng took fifth in race one and seventh in race two. Team Betterlife backed Li Chao finished twelfth in race one and sixteenth in race two.

With the 30-minute session declared wet following torrential rains, the drying track conditions on Malaysia’s 5.54 km Sepang International Circuit turned the single qualifying session into a dramatic tyre lottery.

Zheng Tong Auto’s Zhang Da Sheng, one of the four China Junior Development Programme drivers, was fifth fastest for a moment but he ended up qualifying ninth. Li Chao couldn’t stay out the longest to benefit from a drying track and qualified 19th.

Saturday’s showdown did not disappoint. Starting from P9, Da Sheng was an impressive P5 at the flag. Back in the field, teammate Li Chao showed a fighting spirit from the start, crossing the line a credible 12th.

Sunday’s second race saw Da Sheng lined up fourth with Li Chao in sixteenth. Following a brief safety car period, Da Sheng was looking to make his move on Egidio Perfetti for eighth, suddenly ART alumni Alexendre Imperatori loomed large in their mirrors, and the Chinese racer got hit by the Class B former champion in the first corner and dropped to eleventh. Da Sheng used the second half of the race to move forward to finish in seventh. Li Chao had some middle-of-the-pack and ultimately finished in the 16th position.

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia now looks ahead to a highlight of its calendar at the Singapore F1 Grand Prix from September 19-21.

 

RACE 1 RESULT:

P5 Zhang Da Sheng (CHN)

P12 Li Chao (CHN)

 

RACE 2 RESULT:

P7 Zhang Da Sheng (CHN)

P16 Li Chao (CHN)


 

Photo courtesy of Cheung Chi Wai

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):
September 23-30
October 06-16
October 28-31

For more information on programs and rates offered;

Philippe Descombes
Asia Racing Team - Team Manager
M: (+86) 137 023 365 74
O: (+86) 756 339 48 11
E: phil.descombes@art-motorsports.com

Zhang Da Sheng Claims Superb Podium in Fuji

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia was at Fuji this weekend for Rounds 6 and 7. With the weather playing an important part throughout the weekend, Asia Racing Team driver Zhang Da Sheng had a strong performance; taking his first ever overall podium in the series and second in Class A. Teammate Li Chao also left Japan with his best season result in the bag.

Saturday’s Qualifying session proved to be the testimony to ART’s Beijing boys hard work. Zheng Tong Auto’s Zhang Da Sheng was mightily impressive to secure sixth position for Round 6 and fourth position for Round 7. With paddleshift gremlins hurting and a compromising spin in the last quick lap of the wet session, Li Chao qualified P18 and P20 respectively.

Sunday morning saw the first ever PCCA race in Fuji. Starting in sixth, Da Sheng made a safe getaway. Moving up to second, due to a few race penalties ahead of him, Team Zheng Tong driver was piling on the pressure to the driver ahead and, later on in the race, was battling for second with Earl Bamber and Martin Ragginger. However, not wanting to risk his race position Da Sheng kept his cool and cruised to take the chequered flag in fourth. He would be promoted to third overall as Ragginger was slapped with a 30-second penalty in the end of the race.

Reflecting on his podium Zhang Da Sheng said: “I am very happy with this result. I had to work hard to achieve it. I have to thank the team for the brilliant work they did, the car was really competitive and it showed.”

Back in the field Li Chao was none less impressive than his teammate. The Team Betterlife driver started from P18 to finish P8 with some interesting overtaking manoeuvres in the process.

Sunday’s second race saw the bad luck hitting the team. Zhang Da Sheng couldn’t repeat the first race pace and result. However the young Chinese racer was soon on the charge and was trying to maintaining his position despite coming under pressure from the chasing field. Alas, Da Sheng’s radiator was damaged on his fighting comeback. The team couldn’t fix the damage, so his racing was over.

Following another very good start off the line in the afternoon, where he gained several places on his rivals once again, Li Chao spent the rest of the race fighting in the middle pack to finish the race in 15th.

Team Manager Philippe Descombes said, "What a great job our drivers did over this week as well as our whole crew. The third position of Zhang Da Sheng in race one shows we had two fast cars over the weekend. We now look forward to Sepang."

Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be back in action later in August. Rounds 8 and 9 will take place in Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia on 15 and 16 August 2014.



RACE 1 RESULT:

P3 Zhang Da Sheng (CHN)

P8 Li Chao (CHN)

 

RACE 2 RESULT:

P15 Li Chao (CHN)

DNF Zhang Da Sheng (CHN)

 

Photo courtesy of Carreracupasia.com

Wet drama in Zhuhai

Asia Racing Team drivers Zhang Da Sheng and Li Chao enjoyed their first taste of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in the wet on a cut short weekend at the 4.3km Zhuhai International Circuit. 

On Saturday morning qualifying for Rounds 4 and 5 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, Zheng Tong Auto’s Zhang Da Sheng was the fifth quickest man out on track after a strong showing. Team Betterlife’s Li Chao posted the 16th best lap time.

On a wet track and with severely limited visibility, the race began behind the Safety-Car and in the worst way possible for Zhang Da Sheng. The Beijing racer spun on the last corner before the race action really started, losing a countless number of places. After a disastrous start the Porsche China academy driver made his way up to tenth position.

By contract, teammate Li Chao did a smart and clean 12-lap race, climbing five positions to finish in 11th position, his best overall result so far this season.

On Sunday the track was flooded and the Race Director decided correctly that conditions were unsafe, cancelling Round 5 in the interests of safety, citing the ‘Force Majeure’ clause under the regulations.

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia continues next month when it travels to Japan for the first time in its 12-season history for a double header at the iconic Fuji International Speedway.

 

RACE 1 RESULT:

P10 Zhang Da Sheng (CHN)

P11 Li Chao (CHN)

 

RACE 2 RESULT: 

Race Cancelled

 

Photo courtesy of Jenny Zhang

Asia Racing Team take fourth at Shanghai

The Chinese Formula One Grand Prix weekend at Shanghai held the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia second event of the season. Zheng Tong Auto’s Zhang Da Sheng took a spectacular fourth position in Race One and Team Betterlife’s Li Chao kept improving his pace.

As the times tumbled in the single and wet 30-minute qualifying session of the weekend on Saturday morning, Zhang Da Sheng jumped straight into eight place where he stayed for the rest of the session. Li Chao qualified in P20.

As the 28-strong field thundered away from the grid throwing up a spectacular spray as the rain pounded down, Zhang Da Sheng lost a couple of places in the first corner. But the determined 22-year-old racer did not give up and fought back.

“It took me a while to find my feet as I’d never driven this car here in the wet before,” said Da Sheng, “and after the start I let a couple of cars slip by, but regained my pace and a couple of places to end up back in P4.”

Teammate Li Chao did a good start but his race was compromised when he got hit by an opponent with seven laps to go. The Beijing driver did manage to finish fifteenth with a damaged spring and after the exclusions of the cars no. 1 and no. 11. 

The second race of the weekend saw Zhang Da Sheng qualify eight and Li Chao eighteenth. Sunday’s Race Two saw a dry start with the Asia Racing Team duet making good starts and staying out of trouble. Several battles were played out on the track, resulting in Da Sheng being pushed out of track by an opponent early in the race, losing several positions to finish P11.

Li Chao pushed hard and whilst others made mistakes on the track the Team Betterlife racer drove through the pack to cross the line in 14th.

The Porsche Carrera Cup turns south now to China’s Pearl River Delta Region for a double header at the country’s first purpose-built motorsport facility, the Zhuhai International Circuit, from May 9 to 11.

 

RACE 1 RESULT:

P4 Zhang Da Sheng (CHN)

P15 Li Chao (CHN)

 

RACE 2 RESULT:

P11 Zhang Da Sheng (CHN)

P14 Li Chao (CHN)

 

Photo courtesy of Carreracupasia.com / Sutton Images

ART’s duet off to a good season start

Asia Racing Team enjoyed a positive start to the 2014 season as Team Zheng Tong’s Zhang Da Sheng scored fourteen points with fifth place at Sepang. Team Betterlife’s Li Chao claimed four points with P12.

The strong showing in Malaysia started in qualifying with Porsche China protégé Zhang Da Sheng taking the seventh spot for the start of Sunday’s 10-lap race. Teammate Li Chao qualified in P17.

While the 10 laps of the 5.54km circuit were action-packed throughout, two drivers stole the limelight.  In a remarkable jump in form, Zheng Tong Auto’s Zhang Da Sheng challenged seasoned driver Tung Ho-Pin for fourth all the way to the chequered flag. The Beijing native, starting in P7 on the grid, produced a good start to move on to fifth; some very promising pace in the high-speed parts of the circuit meant the Team Zhong Tong recruit was soon able to apply pressure to early front-runners.

Reflecting on the race Zhang Da Sheng said, “Everyone was very nervous today, and the start was very important. I got a good start and held my position, trying to fix what I did wrong in qualifying.  I did better, but it’s still not enough for me.  Ho-Pin is very fast, and the whole race was really exciting. He has speed and experience, and I tried to stay with him and overtake but I wasn’t successful.”

Li Chao meanwhile drove brilliantly, moving up five places to 12th, overtaking a bunch of Class B drivers, to claim Team Betterlife first points of the 2014 season. “We improved a lot in the race but there is still a lot of room to improve. I look forward to Shanghai in three weeks’ time where we will aim to build on what we learned this weekend”, he said.

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be back in action next month, this time at the Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix in Shanghai from April 18-20.

 

RACE RESULT:

P5 Zhang Da Sheng (CHN)

P12 Li Chao (CHN)

 

Photo courtesy of Carreracupasia.com / Sutton Images

Asia Racing Team teams up with Team ZhengTong

China ZhengTong Auto Service Holding Limited is going to enter in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (PCCA) by teaming up with Asia Racing Team to create Team ZhengTong’s PCCA official team.


The new partnership will see Zhang Da Sheng race on the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia grid in the distinctive colours of Team ZhengTong in the Asia Racing Team prepared Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.


Asia Racing Team will run the operational ‘on track’ side of the Team ZhengTong outfit. Based in Zhuhai, Asia Racing Team has an enviable reputation in every form of motor racing that it has been involved in, having won the 2013 GT Asia Series. The company has also had great success in single seaters racing and a famous Racing School.

China ZhengTong Auto Service Holding Limited was established in 1999, As a leading premium 4S dealership group in China. The group has 91 dealership outlets which cover 30 cities in both large and established markets of the affluent regions of China such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, as well as the rapidly growing regions with lower penetration rate such as Inner Mongolia, Hunan, Hubei, and Jiangxi.

With two full years of experience under his belt in PCCA, 21 years old Zhang Da Sheng will be aiming to become a consistent top 10 finisher.

Zuo Lin, Managing Director of Team Zheng Tong: “Porsche Carrera Cup Asia is the pinnacle of sports car racing in Asia and it is a great opportunity to participate in it. The championship is also an excellent platform to connect with our customers and supporters. Asia Racing Team is one of the most prominent racing teams in China and it was a natural choice to run our Porsche in our first racing season.”

Philippe Descombes, Team Manager of Asia Racing Team: "We are very happy to team up with ZhengTong Auto and we are looking forward to working together in 2014. Zhang Da Sheng is a talented young driver, open minded and has got a lot of potential. We will do our best to support them on their way to the pinnacle of motor racing.”

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.

Team Betterlife, Li Chao to Team up with Asia Racing Team again

Asia Racing Team is pleased to announce the renewal of its long-time partnership with Team Betterlife, the racing arm of Porsche Betterlife Group, for the 2014 season of Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. This is the third consecutive year that Asia Racing Team will serve as the official racing team for the Team Betterlife.

Team Betterlife was founded by Betterlife Group in 2008 and it was one of the first Porsche Dealer teams in PR China. Beijing BetterLife Import & Export Group is one of the leading multi-brand dealer groups in PR China specialized in distribution, servicing, parts supply and consulting of premium car brands.

In 2012 Team Betterlife and Asia Racing Team hold hands to form a strong and successful partnership in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. In 2012 Wang Jian Wei recorded his second podium finish in his career at Ordos and British racer Ben Baker finished third in the last round of 2013 in Shanghai.

Thirty three-year-old Li Chao joins Team Betterlife with a wealth of experience gained in touring car and GT racing. He progressed to the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in 2012 via the VW Scirocco R Cup China and China Formula Grand Prix single seater series. In 2013 he finished third in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Class B and completed a number of France GT Championship rounds for Team JR.

With a fleet of brand new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991) racing cars, the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia powers towards its 12th season as the undisputed leader in regional sportscar competition with its most prestigious calendar to date. The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season kicks off in Malaysia on March 28 as part of 2014 Formula One Malaysia Grand Prix.

Eddy Mok (BetterLife Porsche Group – General Manager): “The Betterlife Group wants to keep promoting motorsport to our Porsche owners and fans. We welcome the opportunity to continue our relationship with Asia Racing Team. We enjoyed working with the team in the past two seasons of Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and we are excited to be on board this year with Li Chao behind the wheel.”

Philippe Descombes (Asia Racing Team – Team Manager): “We are delighted and very proud that Team Betterlife have chosen to place their car with us again in 2014. It is also a pleasure to work with Li Chao again. We’ve had the pleasure of having him as part of Asia Racing Team for the past two seasons and we’ve seen him mature and improve with every year. ”

Li Chao (Team Betterlife – Racing Driver): “Team Betterlife has enjoyed the greatest possible success in motorsport in recent years and I really feel part of this family. It’s going to be a challenge to step up to the Class A this season but I feel I am ready for it. Representing Team Betterlife and Asia Racing Team is something special, and I could not wish for a better combination.”

 

Photo courtesy of Carreracupasia.com


Li 2013 GT Asia Series Champion

Asia Racing Team GT racer Li Zhi Cong has been crowned 2013 GT Asia Series champion after an eventful race at the Circuito da Guia, Macau. The 20-year old Chinese driver narrowly avoided a flying tyre got through an incident filled City of Dreams Macau GT Cup race in fifth overall, clinching the championship title.

Li was the first of the GT Asia Series competitors across the line in his Porsche 911 GT3-R. Championship rival Mok Weng Sun’s race ended early when the tyre that came off a crashed car hit into him just four corners into the start of the race.

After some electronic gremlins prevented Li to show his true pace in Qualifying 1, the Qualifying 2 did not went well to him too. The Mainland China driver qualified second of GT Asia Series peloton, just being his title rival and 2012 champion Mok Weng Sun.

On Sunday morning Li knew that he had to finish the 12-lap race in front of Mok Weng’s Mclaren if he wanted to celebrate his first international triumph. A huge pill up at San Francisco corner would decide the championship. Li managed to get away without damaging his car, bringing the Yumin Restaurant-sponsored 911 GT3-R home as first of GT Asia Series pack.

Reflecting on his championship win, Li said, “Before the race it did not look very good for me. I was lucky to escape the first lap accident. When I saw that Mok Weng was no longer a threat, I just focused myself in managing my race.  I’m really pleased and it’s such a great achievement in my career. I want to thanks my family, my sponsors and the team for their continued support throughout the 2013 season.”

This was the first GT championship title for Asia Racing Team and the first ever for a Chinese Mainland driver overseas.

 

Photo courtesy of Cheung Chi Wai

Class B Podium at Macau

Celebrating its 10th anniversary as a leading motorsport outfit in the region, Asia Racing Team entered three cars in Porsche 911 50th Anniversary Carrera Cup Asia race at the 60th Macau Grand Prix: Team Jebsen’s Rodolfo Avila, JR Motorsport’s Li Chao and PCCA debutant Kevin Tse.

Friday’s Free Practice and Saturday’s Qualifying were run on dry conditions and Asia Racing Team trio showed an exuberant pace. In the 30-minute Qualifying sessions Macau’s Rodolfo Avila set the fourth fastest lap, only two tenths slower than 9-time World Rally Car champion Sébastien Loeb.

In Class B, Tse, who was doing his first race of 2013 and never raced the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup before, qualified 3rd and Li Chao 7th, giving the team a lot of hope for the race. But the weather and track conditions significantly on Sunday and would end up affecting the team’s overall performance.

With a wet track and persistent rain, the field took their places on the grid and the 10-lap race began behind the Safety Car. As it pulled in at the start of Lap 3, racing got underway with Avila losing the fourth position. Struggling with the car handling the local hero wasn’t able to repeat the Saturday’s strong pace. Team Jebsen driver took fifth at the flag.

Further back in the field, without taking unnecessary risks, Tse had a strong finish to take home 11th position overall on his first appearance. His safe and steady pace paid off, finishing third in Class B.

Beijing’s Li Chao did not make into the end of the race, having DNF due to a technical failure.

Engineered by Asia Racing Team, Team Yongda Dongfang’s Benjamin Rouget had a short race, being pushed through the barrier at R Bend by an opponent.

 

RACE RESULT:

P5 Roldolfo Ávila (MAC)

P11 Kevin Tse (MAC)

DNF Li Chao (CHN)

DNF Benjamin Rouget (FRA)

 

Photo courtesy of Carreracupasia.com

Li retains AAMC Macau GT Cup championship

Chinese driver, Li Zhi Cong claimed his second AAMC Macau GT Cup Championship this year on his home circuit. It was an exceptional win in front of hundreds of his fans, who turned up to watch him win a race and claim the Championship during Round 10 of the GT Asia Series at Zhuhai International Circuit last month.

At just 20, the Asia Racing Team driver is the youngest full time entry for the GT Asia Series and he has always looked like he would put up a strong challenge for the Series Championship. Winning the AAMC Macau GT Cup is an added bonus after a very mixed performance on his and, his Asia Racing Team’s, home track. He also had the added pressure of racing alongside two-time Formula 1 World Champion, Mika Hakkinen.

The Associação Automóvel de Macau-China (AAMC) Macau GT Cup is a special award nomination for the top three drivers at the end of the six rounds held within GT Asia Series. Drivers collected points for the Championship from Rounds 5 to 10 of the GT Asia Series. These were the rounds held at the Fuji Speedway Circuit, Sepang International Circuit and Zhuhai International Circuit.

 The AAMC Macau GT Cup is in its second year, as an integrated part of the GT Asia Series. The overall AAMC GT Championship Trophies will be presented in Macau GP weekend by AAMC as part of the GT Asia Championship award ceremony presentations.

 

Photo courtesy of Cheung Chi Wai

End Season With Podium Finish

Porsche Supercup regular Ben Barker took his maiden Porsche Carrera Cup Asia podium for Team Betterlife at Shanghai on an unlucky weekend for Class B top-runner Li Chao.

The Sports Car Champions Festival weekend started on the right foot for Barker as he qualified 4th on the Race 1 grid. The British driver had a good start, claiming the third position from Martin Ragginger. Both drivers endured a tough 12-lap race. Ragginger spent much of the race fighting to find a way past Team Betterlife car, dramatically reclaiming the final podium spot on the final lap. The revenge would come in Sunday’s race with a podium. It was an equally eventful race for Barker: “I got past Earl (Bamber) into Turn 1, then went for a move on Alex (Imperatori) at the hairpin and he ran a little bit wide and went into me. The impact bent my tracking. I’m happy with third place. I had hoped for a bit more but it was a good weekend. It’s been great.”

Teammate Li Chao had a suspension failure in qualifying and just an amazing sprint from Asia Racing Team mechanics would allow him to take part of Race 1. Fighting with the car, the Beijing racer finished 21st overall and 8th of Class B. In the second race, with a much better car, Li Chao did a good way up race, crossing the line in 4th of Class B but not enough to keep the second place in the category standings. Eventually he was 2013 Class B second-runner up.

Engineered by Asia Racing Team, Round 11 saw Avila stay out of trouble amongst the hard-charging field and focus on staying in front of his rivals for 3rd place in the Championship. This was duly accomplished and the team afforded themselves a small celebration for 3rd place in the Championship. Avila could now focus on maximum attack in the second race. Starting from fifth on the grid, Avila made a strong start as the lights went out.  He stayed close to the race leaders, mindful that a pitch battle was ensuing ahead and ready for the chance to make his move.  With the cars ahead two abreast across the track, Avila pounced, thundering past the car in front and diving up to fourth in the order.

Also engineered by Asia Racing Team, Benjamin Rouget had one of the best weekends of his 2013 season. The Shanghai-based French finished 5th in the first race but an incident in Race 2 took the Team Yongda Dongfang car out of Top-5 contention in the early stages. Rouget finished 10th in the last race of the year.

While Round 12 marked a spectacular end to the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season, Asia’s finest GT drivers will be back in action next month at the 60th Macau Grand Prix. From November 9 to 10, the field will be joined by some of their counterparts on the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Japan for an end-of-seasonal invitational on the legendary Guia Circuit, as well as a very special VIP driver: Nine-time FIA World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb will join the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia for their triumphant return to Macau.

 


RACE 1 RESULT:

P4 Ben Barker (GBR)

P21 Li Chao (CHN)

 

RACE 2 RESULT:

P3 Ben Barker (GBR)

P18 Li Chao (CHN)



Photo courtesy of Carreracupasia.com

Li win net championship lead

Li Zhi Cong is back on the top step of the podium: the Asia Racing Team driver produced a flawless race in Zhuhai to win the tenth race of the GT Asia Series season, reclaiming the championship lead with one race to go.

The weekend started very well with Li Zhi Cong getting the pole in qualifying for Round 9 in front of drivers such as Earl Bamber, Stefan Mucke or the two times Formula 1 World Champion, Mika Hakkinen. He also managed to place his Porsche 911 GT3 R in third for Round 10.

The Saturday 50-minute race saw Li having an uninspired race start. The Guangzhou native dropped ten positions from first in less than ten minutes. A good second half of the race took to him 4th overall but Li has been hit with a 30-second time penalty for allegedly overtaking while yellow flags were out, dropping him down to 6th.

The best of the weekend was reserved for Sunday’s race. The 20 years old racer started on used tires losing one position before the compulsory pit-stop. An efficient pit-stop and new rubber enabled him to climb to second, where he would stay until the leading car came to a halt on the side of the track in the very last lap, opening the doors of the first step of the podium to the Chinese local hero.

Reflecting on taking the win Li said, “It’s been a great weekend for me here in Zhuhai and I am obviously very happy. Every victory is special and you have to fight very hard for them, but this track is also very special. It is like a home track for my team and me. I was very tense in the first race and I missed the opportunity to score more points. In the second race I struggled with old tires but once I got fresh tires I started pushing very hard and I managed a good pace.”

With one race to go, in the GT Asia Series Drivers’ Championship, Li moves up to first on 142 points after his six podium position this season, ahead of Mok Weng Sun (128) and Franck Yu (125).

Speaking about the challenge ahead, Li said, “Now I’m looking forward to Macau. I know it’s a very difficult race but for me it is a case of being smart, controlling the championship and stay 100% focussed and do the job. Last year I did a good result and I hope to do it again.”

Like in previous season, the season finale will be held as part of Macau GT Cup on November’s 60th Macau Grand Prix.

 

Photo courtesy of Cheung Chi Wai

Season’s best-day for Asia Racing Team at Singapore

All in all, it was a very satisfactory race weekend for the Asia Racing Team in the Porsche SC Global Carrera Cup Asia – Singapore 2013. Team Betterlife new recruit Mario Farnbacher was a solid fifth, Team Jebsen’s Rodolfo Avila took points for fifth place and Li Chao kept his second place in Class B standings.

Saturday’s qualifying session under the lights saw Avila just four-tenths of a second off pole position, his best lap giving him a third row start. PCCA debutant Farnbacher finished the session as the ninth quickest driver overall, while Li Chao qualified 17th and fifth in Class B.

At the race start, on Sunday afternoon, Farnbacher didn’t make a perfect getaway, dropping to 11th at the end of first lap. But the 19-year old German was decided to come back and even the “Safety-Car” deployment hasn’t cost him a great race. Farnbacher ran a clean race, took advantage of his competitors’ mistakes and took the checkered flag in the fifth position - the best result of the season for Team Betterlife so far.

Engineered by Asia Racing Team, Avila had an unlucky start to the race. He was an innocent victim of two first-lap incidents caused by other competitors. The incidents pushed him down the field to 21st place but the talented Macau driver charged his way through the field to take sixth place.

JR Motorsports’s Li Chao had an eventful race but managed to bring back his car without major damages, crossing the finish line in 13th place overall and fifth of Class B

The final round of Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will take place at Shanghai on the 26th & 27th October.

 

 

RACE RESULT:

P5 Mario Farnbacher (GER)

P13 Li Chao (CHN)




Photo courtesy of Carreracupasia.com

 

 

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Li Zhi Cong puts on a strong show

Li Zhi Cong landed a personal milestone at Sepang when he bagged a GT Asia Series pole-position for the first time in his career. The Asia Racing Team Guangzhou driver finished second in the first race of the weekend.

For the fourth event of the event Li Zhi Cong moved back to the 911 GT3 R MY 2013 cockpit and it worked well. Li stormed to set the fastest time during Qualifying 2 on his way to securing the pole-position for the second race of the weekend.

The 20-year-old started from fourth on the grid for the Race 1 and had a relatively quiet Saturday afternoon, staying clear of several incidents further down the field and following those ahead. The early pit-stop helped him to move to second, the position he finished the race.

Starting from the pole-position in the second race of the weekend, Li had lost the lead in the opening lap. The early pit-stop strategy did not go as well for the team. However, the Chinese driver managed to bring the car home in fourth.

Speaking about his weekend, Li said, “We didn’t have the fastest car, so I am happy with the overall result of the weekend. I am in the middle of a really tight fight for the championship title right now and that has to be my aim. I will be giving it everything for the rest of the season.”

The GT Asia Series cars are now on moving to the penultimate round in China at the Zhuhai International Circuit on 11th to 13th October.

 

Photo Courtesy of Cheung Chi Wai

Point scoring weekend in Korea

Asia Racing Team driver Li Chao continued his fine recent Porsche Carrera Cup Asia form at the Inje Speedium International Circuit in South Korea last week. The weekend was made even stronger for Asia Racing Team and the team full-time racing coach Rodolfo Avila was back on the podium.

Sometimes things just don’t go your way. That was certainly true of Li Chao in the qualifying. The Beijing driver had a small accident and qualified P6 in Class B for both races.

Asia Racing Team crew was able to repair his car on time and Li Chao performed well, being able to bounce back. He raced in the Class B Top-5  throughout the Race 1 before crossing the finish line in fourth and 14th overall. JR Motorsports supported driver repeated the result in Race 2. Li Chao got twice the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia medal for his achievements in climbing through the field in both races.

For personal reasons teammate Wang Jian Wei did not take part of the event. Jacky Yeung drove Team Betterlife’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup but the Hong Kong native did not finish in both races.

Engineered once more by Asia Racing Team, Team Jebsen’s Rodolfo Avila took home a podium finish, with third-place in Race 1 seeing him retain third place in the championship points standings with three races remaining in the 2013 season.

Saturday’s single qualifying session did not quite go as planned with Avila wrestling with oversteer. His two quickest laps put the team on the fourth row of the grid for both Rounds 8 and 9, meaning he had everything to do in the races. Plenty of drama at the start of Round 8 gave Avila the opportunity to move up from the fourth row into podium contention. In Race 2 Avila got off well and managed to move up to sixth during the race. In the penultimate lap, as Avila was fighting for fifth place, he pushed too hard and spun, dropping him back to ninth overall by the flag.

Just three races remain, so the pressure is on to take as many of the remaining points still up for grabs, starting with next month’s Round 10 in support of the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix on the Marina Bay street circuit.


RACE 1 RESULT:

P14 Li Chao (CHN)

DNF Jacky Yeung (HK)
 

RACE 2 RESULT:

P12 Li Chao (CHN)

DNF Jacky Yeung (HK)


Photo courtesy of Carreracupasia.com

Li Zhi Cong takes second at Fuji

It was a race weekend of mixed fortunes for the Asia Racing Team driver Peter Li Zhi Cong in Fuji, as the 20-year-old Chinese took his fourth podium of the GT Asia Series season in second place in Race 1, while he was harmed by the Safety-Car period in Race 2. 

After the somehow disappointing experience with the Porsche 911 GT3 R 2013 spec at Okayama, the team decided to go back to the 2012 spec at Fuji. But the team was on the back foot ahead of the two 50-minute races, after Qualifying did not go according to plan. Li Zhi Cong could do no better than sixth and fourth. From that moment, the team knew that would need a good strategy in the races in order to be able to finish higher up the field.

On Saturday afternoon Li Zhi Cong did not have a good start but the Guangzhou native fought hard from eight. He started the race in sixth, lost two positions at the start, but made a steady climb through the battling field to claim a brilliant second place at the end of the race.

In Race 2 the deployment of a Safety-Car before the pit stop window was the key factor that cost a second podium to the team. Li had a strong race start and moved to second in the first lap before he eventually dropped to seventh after the pit stop. A 90 seconds compensation time pit-stop and the Safety-Car’s arrival on track before it shattered the chances of a better result.

Li now occupies the fourth position of the championship standings.

Speaking about his races, Li said, “I think we did a good job this weekend and the first thing is I would like to thank my team because before the weekend start they worked really hard to change the car for me. The Porsche has a good straight-line speed so I could catch with the cars in front of me fairly quickly. The car worked really well in the races and I am really happy to finish second in Race 1. It was pity that the Safety-Car came in as it did not help us in Race 2.”  

Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, “Again there’s a case of mixed emotions for the team this weekend, we’re delighted with Peter’s performance to take another podium this season, but we know that we could have been fighting for the win in Race 2 if the Safety Car did not show up. We are still in title contention and we are looking forward the two races in Sepang.”

The GT Asia Series continues with Rounds 7 & 8 at Sepang International Circuit 13-15 September.

 

Photo courtesy of Henry Chan and AFOS.com

Li Chao takes double class podium at Ordos

Li Chao truly announced himself on Porsche Carrera Cup Asia with a career best Class B second place twice. Engineered by Asia Racing Team once again this weekend, Team Jebsen’s Rodolfo Avila took the final podium place in Race 1 on the challenging and unpredictable Ordos International Circuit.

After a tough weekend at Zhuhai when he was ruled out after a shunt in the first race, Wang Jian Wei was back on track to set the 13th fastest lap time in Saturday morning Qualifying. Teammate Li Chao placed his car in 4th of the Class B grid, and 17th overall.

Asia Racing Team permanent Driver Coach Rodolfo Avila set a scorching first quick lap which put him third in the time sheets, but his session ended prematurely with a broken engine belt.

Saturday afternoon PCCA Rnd 6 saw Asia Racing Team Wang having a ferocious fight at the beginning for the last Top-10 but he wasn’t able to settle it. The Team Betterlife driver crossed the finish line 12th, two positions ahead of his Asia Racing Team teammate.

Li Chao drove a spectacular race to finish second in Class B. The JR Motorsports racer, who also won the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia medal for the race for his achievements in climbing through the field, it was exciting to be on the podium in his home country: “As a Chinese driver, I’m very happy to be on the podium here in Ordos. I got a good start, and after one lap I was third in the class. After the others spun, I was up to P2.”

Engineered by Asia Racing Team, Avila was less than satisfied with his third place overall in Race 1. Said Avila: “The pace was not as I had expected, and to be honest my head wasn’t there. I saw [Tung] Ho-Pin coming up, but the guys in front were just in another world. They’re ahead of me in the championship, so it’s obviously not great, but our hopes are still very much alive.”

The second race at Ordos had mixed feelings for Asia Racing Team. Li Chao completed a perfect weekend with another Class B podium finish and winning the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia medal for the second time in Ordos. The Beijing born driver finished 15th overall.

Wang Jian Wei displayed good pace, being involved in a race long battle for tenth, but once again was unable to find a way though around the tight and twisting street circuit. He crossed the line in 12th.

As the lights went out for the start of the 14-lap race, the drama began from the off with Team Jebsen’s Avila being unceremoniously punted off by an opponent, and spinning amongst the tightly-packed field and dropping down the order. Avila fought back, picking his way back up through the field to finish eighth.

Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be back in action later in August. Rounds 8 and 9 will take place in Inje Speedium International Circuit, South Korea on 3 and 4 August 2013.

 

RACE 1 RESULT:

P12 Wang Jian Wei (CHN)

P14 Li Chao (CHN)

 

RACE 2 RESULT:

P12 Wang Jian Wei (CHN)

P15 Li Chao (CHN)

 

Photo courtesy of Carreracupasia.com

Li Zhi Cong back in the podium at Okayama

Li Zhi Cong went to Okayama as the man in form, but the switch from the Porsche 911 GT3-R 2012 spec to the 2013 spec didn’t help his objective to protect and enhance his points lead. He still made it on the podium in third place.

On Saturday the new Porsche didn’t performed amazingly well in the qualifying and Li Zhi Cong qualified 7th for the first race, bouncing back to qualify 3rd for the Race 2.

Still on Saturday, Li finished the Race 1 in fourth after fighting his way up the grid from seventh. The Asia Racing Team driver was still getting used to his new car and was still trying to find the most suitable set-up for the track, whilst getting used to the slightly different handling.

Race 2 saw Li showing a better pace and getting the lead after the compulsory pit-stop. The Guangzhou native had led the race until lap 20 but he couldn’t keep the position, ending up crossing the finish line in 3rd.

Speaking about his weekend at Okayama, a slightly frustrated Li Zhi Cong said, “It was my first time driving the latest GT3-R spec car and my first time in Okayama circuit. The car had a lot of understeer and the race was very tough on the tyres. It was frustrating because I couldn’t take the maximum out of the car during the whole weekend. But we hope that we will be able to do better in the next race and get the car faster, so its good. I have to keep an eye on the points situation, so driving smart was the right way to play it.”

Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, “It was our first time with the new GT3 R 2013 spec and we faced some issues finding the right set-up to suit the Yokohama tyres. The car went better and better as the weekend throughout the weekend. Peter still managed to get important points with a P4 and a podium in Race 2. Overall, the weekend was far from our expectations but we will bounce back in the next event.”

The next round of the GT Asia Series takes place at Fuji in Japan in two weeks. The reigning GT Asia Series first runner-up currently lies fourth in the championship standings.

Justice has been made!

Li Zhi Cong has won his appeal and has been reinstated as the winner of GT Asia Series Round 1 held at the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit, on 11th May 2013.

An Appeal hearing was held on the 4th of June at the Japan Automotive Federation to consider the appeal made by Li of Asia Racing Team regarding his disqualification.

The commission have discussed and agreed that the Drive-Through Penalty given during the race to Li was sufficient and have therefore overturned his disqualification, reinstating him as the winner of Round 1.

This means Li collects the 18 points for the win to lead the Championship going into Rounds 3 & 4 held at the Okayama International Circuit this 28-30 June.

 

 

Text Prepared by Motorsport Asia

Photo courtesy of Henry Chan and AFOS.com

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’s Li Zhi Cong Victorious at Motegi

Asia Racing Team and Peter Li Zhi Cong left Twin Ring Motegi with a smile on their faces after a fabulous weekend in the 2013 GT Asia Series opening round. The 20 year old picked up a win and a second place to head towards the second meeting of the season, Okayama, in first place in the standings.

Saturday’s Qualifying saw the Guangzhou native qualifying on the front row for both races. Li Zhi Cong was only bettered by Aston Martin Racing factory driver Stefan Muecke (Aston Martin) in Qualifying 1, and by GT Asia Series champion Mok Weng Sun (McLaren) in Qualifying 2.

The start of Race 1 happened under treacherous conditions on Saturday afternoon. Throughout the race, the shower was constant, sending sprays throughout the track making visibility low and causing most of the grid to be cautious in the first few laps to avoid incidents. Li kept his position and managed to follow Muecke until the compulsory pit-stop.

As the pit-stop window opened, Li had to serve a drive-through penalty for having outside assistance when his Porsche 911 GT3 R clutch decided not to cooperate. But the young Chinese did not give up. Driving on his limits he took less than 15 minutes to overtake the three cars in front of him, and proceed to pull away from the field to bag his first win of the season

Speaking about Race 1, Li said “after taking the drive through, I dropped to fourth but I had a good pace and managed to catch up and slowly took the Audi and then the Lamborghini and the Mclaren for first. It was a really good race and I really would like to thank my team that gave me a competitive car and my family for this.”

Starting from P2 for the Race 2, Li had a clean race start, and quickly moved up to first position. The Yumin Restaurant and Pakelo Lubricants sponsored driver would stay there until the compulsory pit-stop but an extra 10-second compensation time for winning Saturday’s race sent him out of the pit lane just behind Hisao Shigeta.

Li was unable to find a way past Shigeta and finally got overtaken by Muecke. Li would benefit from Shigeta’s mistake with four laps to go to earn the second place. The Guangdong Province born Li claimed that Motegi was a good day at the office however and that perhaps his rivals should fear him even more for the rest of the season.

Peter said: “We wanted to have a good weekend to start the season and we certainly did by clinching a victory and a second place. This was my first time in this track and we were not expecting so much. I feel that I learnt a lot last year. I am more confident now and I know that I can trust my team to give me a fast car. I am looking forward to the next races.”

Team Manager Philippe Descombes added “I’m so pleased for Peter and the whole team who have put in a great effort this weekend. Peter drove a flawless race despite a lot of pressure from his opponents. He has really impressed us not only with his pace in qualifying but also with the way he handled himself in both races. We showed this weekend that we are still very be competitive and we just have to focus on doing our job.”

The next races of the GT Asia Series will be held in six weeks time, from 28th to 30th June, at Okayama.

 

Photo courtesy of Henry Chan and AFOS.com

Li Zhi Cong stays with Asia Racing Team for 2013

Chinese racer Li Zhi Cong will continue for a second season with Asia Racing Team for an assault on the 2013 GT Asia Series title. The Yumin Restaurant backed driver had a successful 2012 season taking nine podiums including three brilliant wins at Sepang, Suzuka and Macau.     

Li Zhi Cong, who was a single seater regular, will stay with Asia Racing Team after enjoying a promising rookie year. The 20 year-old Guangzhou native showed his racing skills throughout his first GT Asia Series season, with his maiden win coming at the second event of the 2012 calendar at the Sepang circuit. Within a month of claiming his first GT win, Asia Racing Team’s Li Zhi Cong earned his first trophy by winning the AAMC Macau GT Cup Championship during Round 6 of the GT Asia Series in Fuji, Japan.

The Chinese young driver clinched the third win of the 2012 season in GT Asia Series by finishing sixth place overall in Macau GT Cup. Thanks to this result, he finished second in GT Asia Series drivers’ standings and was the first Mainland Chinese to stood in the highest step of the Macau Grand Prix podium.

For the second consecutive season Li Zhi Cong will be driving a Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Speaking about the upcoming season, Li Zhi Cong said, “I’m really looking forward to staying with Asia Racing Team for my second year in GT Asia Series. The competition will be fierce with the arrival of many pro drivers but my goal for the season is to win the 2013 championship. I have a great team around me at Asia Racing Team who I believe can help me to achieve this ambition.”

Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, “We are delighted to have Li Zhi Cong (Peter) back on board with us for a second season in GT racing. Having made the big step up from single seater, Peter really developed as a GT driver last year and he is now a consistent front-runner. With the experience of a year in GT, we expect Peter to be a genuine championship challenger from the outset.”

The 2013 GT Asia Series will start the season for the first time in Japan at the famed Motegi Circuit. From there the Series remains in Japan competing at the Okayama and Fuji Circuits before heading to Malaysia for Rounds 7 & 8 at Sepang. The Series will mark a return to China with a visit to Zhuhai Circuit, where its races were held as a club race. The Series will once again hold its Championship ender as part of the main race weekend at Guia Circuit for the legendary Macau Grand Prix this 14-17 November.

Mixed Feelings at Zhuhai

It was a weekend of mixed feelings for Asia Racing Team in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia at Zhuhai International Circuit. JR Motorsports’ Li Chao clinched his first Class B podium but teammate Wang Jian Wei had a weekend to forget.

Qualifying saw Wang Jian Wei placing his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 12th for Race 1 and 10th for Race 2. Li Chao made his own luck, securing 4th and 3rd on the Class B grid for the first and second race of the weekend.

Li Chao played a central role in an exciting 12 lap Saturday Class B race but narrowly missed out on the podium in a dramatic fourth round of the season. At half distance the Beijing racer was looking set for a podium result, but, with three laps to go, a spin in the last corner took off any chance to get in the top 3. He still managed to come back to cross the finish line in 4th of Class B and 14th overall.

The race did not last long for Team Betterlife. Wang Jian Wei had a major off in the second lap, hitting the wall hard. After this heavy off in Round 4, chassis damage meant he was unable to take the start in Sunday’s race.

With everything to play for, race two promised to be even more exciting than race one - and it didn’t disappoint. Li Chao was Asia Racing Team sole representative and he met the expectations. With the right approach to the race, Li Chao pretty much did a flawless race to finish 2nd in Class B. Li was delighted to take his first ever Class B podium:  “As a Chinese driver I’m very happy to be on the podium at a home track of Zhuhai.  In yesterday’s race I was a bit unlucky, but today I was more consistent and finally I’m here (on the podium)!”

Like in the season 2009, Team Jebsen PCCA driver and Asia Racing Team Driver Coach Rodolfo Avila was engineered by Asia Racing Team in this event. Back to the roots the Macau driver claimed two-second place finishes and Race 1 fastest lap, showing his true potential.  

The next round of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia takes place on 5-7 July at Ordos International Circuit.

 

RACE 1 RESULT:

P14 Li Chao (CHN)

DNF Wang Jian Wei (CHN)

 

RACE 2 RESULT:

P10 Li Chao (CHN)

DNS Wang Jian Wei (CHN)

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Cheung Chi Wai

Challenging Shanghai Weekend Disappoints Asia Racing Team

Asia Racing Team duo Wang Jian Wei and Li Chao disappointed not to have been able to convert a sensational free-practice performance into a similarly strong race results on Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Rounds 3 and 4 at Shanghai International Circuit.

After surprising the whole paddock on Friday morning, setting the 4th quickest lap time in Free Practice 1, Wang Jian Wei managed to lock the P9 spot in the grid for Race 1. Teammate Li Chao had a short session. Racing on the greatest stage in Chinese motorsport, The last year Class B pole-position at Shanghai went in the gravel in the second flying lap, being forced to start from last in the two weekend races.

As the lights went out for the Race 1, Wang made another good start from ninth, but a fast starting Egidio Perfetti initially made it ahead.  Wang held 10th position though and after a close fight with Perfetti, was lying again in 9th place. The Team Betterlife driver was not satisfied with the position and a slight mistake by former single-seater Asia Racing Team racer Benjamin Rouget on lap 9 allowed some overtaking opportunity. Unfortunately a slow puncture from a previous contact slowed him down to a point he had to let his opponents ago, crossing the finish line in 11th.

Starting from the last place of the grid, Li Chao had a great opening lap, overtaking five opponents in Class B. Running by fifth place of the Gentleman Driver category and with a damaged exhaust, Li Chao avoided any unnecessary risk in the eleven remaining laps, to finish 18th overall, and fifth of Class B.

Wang Jian Wei was hopeful of building on his Race 1 display to bring him a strong result on Race 2 and the team sent him to the track with the same setup of the day before. Unfortunately on the third lap he expressed his discomfort with the handling of his car by parking it in the pits.

A little further back, teammate Li Chao rapidly made up ground after a unlucky qualifying and latched onto the tail of Class B sixth man Samson Chan. He gallantly tried to overtake his opponent for a couple of times but the best he could do was to finish 7th of Class B and 19th overall.

Commenting about the race weekend, Team Manager Philippe Descombes said, "After the good free practice sessions, I must admit that I’m disappointed that as a team we didn’t make a similarly good showing in qualifying and races. Li Chao’s situation in qualifying was unfortunate and Wang Jian Wei early DNF in Race 2 was definitely not in our plans. But we’re continuing to work on achieving our goals this season and we have a good chance to bounce back in the next event at Zhuhai.”

The championship heads now to the “Home Of Motorsports” in China: Zhuhai International Circuit!

 

RACE 1 RESULT:

P9 Wang Jian Wei (CHN)

P18 Li Chao (CHN)

 

RACE 2 RESULT:

P19 Li Chao (CHN)

DNF Wang Jian Wei (CHN)

 

 

Photo courtesy of Carreracupasia.com

Scoring start for Asia Racing Team

An eventful Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season opener saw Asia Racing Team drivers Wang Jian Wei and Li Chao open their accounts with a strong points haul in Malaysia, with an overall 8th and Class B 6th place finish respectively.


Following Friday’s free practice session, competition got underway on Saturday for grid positions in the actual race on Sunday at the Sepang International Circuit. Team Betterlife’s Wang Jian Wei did not disappoint and secured the 10th place in the grid. Teammate Li Chao qualified 19th place overall and Class B 6th.

In Sunday’s race Wang started from 10th on the grid, but fell back in the early running to regain his top-10 position through the following lap. Wang set off to close the gap to his compatriot Li Zhi Cong on P9 and finally after a few laps of constant pressure on Asia Racing Team GT Asia Series driver he managed to overtake him. After the race, Wang would benefit from Ho-Pin Tung’s exclusion to finish 8th in the first race of the year.

“The start of the race was not perfect and I lost a position which put me down to eleventh”, said the Team Betterlife driver, “after the first lap I concentrated on my speed we had a solid race after. Now we must to concentrate on improving our performance for the next race.”

Further back in the grid, Li Chao had also an entertaining a similarly eventful race. Without the pace to match the front-runners of Class B, the Beijing driver fought for his position, collecting vital championship points.

Reflecting on his season start, Li Chao said “I think Class B 6th isnt too bad and I think we can be pleased the overall weekend performance. We’ll now look ahead to a better result in Shanghai.”

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be back in action next month, this time at the Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix in Shanghai from April 12-14.

 

RACE RESULT:

P8 Wang Jian Wei (CHN)

P16 Li Chao (CHN)

 

Photo courtesy of Carreracupasia.com

Li Chao Rejoins Asia Racing Team

Li Chao rejoins to Asia Racing Team for the 2013 season of Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. The 32 year old Beijing-native, runner-up in the 2011 CFGP and PCCA rookie in 2012, completes Asia Racing Team driver line-up for the coming season.

Asia Racing Team have already confirmed Wang Jian Wei as Li Chao’s team mate with the Team Betterlife driver embarking on third season in the series. The pair were previously Asia Racing Team team mates for the 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and raced in Volkswagen Scirocco Cup China before stepping up in Carrera Cup.

The JR Motorsports Club driver has been testing with the team during the winter break at Zhuhai and is looking forward to making the most of his second year in the championship.

Beijing Porsche Owner’s Club new ambassador Li Chao said, “I’m really excited about returning to PCCA with Asia Racing Team, but I’m under no illusions about how difficult it is going to be. This is my second year in the series and I want to take the maximum out of the experience of last year season. I am motivated and I will do my best to find a wa”

Team manager Philippe Descombes commented: “We saw just how much Li Chao has progressed even since the Zhuhai Media Day in February and through the succession of PCCA races thereafter. He achieved Class B pole-position at Shanghai in the end of last season. We have been surprised by his performances in many races and in principle he will be one to watch in Class B.

The PCCA season start will be held on 22 – 24 March at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia.

Asia Racing Team and Team BetterLife Extend Alliance

After a successful first Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (PCCA) season together, Asia Racing Team and Team BetterLife have agreed to extend the partnership into 2013.

For the third consecutive season Wang Jian Wei will continue to drive for Team BetterLife’s No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in 2013. In 2012 Wang finished 9th in championship standings, and his best result of the year was a spectacular third place in round six at Ordos.  

Team BetterLife is the racing arm of BetterLife Group. The company is perceived as the premium car specialists in the Beijing area and runs Porsche Centre Beijing Yizhuang, Porsche Centre Beijing Haidian and Porsche Centre Tianjin.

Eddy Mok, General Manager of Porsche BetterLife Group: “Our relationship with Asia Racing Team has strengthened over the last year and I am very pleased to announce we have been able to extend that relationship in time for the 2013 season. In order to succeed on track you need the best technical support and Asia Racing Team proved to be the right choice .”

Philippe Descombes, Team Manager of Asia Racing Team: “We are delighted and very proud that Betterlife have chosen to place their car and driver with us again in 2013. We’ve had the pleasure of having Wang Jian Wei as part of the team last year and we’ve seen him improving towards end of the season last year. Everybody knows this is a very competitive championship but we are ready for the challenge.”

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season kicks off in Malaysia on March 24 as part of 2013 Formula One Malaysia Grand Prix.

 

Copyright @ Porsche China

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 art@art-motorsports.com

Zhuhai 500km: Dominant pace goes unrewarded

Last weekend Zhuhai International Circuit hosted the 3rd edition of the Zhuhai 500 km endurance race. Amongst the new teams using this meeting as their first endurance race experience was Asia Racing Team. Singapore’s Vignesa Moorthy, Macau’s Rodolfo Avila and France’s Philippe Descombes took part in the race, driving the #73 ViewQwest Radical SR8.

The race weekend got off the right foot. Avila posted the quickest lap time in the single Free Practice session and grabbed pole position after setting a scorching lap of 1 minutes 32.526 seconds in the Qualifying, which was more than one second quicker than team’s next best challenger.

As part of team’s strategy for the 3-hour race, Avila was nominated to do the start. The Portuguese-born driver started off strong and I led the race for most of the first forty-five minutes. He also set the best lap time of 1:34.133 seconds in the process.

Unfortunately the car’s reliability could not ultimately match its pace-setting performance and Asia Racing Team was forced to withdraw from the race right after the first pit stop. Second stint driver Descombes did not manage to complete a single lap as the car stopped suddenly on T11 with an alternator failure.

Team Manager and race returnee, Descombes, said “We all knew from the beginning that it would be hard to win today but it’s disappointing to end the race like this because we had a chance for a podium. It was our first endurance race experience and we learnt a lot from this so we will try to take that forward.”

2012 Malaysian Super Series champion and car owner Vignesa Moorthy, added “Despite not finishing the race, it was still a great experience for everyone. We had a lot of fun and I hope to come back next year!”

 


Li crowned 2012 GT Asia Series vice champion after win at Macau

72,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) at the Circuito da Guia saw a thrilling GT Asia Series season finale and an impressive performance by Asia Racing Team driver Li Zhi Cong. The Chinese young driver clinched the third win of the 2012 season in GT Asia Series by finishing sixth place overall in Macau GT Cup.

Knowing in advance of his slim chances of being champion, Li gritted his teeth and brought his Porsche 911 GT3 R across the finish line as winner. The Guangzhou native started from P9 overall and second of GT Asia Series competitors but he was keen to win. The 19-year old “rookie of the year” managed to grab the first position on lap 4 when he took his rival by surprise at Mandarin Oriental bend.

Once at the front, Li cruised uncontested to his third GT Asia Series win of the season. Thanks to this result, he finished second in GT Asia Series drivers’ standings and was the first Mainland Chinese to stood in the highest step of the Macau Grand Prix podium.

Starting 22nd on the grid, teammate Keith Chan had a flawless race wherein he made good use of the Porsche speed in the straight lines and emerged out as 18th. Local hero Rodolfo Avila, who had struggled with engine limitations during the whole weekend, finished the race in 24th.

 

Quotes from the Asia Racing Team drivers after the race at Macau.

 

Li Zhi Cong (#9 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup): “I am very happy and would like to thank Asia Racing Team for a job well done. I have been improving throughout the weekend. In the race I took Mok at Mandarin and he was a gentleman, he didn’t block me. After that I just kept the car on the track and followed the front-runners. This race went well and after the mistake that I made in the last race in Autopolis, losing 10 points so I cant win the Championship but maybe next year.”

 

Keith Chan (#11 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup): “My assessment after the first race with a Porsche 911 GT3 R is very positive. The car is very different to drive compared to the Lamborghini I drove here last year. The teamwork is fantastic, the guys support me. I was not really in racing mood this weekend and the race had ups and downs but basically I pulled through and achieved my goal.”

 

Rodolfo Avila (#20 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup): “You could tell that we were lacking pace. We struggled from the first free practice with lack power. In the race I fought hard for positions but there is no way I could keep up with the GT3 cars in the long straights of Guia circuit. Hope to be back in Macau with a winner car next time.”

 

 

Photo @ Renato Marques

Asia Racing Team ends season on a high

Asia Racing Team finished the season on high winning the last Class B round of the 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season at the Shanghai International Circuit.

The weekend started well for the Asia Racing Team camp with China’s Li Chao claiming his maiden “B Class” pole position for Saturday’s race on a wet qualifying session. Li lined up 11th in the grid, one position behind Team Betterlife’s Wang Jian Wei, the quickest of ART drivers. “After this, I like the rain a lot”, said Li.

 

RACE ONE

Wang took the honors of best Asia Racing Team driver in the 12-lap thriller race around Shanghai but it was Huang Chu Han who went in the podium. The Exim Bank Of China Porsche 911 GT3 Cup finished 13th overall and 3rd in Class B.

Canada’s Christian Chia was classified 20th and poleman Li Chao, who spun while fighting for the lead of Class B early in the race, was 22nd. The Safety Car was called out on lap 7 after OpenRoad by ART Motorsports’ Marcel Tjia spun and came to a halt in the gravel trap.

 

RACE TWO

Chinese drivers impressed at the inaugural Sports Car Champions Festival, with Huang Chu Han winning Class B to take his second-class victory of season. ”It was a fantastic race. In the beginning, it was hard but I managed to overtake the two cars in front of me. I’m very happy to be on the highest step of the podium again.”

Brothers Chia and Tjia finished the last race of the season 17th and 19th. Teammate Li did not finish due to an alternator failure.

Despite the retirement Wang in the Team Betterlife Porsche 911 GT3 Cup finished the 2012 season as the best Asia Racing Team driver in ninth place overall. Wang retired at Race 2 after a collision on the first lap.

 

Photo @ Carreracupasia.com

Star Line-Up for Asia Racing Team at Macau Grand Prix

Asia Racing Team will run a trio of Porsche 911s in the 2012 Macau GT Cup at the 59th Macau Grand Prix.

Chinese driver and 2012 AAMC Trophy winner Li Zhi Cong will remain at the team for the GT Asia Series grand season finale, with Hong Kong’s Keith Chan and 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia vice-champion Rodolfo Avila joining him.

Three years after his first appearances in the streets of Macau with a single seater, Li Zhi Cong returns to Circuito da Guia but now driving a Porsche 911 GT3 R. Li Zhi Cong now lies second on the championship leaderboard heading into November’s season finale held as part of the Macau GT Cup.

Keith Chan will take the seat of Sasha Chu, who raced in GT Asia Series events at Fuji and Autopolis, in his Porsche 911 GT3 R. The Hong Kong Gentleman Driver never raced a 911 GT3-R but he tested the car during the winter at Zhuhai.

The third driver is the well-known Rodolfo Avila from Macau. Supported by StarWorld Hotel the local hero will be driving a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, the same model he has been driving in the past three seasons in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.

 Quotes from Asia Racing Team camp:

Philippe Descombes (Team Manager): “There’s no place like home when it comes to racing. We visit some fantastic venues all over Asia, but the opportunity to race on home asphalt is a special one. We are really happy to present the best line-up of drivers we’ve ever had in Macau GT Cup. Li and Keith will be driving the 911 GT3-R for the first time in Guia circuit but Rodolfo brings all his track “know-how” and experience to the team. I am convinced that this driver combination will work pretty well.”

Li Zhi Cong (#9 Porsche 911 GT3 R): “I am really happy to be back in Macau. It is one of the most challenging circuits in the world but my priority for the weekend will be the GT Asia Series drivers’ championship title hunt. As only Chinese driver in the series, I will do my best to honor my country.”

Keith Chan (#11 Porsche 911 GT3 R): “This will be my second time in Macau and I’m thrilled to once again have the chance of racing in Guia circuit. With this year’s race being more demanding than previous editions, I hope to improve on last year’s result.”

Rodolfo Avila (#20 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup): “It’s fantastic to be back driving with Asia Racing Team and to return to my home race with local support and sponsorship of StarWorld Hotel. With this car I will be unable to match the pace of the front-runners but I have a chance in GTM class and I’ll do my best to be the quickest.”

 

StarWorld Hotel Fully Supports Asia Racing Team racer Rodolfo Avila

StarWorld Hotel today proudly announced an exclusive sponsorship of Rodolfo Avila, the youngest-ever Asian Supercar Challenge Champion, for his participation in the upcoming GT Cup race at the 59th Macau Grand Prix. The design of Rodolfo’s race car was unveiled during the press conference at the hotel’s Whisky Bar, which offers a breath-taking panoramic view of the grand prix circuit.

Mr Gabriel Hunterton, Chief Operating Officer of StarWorld Hotel, said, ‘StarWorld Hotel, as part of the Galaxy Entertainment Group (“GEG”), is keen on supporting the development of local motorsports. In the upcoming Macau Grand Prix, we are delighted to sponsor a well-known Macau driver, Rodolfo Ávila, who has been raised and developed his motorsports career in Macau for many years. His continuous pursuit of excellence made him the youngest-ever “Asian SuperCar Challenge Champion”. On behalf of StarWorld Hotel, I sincerely wish the best of luck to Rodolfo in the upcoming race.’

As a responsible corporate citizen, GEG has rendered great support to a variety of international sports events, including Macau International Marathon, Macau FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix and Macau Grand Prix, as part of its efforts to assist Macau to become the World Center of Tourism and Leisure.

Avila joined Mr Hunterton to unveil the design of his race car at the ceremony. He said, “I am very proud to represent Macau in the upcoming Macau Grand Prix. With decades of history, the race has become a significant part of Macau culture. I would like to thank StarWorld Hotel for their support to me and in local sports development. I truly treasure this opportunity and hope that through this collaboration we can further promote our city to a global audience.”

Avila has grown up and acquired his professional racing car training locally in Macau. His passion for professional car racing has taken him on the road to success. In 2002, he made history as the youngest driver to take part in the Macau Grand Prix. Subsequently, he continued to break records in international races, including becoming the youngest driver to win the ASCC championship in 2008, the first Macau driver and youngest race winner in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in 2009 as well as the vice-champion of Porsche Carrera Cup Asia vice in 2011.

Avila will drive a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entered by Asia Racing Team.

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”.

Li Zhi Cong secures a podium finish on a rough weekend at Autopolis

Li Zhi Cong has put Asia Racing Team back on the podium in the GT Asia Series Rnd 9 & 10 at Japan’s 4.673km Autopolis International Circuit, but the young Chinese racer title hopes are now slim after not finishing the first race of the weekend.

Due to the rough weather conditions caused by typhoon Jelawat, the GT Asia Series organizers have decided on Saturday to bring forward the two races scheduled for the weekend. The scheduled Qualifying session ended up being replaced with Round 9, and Sunday’s Round 10 race was brought forward to Saturday, replacing Round 9. This unexpected change of schedule forced a change in the team’s strategy for the weekend.

Team Manager Philippe Descombes explained, “Obviously, the decision to cancel the qualifying and anticipate the races did not help us. Li did not take part in Thursday’s two-hour testing session so he was left with the two Free Practice sessions on Friday to learn the track. Autopolis is very technical track, and complicated to master in an hour.”

The Asia Racing Team drivers lined up 7th and 14th on Saturday morning grid, for a wet race that was started behind the safety car.  

Race 1 took place under treacherous conditions, and the few spectators saw Li fighting hard to take as many points as possible. The youngest driver in the series quickly moved up to 5th but his race abruptly ended when he tried an overtaking maneuver on the inside of the Ford GT3 of Frank Yu on lap 10 at turn 11, ending up on the gravel and bringing out the safety car until the last lap of the race.

Meanwhile series returnee Sasha Chu started at a steady pace without taking risks and focused his efforts on reaching the finish. The Hong Kong driver crossed the finish line in 10th.

With not much to lose, Li had a spectacular Race 2 start, finishing third after starting the race at the back of the grid. The Guangzhou native was already behind biggest rival in title race in third midway through the opening lap, a position he held all the way to the end of the race.

Teammate Chu did not take part of the second heat.

Speaking about his weekend, Li said, “It was not a good weekend for me in Autopolis, but I leant a lot about driving in the wet. I want to thanks my team and my driver coach for all their hard work under this weather conditions. Next race will be in Macau and as only Chinese driver in the series, I will do my best to honour my country.”

Descombes, added, “It was not an easy weekend for us. First Li lost the Thursday testing, and then Saturday’s Qualifying was cancelled. In Race 1 he was too brave trying to overtake Frank, and in Race 2 he did the best he could have done. Mathematically we can still be champions, but now its out of our hands. The pressure is on at every single race but we still try to raise our level for Macau. Obviously we will have a lot of supporters there and we want to give them something they can be proud of, which gives us extra motivation.”

Li Zhi Cong now lies second on the championship leaderboard heading into November’s season finale held as part of the Macau GT Cup at the 59th Macau Grand Prix with eleven points down to Mok Weng Sun (Ferrari).

 

Photo courtesy of Benny Luey for afos.com

Sunday in Singapore

The history says Asia Racing Team don’t have fond memories of Singapore Grand Prix, and without surprise the team endured a tough race weekend at the "Porsche SC Global Carrera Cup Asia – Singapore 2012".

Counting as Round 9 of the 11-race 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season, the weekend at the Marina Bay circuit started on the wrong foot for Team Betterlife. Wang Jian Wei was delayed by visa issues and unable to participate in this weekend’s event. After six years away from racing, Team Manager Philippe Descombes had to step in as last-minute replacement for the Beijing sportscar star.

 The whole Saturday night qualifying session was supposed to last for 30 minutes but it was cut shortly to 10 minutes or so due to a long red flag period. Descombes didn’t start off the weekend with a good run and being 20-min short during qualifying didn’t help either. Struggling to get a clear lap and still learning the circuit, Descombes placed the Team Betterlife car in 11th. Huang Chu Han took 16th on the grid ahead of Christian Chia. Marcel Tjia qualified 22nd and Li Chao had a torrid qualifying session which concluded with 25th position.

Sunday 12-lap race saw Philippe Descombes having a clean start but no. 9 GT3 Cup had to make way by sharply pulling to the right to avoid the mess at the triple chicane. The French racing instructor and former Asian F3 vice-champion made up one position till the end of the race, overtaking Class B winner Egidio Perfetti, and finishing his first race in ten years in the Top-10.

 In the beginning of the race Christian Chia in his Open Road Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup worked himself up to third position in the Class B. However, in the middle of the race, the Canadian driver run too wide, spoiling the chances of finishing in Class B podium. Chia finished in 17th overall and Class B 5th.

Elder brother Marcel Tjia, who had to miss the Sepang rounds for personal reasons, did a clean start and raced strongly before he was forced to avoid an accident in front of him, costing the orange Open Road Racing car precious time. Tjia was classified in 19th place, and Class B 7th.

 Huang Chu Han qualified 4th in Class B and held position as the race started. The impetuous Zhuhai native was doing a flawless race until the lap 6 when he lost control of the car and spun in the hairpin. Despite having lost valuable time, he advanced into the points again. In the end, Huang took 20th place and 8th of the B Class.

Starting from the back of the field, Li Chao’s Team JR 911 GT3 Cup got damaged in the area of the front end during the turbulent starting phase but it didn’t stop the Chinese driver to climb places in the classification. Unfortunately Li Chao spun by himself with three laps to go and wasn’t able to restart.

 The last event of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season will be at Shanghai International Circuit on November 9-11.

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

Li Zhi Cong takes a stunning victory at Suzuka

Li Zhi Cong completed a superb weekend in Suzuka last Sunday, with his second win of the 2012 GT Asia Series championship.  The young Chinese - who was 8th in the starting grid - stormed through the field in his Porsche 911 GT3 R prepared by Asia Racing Team to take a dramatic win in the second race of the weekend.

The Guangzhou native arrived in Suzuka with 80 kg handicap weight onboard and any knowledge of the track. Qualifying didn’t go smoothly as Li was only 6th in Qualifying One. The 19 year-old-driver improved his lap time in Qualifying Two but he overtook on yellow flags and got penalised, dropping three places on the Race 2 grid.

On Saturday afternoon Li picked up good points by finishing 4th in GT Asia Series Rnd 7, despite a drive-through penalty for pit-stop infringement. After a good getaway, Li managed to climb to the third position but the compulsory pit-stop was 0.2 of a second too short and the Asia Racing Team driver was penalized, and relegated to 4th.

But this is not time to give up. As the lights went out for Race 2 Li made an impressive start, and moved up to fifth. The Yumin Restaurant sponsored Porsche kept the strong pace and soon it was fighting for the lead. Li displayed his resilience and perseverance to overtake his opponent and win again.

Reflecting on his win, Li said, “The weekend was very hard for me because I had penalties in Race 1 and during the Qualifying. From Saturday race to Sunday race we removed 30 kg of weight so I got a better top speed and better performance. We have three races to go and I never raced in Autopolis. But I’ll keep pushing harder all the time and working with the team to achieve the best.”

Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, "We were very unlucky in the Race 1 pit stop. We got a drive through because we went less than 1 second too quickly out of the pit. It cost us a heap of time and a podium position. Li was great in Race 2. He made full advantage of a sensational start and a good move at the first corner, and then he managed his race perfectly. The fight for the championship will be very close until the last race and every point counts.”

Li currently leads the Championship by seven points to Mok Weng Sun (Ferrari 458 GT3).

The GT Asia Series will continue with Rounds 9 & 10 held at the Autopolis International Circuit on 28-30 September before heading to be a part of the Macau Grand Prix at the Circuito da Guia for the Series’ Season Finale on 16-18 November.

 

Photo courtesy of Henry Chan for afos.com

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

Li Zhi Cong wins the AAMC Macau GT Cup

Within a month of claiming his first GT win, Asia Racing Team’s Li Zhi Cong earned his first trophy by winning the AAMC Macau GT Cup Championship during Round 6 of the GT Asia Series in Fuji, Japan.

The 18 year old driver from Mainland China, who is in his first year of GT racing, completed the first six rounds of the season for Asia Racing Team in the Porsche 997 GT3 R to five podium finishes including one win.

Reflecting on his first trophy as GT driver, Li Zhi Cong said: “I am really happy for this achievement and I want to thanks my team for their support. This is my first season racing a GT car and I’m learning loads every weekend at the track. We have three GT Asia races to go and they all offer the same points as the first three races of the year, so nothing has really changed too much. Just got to go out there and do my best.”

Team Manager Philippe Descombes, added: “For us, GT Asia Series is our main goal this season but this trophy holds a special meaning for us as Macau team. Li Zhi Cong has put in a fantastic performance so far. He seized the momentum early on in the season with a string of top results and has been consistent ever since. He has coped brilliantly well with some strong competition and is a worthy AAMC GT Cup winner.”

With an enviable reputation across the continent, this is the first time Asia Racing Team has won a competition organized by the team’s ASN; the Associação Geral Automóvel de Macau-China (AAMC).

Beginning in May, the six-round AAMC Macau GT Cup started off at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia. The Cup was integrated as part of the GT Asia Series where the season finale of the 11-round Championship will be held at the prestigious Macau’s Guia Circuit as part of the increasingly popular Macau GT Cup.

The AAMC Macau GT Cup is a special award nomination for the top three drivers at the end of Round 6. The overall AAMC GT Championship Trophies will be presented in Macau GP weekend by AAMC during the GT Asia Series Annual Award Presentation Ceremony or during the Macau Grand Prix Sunday Party.

Li Zhi Cong extends lead at Fuji

A fourth and a second place finish in the fifth and sixth round of the GT Asia Series at Fuji has kept Asia Racing Team rising star Li Zhi Cong in the lead of the Drivers’ Championship. Hong Kong racer Sacha Chu made a solo comeback in Japan.

Saturday’s Qualifying ended without surprises. The most-ballasted car on the grid, the #9 Yumin Restaurant Porsche 911 GT3 R, qualified P5 for Saturday’s Race 1 and P6 for Sunday’s Race 2. Teammate Sasha Chu meanwhile qualified sixteenth twice.

Li had an interesting outing, managing to climb to third from fifth at the first corner at the start of the Race 1. Then he maintained his position all the way to the pit-stop session, after which he made a mistake and spun the car at turn 7 dropping down to fifth. The Guangzhou native just never gave up and got back the fourth place towards the end.

Chu had a much less eventful race than Li, and enjoyed a reasonably comfortable ride to sixteenth.

Race 2 saw Li having a little touch with Shigeta at the start. With 70kg less weight in the second race, Li quickly moved up to second overall before the compulsory pit stop. Another astonishing performance of Asia Racing Team pit crew would let Li in the first place. The battle for the victory was as exciting as it could possibly get and the previous race leader hit Li’s 911 GT3 R. Fortunately he rejoined in P3 and managed to get second right at the end of the race.

Reflecting on the race weekend, Li Zhi Cong said, “It was my first time at Fuji and I didn’t have much sessions to test the car. I am very happy to go back home leading the drivers’ championship with five trophies in my bag. The Race 2 was good and exciting. I learnt a lot from it, especially how to handle the GT cars in the wet.”

Team Manager Philippe Descombes, added, “Not a bad weekend at all. We arrived in Fuji with the maximum success ballast and 30 kg extra from the new BOP, making the car heavier by 150 kg. It was hard to find the right setup for qualifying and we had to do a few changes to make the car suit Li’s driving style. We were nine points ahead going into this event, and we left Fuji with 13 points in the lead.”

Chu did not finish the Race 2 as he was black flagged for a pit stop window infringement.

Li now leads the Championship, heading into the last three events with a 13-point lead. The next races of the GT Asia Series will be held in four weeks time, from 17th to 19th August 2012, at Suzuka.

 

Photo courtesy of Henry Chan

First Podium Of The Season At Ordos

Team Betterlife’s Wang Jian Wei picked up the first podium finish of season for Asia Racing Team in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia at the Ordos International Circuit.

 

RACE ONE

 

Bittersweet sensations once again for the team in the fifth race of the season. Beijing’s Wang Jian Wei finished in the 9th but was promoted to 8th after the stewards’ penalty to the car number #20 which meant that the reverse grid put him in pole position for Race 2.

In Class B, Huang took over the lead until lap 8 but a gearbox problem changed his fortunes. The Zhuhai native still managed to finish 19th overall and third in Class B.

Further back, the championship rookie Li Chao did a good race, climbing positions up to fourth place of Class B, and getting the PCCA medal of the weekend.  “I tried to keep a constant pace, stay out of trouble and finish the race; we knew that if I managed to do that I would be able to finish in a good position”, he said.

Racing for the first time in this circuit, Christian Chia crossed the line in 22nd. Elder brother Marcel Tjia felt victim to the tricky Ordos circuit. The Dutch driver got hit from behind, forcing him to retire.

 

 

RACE TWO

 

The rain arrived just prior to the start kept the crews guessing. Wang Jian Wei Wang got away well from pole and held the lead from the charging pack. Team Betterlife driver lead the race till middle point when he lost the control of his and spun. He rejoined in fifth but he managed to overtake the two cars in front of him before the checkered flag.

The 2010 Class B Champion was pleased to finish on the podium after an incredibly eventful race where he had looked good for the win:  “I wanted to push to extend my lead, but I braked late.  That would have been OK in the dry, but in the wet conditions, I went off.  I worked my way back though, so I’m happy to take 3rd.”

Huang Chu Han could have win the Class B but the race was too eventful for him, spinning three times in 14 laps. He still walked away unscathed to finish nineteenth. Compatriot Li Chao finished one position behind in 20th. Open Road Racing brothers Christian and Marcel were 24th and 25th.

The tenth Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season continues at the end of the August when it leaves China for the first time this year with Rounds 7 and 8 at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit from August 30 to September 2. 

 

Photo @ Carreracupasia.com

Asia Racing Team enters a second car in Fuji

Last season regular Sasha Chu will be back in the GT Asia Series with Asia Racing Team. The Hong Kong “gentleman driver” will be teaming up with his fellow countryman Keith Chan in the third event of the season at the Fuji International Speedway. They will share driving duties in the #11 Pioneer Absolute Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Chu and Chan are not newcomers in the team. Chu, who finished 7th in the 2011 GT Asia Series, competed for Asia Racing Team last year, and Chan, who raced in the GTM class, was one of the first participants of Asia Racing Team’s Formula Renault One-Day Intensive Course in Zhuhai circuit back in 2008.

The pair tested the car at Sepang in June and was pleased with the results.

Looking ahead to the remaining 2012 races Team Manager Philippe Descombes, commented, "Sasha has been part of our GT squad from the start so it is good to have him back in the team. 2011 was a good learning curve for him and for the Japan races he will line up with one of the most promising drivers in GTM class last year. It will be the first time that Keith races with us but his testing lap times were very competitive, he gave us good feedback and he was well under control the whole time."

After four thrilling races, the GT Asia Series will be back in action at the Fuji International Speedway from July 14-15 as part of a Formula Nippon weekend.

 

Photo by Henry Chan

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.

Li Zhi Cong Storms To Victory at Sepang

Li Zhi Cong took his first win of the season this weekend, in round four of the 2012 GT Asia Series at the Sepang International Circuit. The Chinese racer stole the race lead from Hiseo Shigeta (Porsche) and broke away from the field to remain unchallenged for the remainder of the race, taking the lead of the drivers’ championship standings by eight points.


The race weekend started well for the team. The Asia Racing Team armada put on a strong performance on Friday’s Qualifying for the Sepang Super GT Support Race weekend, the second event of the GT Asia Series, with Li on front row for Race 1 and in 3rd place for Race 2.


Race 1 saw Li line up second on the grid for a race long battle for a podium position. The #9 Yumin Restaurant Porsche 911 GT3 R ran second most of the race, losing the place when the Guangzhou driver got caught up in the traffic in the very last lap. In the end of the race Li was not totally happy with his third place and race performance. “I may have made some mistakes in the pit, at the stop, which made me lose about three to four seconds allowing the guys in the back to catch up”, he said.


The best of the weekend was yet to come in Race 2. Starting from third on the grid Li made a pass on Mok Weng Sun (Ferrari) for second place early on in the race into the first corner. He was the last to pit, and came out in the lead, and held until the chequered flag to take his first win of the season.

Reflecting on his first ever GT racing win, Li said, “The team did a great job this weekend. They played the right strategy and it paid off. In Race 2 I had good tyres and I managed to be quick. I improved a lot this weekend and I am looking forward to the races in Japan.”

Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, “It was a great weekend for Peter (Li Zhi Cong) and for everyone in the team. The cars performed well and we stayed consistent throughout the event. I take my hat off to Peter. He was brilliant in both races. We still have to manage how to take the maximum out of every run in qualifying but this weekend he showed maturity and speed. He was aggressive when he had to, and yet be conservative when needed.”


The GT Asia Series will now take a month break, with the racing action resuming in earnest at Fuji in Japan, for the Super GT support event, which will take place 13-15 July 2012.

 

 

Photo by Cheung Chi Wai

Class B Podium In An Eventful Race Weekend

Asia Racing Team’s drivers Wang Jian Wei, Li Chao, Christian Chia, Marcel Tjia and the newcomer Huang Chu Han endured an eventful weekend in the second event of the 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia at the Zhuhai International Circuit.

Saturday’s Qualifying went well for Asia Racing Team five-car squadron. Fastest in the Class B category for non-professional drivers was team newcomer Huang Chu Han of China. New to Porsche competition and the series, Huang has continued to impress, scoring the fifth best lap time overall. Teammate Wang Jian Wei started two places behind.

 

RACE ONE

Surviving the start was the key to a good result for the Porsche Carrera Cup Round 3, as Wang Jian Wei stayed out of trouble, avoiding the carnage from an eleven-car crash on the first corner of the first lap, to come across the finish line in 4th, his best season result so far. "The team gave me a good car and I feel lucky to avoid the multi-car pile up on the first corner of the first lap", said the 2011 Class B Champion.

Huang Chu Han’s hopes of a good result vanished when he lost the control of his car on braking into Turn 1 and hit the car in front. The accident damaged his car’s radiator forcing his retirement. 

Meanwhile OpenRoad Racing - ART Motorsports’ Christian Chia and Team JR’s Li Chao were not able to pass the chaotic first corner without harm.

Dutch driver Marcel Tjia did not take part of the race due to an engine problem.

 

RACE TWO

Race 2 was a different story for the home team. Huang Chu Han toughed-out a robust race to finish third in Class B, and eleventh overall at the end of Sunday’s 12 grueling laps. A delighted Huang Chu Han said, "It was a very hard race for me as there was a lot of traffic and I had to overtake nine cars. We had a car capable of winning both races here this weekend, so to take a podium today after the disappointment of yesterday is a great result for us."

Li Chao, Christian Chia and Marcel Tjia, all managed to finish the race, scoring precious points for Class B Driver’s standings.

Wang Jian Wei was left out of the race due to a puncture after a collision battling for fourth position.

Asia Racing Team will be in action again in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia from July 6-8 for Rounds 5 & 6 at the Ordos International Circuit.

 

 

Photo @ Cheung Chi Wai

Double Podium Finish For Li Zhi Cong at Sepang

Asia Racing Team’s Li Zhi Cong secured a double podium finish in the opening rounds of the 2012 GT Asia Series in Sepang this weekend. The Chinese rookie driver currently holds second in the Drivers’ standings just one point adrift from the Championship lead.

The 18 year old steered his Porsche 911 GT3 R onto the track with the necessary dose of enthusiasm and speed, putting in a strong effort on his first visit to the challenging F1 circuit with a GT car, qualifying fourth for both weekend races.

The youngest driver of the field made a competitive start to the season on Saturday morning, taking an impressive second place finish. Race One on Saturday saw Li line up in fourth place. Making a flying start, Li was up to P2 by the end of lap one. The Guangzhou native was unlucky to lose one place off the compulsory pit stop however was quickly keen to retake the position, lining himself up tightly to the second place after a deft overtaking maneuver.

Race Two saw Li Zhi Cong losing one position at the start. He quickly regained the place and by the midway point he was up to the second spot and threatening the race-leader. But the arrival of the safety car was mistimed for Li, ultimately costing him one position. He still managed to take third in the race.

Speaking after the two eventful races, Li commented on a challenging weekend, “in Race One I had a good start and was up to second. The team gave me a good car and I managed to keep my position. My Race Two was undermined by the safety car’s arrival on-track but overall I am happy because my driving improved this weekend and the laptimes were consistent. Coming into the weekend I was just a rookie without any GT experience so its fantastic to come away with one point adrift from the Championship lead.”

 Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, “we arrived in Sepang with only two days of testing and Peter (Li Zhi Cong) showed a remarkably quick adaptation to GT driving. His first weekend was great as he notched up a great second place on his first GT race. We had a good chance to win in Race Two as he was easily catching up the race-leader Ferrari. Unfortunately the safety car played a really big part in the Sunday race but third is still a great result for everyone in the team. We need to keep pushing though and try and replicate these good results in two weeks.”

Li Zhi Cong lies second in the Drivers’ standings. The Yumin Restaurant sponsored driver therefore also holds the second position in the recently announced AAMC Macau GT Cup.

The GT Asia Series will remain in Malaysia for Rounds 3 & 4 as part of the Super GT event from 8-10 June.

 

 

Photo by Ying Ching Heng for afos.com 

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.

Li Zhi Cong joins Asia Racing Team for GT Asia Series

Asia Racing Team will mark its return to GT Asia Series with a new driver for the 2012 Season. China’s Li Zhi Cong, who raced for Asia Racing Team in single seater last season, will drive his Porsche 911 GT3 R in the full series.

 

The 18-years old Cong started racing karting at twelve and moved on to Light Weight Sports Car Challenge in 2008, before competing in Asian Formula Renault championship. In 2009 the Guangzhou native did also an one-off incursion on Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship, before representing Asia Racing Team for the first time in 2010. In 2011 he competed in the Formula Pilota China and was third of the Asian category after claiming two overall podiums, but now he has a whole new challenge ahead of him.



Speaking about the upcoming season after shaking the car down at Zhuhai, the Chinese racer sponsored by Yumin Restaurant said, “I’m really pleased to be returning to a team I know and to be working with some of the people I built up such a good relationship since 2010. GT Racing is a whole new world for me and a season of firsts in a whole new way. But I’m sure that if we continue to work hard during the season, we have a very good chance of challenging for the top positions. Our pace in testing has left me confident for the start of the season and I can’t wait for the first race.”


Asia Racing Team is determined to build on last year successes and to continue its tradition of promoting the very best of Chinese driving talents onto the international racing scene. The Macau Zhuhai based team believes that the GT Asia Series is the Asia’s most competitive sportscar platform and provides an excellent showcase for drivers and their sponsors.



“Li Zhi Cong is very well known to the team and I’m delighted to welcome him back for a season. Last season was our first season with the GT3-R. Eddie Yau and Sasha Chu have delivered some excellent performances which have helped the team move forward and develop,” explained Team Manager Philippe Descombes. “Li Zhi Cong proved in the pre-season testing he could adapt quickly to the demands of driving a GT car. As he has worked with the team before, this should allow us to get up to speed right from the start of the season.”


The GT Asia Series will head to five venues over six race weekends completing a total of 11 Rounds, with the Season Opener being scheduled for 25-27 May.

Encouraging results for Asia Racing Team quartet

The opening round of the 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia at the Shanghai International Circuit brought some encouraging results for Asia Racing Team quartet of Wang Jian Wei, Marcel Tjia, Christian Chia and Li Chao.



RACE ONE


A packed grid of 28 cars lined up on the grid for the opening round of the season on Saturday, with the Asia Racing Team quartet pushing hard to finish the 12-lap race higher than they started. Wang was involved in a three-car dogfight for almost half of the race. The last year Class B Champion was the winner but couldn’t finish farther than 12th. The primary goal with any race start is to avoid any crashes or mishaps, and Chia was able to do that but he got stuck behind an opponent, and he couldn’t move up in the pack during the race, finishing 17th.  As the lights went out for the start of the 10th Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season, running as part of the 2012 FORMULA 1 UBS CHINESE GRAND PRIX this weekend, Li Chao did not got away well, being demoted out of Top-20. The Team JR driver had a race-long battle in the back of the field to finish 21st. Tjia did not have a good start in the race too, loosing several places due to a spin, but he quickly managed to move up, securing the 23rd place overall in the very last lap.

 
RACE TWO


A good start for Race 2 put Team Betterlife’s Wang Jian Wei into a good rhythm. The Chinese driver took advantage from the accidents that were happening in front of him to put in a solid 7th place overall. A few places back in the pack, Chia enjoyed a combative opening lap. The Canadian driver had made up 5 places from the start having fight for a podium position in Class B till the last lap, and cross the finish line in 12th. Contrasting with the Race 1 start, Li Chao had a great getaway but two spins ended up his hopes of finishing on Top-6 of Class B. Fortunately, he avoided hitting anything seriously but it was a disappointing end to a promising start of the race. The Chinese debutant finished 21st, two positions ahead of the teammate Tjia. The Dutch driver of Open Road – ART Motorsports was pushed into the gravel in the early stages of the race but managed to come back to finish 23rd overall.

The 28-strong field will next be in action at the Zhuhai International Circuit from June 1-3, when the battle for both the overall and Class B championship titles resumes.

Asia Racing Team is proudly supported by Pakelo Lubricants, Michelin and Galuppo Racewear.

 

Photo @ Carreracupasia.com

Asia Racing Team to partner Team BetterLife in 2012

Asia Racing Team has entered into a collaborative partnership with Team BetterLife where Team BetterLife will field the No.9 and the No.96 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup prepared by Asia Racing Team for all seven rounds in 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.

Founded in November 2003 by a group of successful Macau entrepreneurs, Asia Racing Team have been heavily involved with the preparation and development on all types of racecars from single-seater to GT cars, racing for the first time in 2009 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia with two overall wins.


Team BetterLife is the racing arm of BetterLife Group. The company is perceived as the premium car specialists in the Beijing area and runs Porsche Centre Beijing Yizhuang, Porsche Centre Beijing Haidian and Porsche Centre Tianjin.


Reigning Class B champion Wang Jian Wei makes the move to the professional category this season, and will make his Class A debut. In the car No.9 the first ever Mainland Chinese Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion will line up alongside Beijing’s Li Chao, who is making his sportscar first appearance. The No. 96 car will be entered in Class B and will give Team BetterLife a chance to be well represented in both classes.


Philippe Descombes, Team Manager of Asia Racing Team: “To be chosen by BetterLife Group is a huge reward for the work we’ve done in recent years, and also a huge responsibility. We look forward to working together and developing a top-tier team over the coming years.”


Zuo Lin, General Manager of Porsche BetterLife Group: “Asia Racing Team’s competence and track record are well known in China, which is why we were very keen to develop a relationship with them. Partnering with Asia Racing Team provides our drivers with the foundation they need to succeed, and we are thrilled to have this new partnership to further enhance our winning racing heritage.”

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




A weekend of emotions in Macau

2011 GT Asia Series came to a conclusion on 58th Macau Grand Prix. It was a shocking weekend for Asia Racing Team despite the good results of Macau’s Keith Vong and Hong Kong’s Sasha Chu.

Focus on the Championship, Eddie Yau qualified fourth of the GT Asia Series participants and eleventh overall. Teammate Sasha Chu started from 26th place. Local driver Keith Vong qualified as the second best of GTM class entries and took the thirteenth spot on Sunday’s grid.

On Sunday morning the start of the race went exactly according to plan. Yau made a good clean start and got into the top 3 of the GT Asia Series drivers, followed closely by Vong. Meanwhile Chu was picking up some spots. But everything changed on lap three.

Caught out by oil on the track from Akihiro Tsuzuki’s Audi, Yau hit the Armco coming in to the same turn, bouncing across the track and into the barrier opposite before coming to a stop in the middle of the track. The next few cars managed to get through without contact, but John Shen’s Ferrari came into the turn too fast hitting the outside barrier and bouncing into the stationery ABSOLUTE PIONEER Porsche 911 GT3 R.

It was a massive impact, but fortunately the strength of the Porsche prevented Yau from sustaining any injuries.

Vong managed to pass intact through the Mandarin corner chaos, even if he was slightly hit from behind by an opponent. Vong’s crew repaired the damage during the red flag period and he had done a great job, fending off the quicker GT3-spec machinery until the chequered flag. “Finally I had luck this season. I am proud of doing well in front of my hometown and I’m very happy with 2min36s lap time I did”, said the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia regular.

Chu also avoided the accident and kept his steady pace over the remaining seven laps, crossing the finish line 16th overall, collecting points of a third place in GT Asia Series, his best score of the season.

From the start of the year, Eddie Yau has been in the top five of the points table collecting seven podium finishes and before the race he was only 2 points shy of the second position driver. In the end, Yau was third and his teammate Chu seventh in the GT Asia Series as Asia Racing Team finished second in Teams’ Championship.

Said Asia Racing Team’s Team Manager Philippe Descombes: “We’ve come away with far more than we expected, and sitting 3rd in the Championship standings is a reward for the hard work, determination and commitment the team and the drivers have put into this season. It was not the end of season we wanted but today, the most important thing is Eddie is fine and got away with no injuries.”




Photo @ Cheung Chi Wai

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." 

Eventful end of season

It was an eventful weekend for Asia Racing Team drivers Keith Vong, Marcel Tjia and Dr Ma Chi Min on the last event of 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia at the Shanghai International Circuit.

In Saturday’s Race 1, the German-series debutant Vong had a solid start and did a good job of keeping behind him a fierce peloton, placing 7th in the Class B and 13th overall. Further back, Dr Ma Chi Min had a spin early on in the race, but he recovered from that very well, finishing 17th, three places ahead of teammate Tjia.

Starting from 20th on the grid in Sunday’s Race 2, the elder brother of the Tjia motorsport clan took five positions in 13-laps to cross the line in 15th. Worse luck was had by Vong and Dr Ma. The Hong Kong driver got into a collision with another car and was hit on the side by his Macau teammate who was trying to avoid the accident. Both cars were too damaged to continue.

Speaking about the 2011 season, Team Manager Philippe Descombes said, “After our 2009 successful experience this is year was a totally different challenge. It was a long season with a lot of ups and downs. A big well done is due to the team for achieving an outstanding reliability this season and to the drivers for their determination and improvement over the season.”

Race Engineer Duarte Alves added, “Although two of our drivers were racing in PCCA for the first time and one had to replace his car chassis after one race, a lot of positives came out of this season. Keith had a quick acclimatization to Asia racing even if he has been involved in too many race accidents that prevent him to do better overall. Marcel was especially good in Singapore and Dr Ma did a very solid first season in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia after years away from racing.”

Asia Racing Team is already working towards next Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season, hoping to start testing before the year’s end.

ART’s strong pace goes unrewarded at Autopolis

Eddie Yau and Asia Racing Team experienced an unjust race weekend at Autopolis as the Hong Kong driver and championship title contender was taken out when was leading the Race 1. Teammate Sasha Chu did in Autopolis his two best overall results of the season so far.

Even with 100 kg of “Success Weight Ballast“ handicap Yau showed his intent early, qualifying in the 4th position on Saturday for both races. Meanwhile Chu placed his Porsche 911 GT3 R twice on the fifth row.

Race 1 saw the #72 ABSOLUTE PIONEER climbing one position before the pit stops. Yau’s well-timed pit stop allowed him to leave the pit lane ahead of race leader. With two laps to go, and seeing victory on the horizon, Yau was punted off in the hairpin. His opponent got a “stop & go” for “avoidable accident” but Yau’s destiny was to retire in the pits, ruining his chances of becoming champion.

He said of the incident and the race, “throughout the race I had a really good pace. I passed Tunku and unfortunately for Mok he had a drive through and I passed him too. Dilantha was giving me a lot of pressure, he followed me for a few laps and I was watching him very carefully. I didn’t think he had any way to pass me. I don’t feel it was fair for him to do that, the last two or three laps. You know, if you can’t find a way to pass somebody, you can’t pass him. Not by hitting him out, so…”

Chu had a less eventful race but the #11 PIONEER ABSOLUTE’s 911 GT3 R had an interesting duel with a Lamborghini. Chu was strongest in the last laps and crossed the finish line in 8th overall.

Despite the huge set back Yau did not give up on his Race 2 and managed to leave Autopolis with a podium finish. The Asia Racing Team driver quickly grabbed the 3rd position and then maintained his pace despite the charges from an opponent.

“The tyres didn’t last very long, by the first few laps it was gone. I was following David for a while, and had a good time behind him but I couldn’t find a way past. Then after I got my rhythm back it was too late already” said Yau.

Chu held his 9th position at the start and he kept fighting in the middle of the pack throughout the 40-min race. In the end of an admirable race exceeding several rivals, Chu emerged 8th overall, securing important points for the championship.

Reflecting about the race weekend, Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, “It was very unfair for Eddie to be taken from the race that way. Although Eddie’s gap to the leaders in the standings is large we’ll continue to give everything as long as Eddie still got mathematical chances of becoming champion. Once again we saw Sasha improving his pace and we are glad to see that he is going to take the challenge of racing in the Macau Grand Prix.”

Heading into the last race of the season, Yau is now 3rd in Drivers’ championship Standings and Chu lies on 9th. Asia Racing Team is currently second in the Teams’ Standings.

The GT Asia Series continues in Macau on 17-20 November 2011 for the Season Finale during the 58th Macau Grand Prix.

 

 

Photo by Benny Luey for afos.com

Best results for Keith Vong and Marcel Tjia in Singapore

The glamorous Singapore Grand Prix had silver lining for Asia Racing Team drivers Keith Vong and Marcel Tjia as who recorded their best performance in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia - Class B this season.

Qualifying on Saturday was expectantly tough. Again, this field of Gentleman Drivers, where Asia Racing Team trio compete, is very competitive and the difference in the field is measured in tenths of a second. Vong qualified 18th, Tjia in 19th, and Dr Ma Chin Min lined up in 22nd.

In Race 1 Vong was the quickest among the ART drivers. The Marina Bay’s debutant had driven a flawless race to finish 14th overall and 7th in Class B, his best result so far this season. Teammate Marcel Tjia crossed the finish line in 18th. On the other hand Dr Ma did not finish as he decided to stop in the pits due to a gearbox sensor failure.

Tjia topped the three Asia Racing Team drivers Sunday with a sensational drive from 18th to 14th. The Dutch driver and Singapore resident was 14th in Race 2, finishing 8th in Class B. Dr Ma ran consistently in the middle pack, ending up 18th. Vong was the victim of an over-optimistic passing manoeuvre on lap 2 and had an incursion in the pits to check the water temperature alarm to finally cross the finish line in 24th, one lap behind the race winner.

Team Manager Philippe Descombes said, “The team did a great job over the weekend. We are working hard and one can see improvements compared to the early races. Marcel was no longer at the back, and Keith had an excellent Race 1, considering he was racing for the first time here. I am sure we will take a big lift from this weekend and look forward to the final race of the season.“

The last race of 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia takes place at the Shanghai International Circuit on October 22 and 23.

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.

 

 

Mission accomplished at Sepang

Asia Racing Team headed to Malaysia for the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Round 7 and 8 at the Sepang International Circuit.

Keith Vong was the best among the Asia Racing Team drivers, even if he started the weekend in the wrong way, compromising the Race 1 with a spin, finishing 21st. The Macau driver was much better in the second race, crossing the line in 13th - 7th in Class B - his best season result so far.

Racing for the first time in PCCA at Sepang, Dr Ma Chi Min made a good progress throughout the weekend in understanding how to take the maximum out of the 997 GT3 Cup. The Daytona 24 hour former participant saw the checkered flag in 19th in Race 1 and 15th in Race 2.

Meanwhile teammate Marcel Tjia overcame an accident in Free Practice One to finish 17th and 18th in Race 1 and 2 respectively.

Asia Racing Team will be in action again in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia next month at Singapore on the Marina Bay street circuit as part of the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix weekend.

Eddie Yau takes the lead at Suzuka

Asia Racing Team’s Eddie Yau kept his GT Asia Series title challenge on track at Suzuka with two solid second-place finishes. He is now leading the championship by three points. Teammate Sasha Chu endured a tough debut weekend in the famous Japanese circuit.

In Qualifying 1 Yau was the fourth with the fastest lap in the 15-minute session at 2:08.421 and the sister No. 11 Porsche was fifteenth quickest. In Qualifying 2, Yau improved his lap-time and set a 2:08.115, lining up third for the Race 2. Teammate Chu also improved, qualifying thirteenth.  

In Race 1 Yau had a brilliant start, pushing past the Lamborghini LP560 of Dilantha Malagamuwa at the start. The Hong Kong native was immediately alongside the Ferrari F458 of Mok Weng Sun into turn 1 and almost took second place before giving a clean path for Mok to keep his position into turn 2. The Ferrari was penalized later on with a one-second stop-go penalty, allowing Yau the second spot on the podium. Yau moved back to the top of the championship table.

“Mok was very consistent and didn’t make a single mistake in the first eight laps and he was pulling away slowly every lap. Dilantha was behind me about half to one second away so I was just going my pace. Then on the second last lap it got pretty bad and I was practically on third gear all the way back to the chequered flag”, said Yau.

The white and green PIONEER ABSOLUTE 911 GT3 R of Chu had a short Race 1, having been forced to retire after 11 laps.

In Race 2 Yau had another impressive getaway, overtaking the car in front of him in the first corner. He did not keep that position for too long, his opponent found a way past him on the same lap. But at the next lap the adversary was caught into a spin while avoiding a backmarker, losing his position again to the white and blue ABSOLUTE PIONEER 911 GT3 R.  Without the speed to run after the victory, Yau focused to finish second and score important points for the championship standings.
 
Reflecting on his second weekend podium, Yau said, “I had a really good start and I was right next to the leader on the inside line and I really didn’t know where to go so I just backed off. Then I had a better line into T2 and passed Mok. I calmed down a little bit and focused on not making any mistakes. I am happy about leading the Championship and I hope to lead it all the way to the end.”

Still very inexperienced under wet conditions, Chu conducted a very cautious 40-minute race, and brought home a 17th place overall.

Team Manager, Philippe Descombes, added, “We had another great weekend in Japan with Eddie. Sasha struggled to take the maximum out of the car in a new track for him, but this is a learning season for him. Eddie did a fantastic job during the weekend with two flawless races. We are seeing some great racing from the three championship leaders who were racing in very close proximity. We expect an exciting end of the season.”

Yau now leads the Championship, heading into the last three rounds with a three point lead. Asia Racing Team is currently second in the Teams’ Standings.

 

The GT Asia Series will head to the Autopolis International Circuit for the penultimate weekend in the 2011 Season this 30th September to 2nd October.

 

Photo @ AFOS (www.afos.com)

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.

Yau captures first-ever GT victory for Asia Racing Team

Eddie Yau captures first-ever GT victory for Asia Racing Team

Eddie Yau took Asia Racing Team first ever GT Asia Series win in a memorable race one at the Fuji Speedway, whilst team-mate Sasha Chu scored valuable points this weekend.

Already in the qualifying Eddie Yau showed his speed and the Porsche 997 GT3 R was the second fastest car out on the track in the early part of the session, but he was penalized for crossing the pit-entry line and had his best time removed, relegating him down to fifth. For the second race Yau lined up in fourth place. Teammate Chu meanwhile qualified twelfth and thirteenth.

Race 1 saw Yau crossing the finish line in first place with a total of 22 laps completed in the 40-minute race. The Hong Kong native beat the firm favourite Ferrari F458 and the Lamborghini LP560 to the podium. After a good start, Yau quickly made his way to second place, and a precise pit stop allowed him to inherit the first position which he hadn’t lost.

Chu had an exciting battle with Christian Chia with the duo changing positions several times throughout the first half of the race. The white and green PIONEER ABSOLUTE 911 GT3 R finished tenth, scoring four precious points.

Speaking about his first win, Yau said, “From the very first practice all the way through I was doing a really good pace. I had a really good start off the grid and I really like Fuji. I was about one and a half to two seconds behind the two front drivers, waiting for my chance, which came sooner than I thought. I was getting quicker and quicker and caught up a bit and when everybody went into the pits, I managed a flying lap. I had a good pit stop and came out ahead of them, a 3 seconds lead and I just kept on driving.”

From lights on an "exhausting" race started for Yau, as he had to defend his position against several opponents until the finish line.  Starting from fourth, Yau rapidly moved to third but a slow pit stop, cost him position on the podium. When the white and blue ABSOLUTE PIONEER 911 GT3 R was in final countdown to leave the pits, an opponent parked his car in front of Yau, giving no room for ART prepared car get back to the track without the assistance of the team mechanics, costing vital seconds in the pits. Even a 70kg handicap could not prevent Yau rallying to finish fourth under the extreme pressure of the Audi Japan supported R8 and just a second way from a deserved podium place.

Racing this weekend for the very first time at the Mount Fuji track, Chu ran clean and well in early laps of Race 2, holding eleventh. He saw window of opportunity to make into Top-10 and did it again, finishing ninth.

Team Manager Philippe Descombes was delighted with Yau’s victory and team’s performance, “It was a great weekend for us. Thats quite a feat, considering 2011 marks the first year Asia Racing Team has been involved in GT racing. After starting the year with three podium results, we arrived at Fuji with high expectations and our sights set on earning teams first-ever victory. Eddie was spectacular this weekend and just a very unfortunate pit stop in Race 2 slow him down. Sasha had two scoring finishes and keeps improving his pace every race. We go to Suzuka looking forward to repeat the Race 1 performance.”

Asia Racing Team is currently second in the Drivers and Teams’ Standings, with Eddie Yau now just one point adrift from first. The next races of the GT Asia Series will be held in four weeks time, from 19th to 21st August 2011, at Suzuka.

 

 

Photo @ www.AFOS.com

Learning race for Asia Racing Team drivers at Ordos

Asia Racing Team ended a debutant weekend in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia at Ordos, with a 14th place as best result.

The 18-turn, 3.751km FIA Grade 2 race track was new to Keith Vong, Marcel Tjia and Dr Ma Chi Min. After a promising free practice, Vong couldn’t match the pace in qualifying, registering the 13th quickest time. Tjia meanwhile was 21st with Dr Ma in 22nd place.

Race 1 saw Vong having a slow getaway and being swamped by the field. He managed to get back some positions to finish 15th, 10th in Class B, for non-professional racers. Still learning the track and getting his reference points, after a couple laps Dr Ma settled into a rhythm to finish on a clean 19th. Holland’s Tjia finished one lap down in 22nd place.

For Sunday’s Race two, with the results of Round 5 determining the grid order for Round 6, Vong was well set for a stunning race until he got hit from behind by an opponent. The Macanese driver would survive to this accident but two laps later he ended up in the gravel. Dr Ma Chi Min drove what was probably his best race of the season this afternoon, showing great determination to fight his way through the field. The Hong Kong native finished 14th, his best result so far in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. Tjia meanwhile had a smart and conservative approach to the race that paid off securing the 15th place.

Speaking about the team’s performance in Ordos, Team Manager Philippe Descombes said, "Overall our drivers did a very professional job on a new track. Of course we need to close the gap to the other top drivers in Class B but consistency in the championship is important too. Dr Ma and Marcel are progressing every race and a bit more of luck will be welcome by Keith. Hopefully at the next race in Sepang we will have a better weekend.”

Race Engineer Duarte Alves, added, “We are heading in the right direction. We shall look at our overall performance and data from this weekend and see where we need to produce a little extra for the closing rounds of the season. Still, this Ordos weekend was a really good experience.”

Asia Racing Team will be in action again from August 26-28 for Rounds 7&8 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia at the Sepang International Circuit.

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.

Asia Racing Team scores double podium in Sepang

Asia Racing Team drivers did an outstanding job in both races of the second round of 2011 GT Asia Series on the Malaysian circuit of Sepang. Hong Kong’s Eddie Yau finished third in both races, climbing one position in the championship standings, and his teammate Sasha Chu scored the first points this season.

Straight from the beginning, Yau showed that he was in Malaysia to be on the top. Having finished in the podium once in the inaugural round last month, Yau was P5 and P6 in qualifying. But the best was yet to come - he started in fifth and came home in third in Race 1, thanks to an astonishing consistency and another master pit-stop of the team.

In the Race 2, despite the blistering heat, Eddie Yau finished third to claim his second podium in the Porsche 911 GT3 R for Asia Racing Team. Yau started the race in sixth, kept a clean race and maintained a steady race pace leaving the battle between his opponents ahead of him to pay off. Speaking after the Race 2, Eddie Yau said: “The race was really good, it was really very hot. I was following Siu Yuk Lung for about 10 laps and defending from Samson Chan for the entire forty minutes so it was very tiring for me. Throughout the race there was a lot of overtaking and trying to pass one another, it was fun. Two podiums, I’m happy this weekend and I’m very excited for Japan. I’ve always liked Japan and I’m really looking forward to it”.

Teammate Sasha Chu had a great weekend too, showing a noticeably improvement. The inexperienced Hong Kong native driver shaved eight seconds to his best lap time around the Malaysian F1 track, and his pace is now just 5 seconds away from the top drivers of the category. After a good getaway, and following the team orders, the #11 Absolute – Pioneer Porsche
911 GT3 R took a conservative and smart approach, crossing the finish line in ninth, scoring points for the first time this season.

In Race 2 Chu did another clean start, escaping superbly without a scratch to the first corner confusion. A clear run and a successful pit stop strategy paid off with a tenth place in the end.

The team’s strong and consistent results, pitching their talent and experienced against the biggest field in the series’ history, has put them within few points of the top of the team championship leaderboard in second place with seven races still to go. Eddie Yau also secured the second position in drivers’ classification.

The next round of the GT Asia Series takes place at Fuji in Japan in two weeks.

 

Photo @ Henry Chan

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.

Rough weekend for Asia Racing Team in Zhuhai

Asia Racing Team’s drivers Keith Vong, Marcel Tjia and Dr Ma Chi Min endured a tough weekend in the second round of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia at the Zhuhai International Circuit.

After an encouraging showing in Friday morning testing, Keith Vong hit gearbox problems in qualifying, putting him 20th on grid for the first race. The technical problems were solved on time for the Race 1 but the Macau driver was caught up in the first corner crash, crossing the line in 18th. In Race 2 Vong made a brilliant start gaining several positions until a risky move by a competitor in front caused contact in the first corner, sadly forcing him to make an early pit stop to repair his car that cost Vong two laps. 

Starting from the 22nd position, Dr Ma Chi Min’s first race came to a disappointing end when he ended up in the gravel trap after missing the braking point with three laps to go. Things were a little brighter for Dr Ma in the second race as the Hong Kong veteran engaged in fierce battle throughout the race, being able to come away with a 18th place, conquering the PCCA Race Award Medal.

Qualifying 23rd, Team-mate Marcel Tjia was able to overcome a turbulent weekend in Shanghai, restoring his confident with two solid finishes in Zhuhai. The Dutch driver entered by OpenRoad Racing finished both races in 19th, scoring points for the first time in Class B.

Reflecting on the team’s home race, Race Engineer Duarte Alves said, “It was not the luckiest weekend in Zhuhai, but as everyone knows, luck turns around. We can’t fall into the trap of losing confidence because we have all the human and technical strengths we need to raise the bar in the Class B. Often silly mistakes are made and incidents cannot be avoided and this is unfortunately what happened to Keith twice this weekend. Dr Ma was pretty unlucky in Race 1 but he did well in the second race. The whole team is happy with Marcel. He had a nightmare weekend in Shanghai and hopefully this will be the beginning of something good for us.”

Asia Racing Team will be in action again in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia from July 8-10 for Rounds 5 & 6 at the Ordos International Circuit.


Asia Racing Team and Eddie Yau on top

Asia Racing Team had a spectacular first appearance in  GT Asia Series, and after the two first races of the season in Sepang, the Macanese outfit is leading the team standings by two points.

Eddie Yau put on a great show, climbing on the podium in third in his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup R in round 1 and finishing a creditable fourth in round 2. The Hong Kong driver currently lies third on the Championship Points standing.

Racing the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup R for the second time, Sasha Chu was getting the feeling of the car for the whole weekend. The Hong Kong native was twelfth in the Race 1 and finished seventeenth in the second race.

The round two result currently remains, pending an appeal by a driver and his team. Rounds 3&4 of the GT Asia Series will be held from June 18-19.

PCCA: Good season start at Shanghai

The opening round of the 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (PCCA) on the Shanghai International Circuit last weekend had mixed feelings for Asia Racing Team. If PCCA rookies Keith Vong and Dr Ma Chin Min showed a great pace and performance in Class B, Marcel Tjia was forced to retire after an accident on Race 1.

In the first race, run over 12 laps, Vong and Dr Ma made very cautious starts and lost a couple of positions. They both were able to pull away from the cars behind and keep to the strategy to fight with the rivals ahead. The Macau driver based in Australia finished 14th overall (Class B 8th) and his Hong Kong teammate in 17th (Class B 11th). Tjia had an unfortunate short race. The Dutch driver ended up his first race of the season hitting the wall in the end of turn 1. Even if the car wasn’t‚ severely damaged, the chassis couldn’t‚ be repaired for the Race 2.

Race 2 saw Vong climbing several places in the first laps. When he was a fantastic 7th overall, a front left puncture sent his car to the pits. Vong saw the chequered flag in 17th (Class B 14th). Battles continued throughout the field for the entire 12 laps, with the Class B drivers providing the crowds with some superb action. In the closing stages of the race, all eyes were on Dr. Ma and an opponent, the two Hong Kong racers locked in battle, with Dr Ma eventually edging past his rival on the penultimate lap to finish 11th (Class B 8th).

Reflecting on the first weekend of the season, Team Manager Philippe Descombes, said, "We had a very encouraging race weekend from the point of view of our overall pace and performance in Class B. Keith and Vong did a fantastic job and now we need to enjoy this moment, build on this feeling and keep moving forwards. We are deeply sorry about what happened to Marcel. We managed to solve the brake problem that affected Marcel from the Free Practice right after the Qualifying but it was impossible to repair the chassis here in the circuit".

Race Engineer Duarte Alves, added, "We were competitive all the weekend in Class B. Dr Ma and Keith came very close to the top-10 in the second race, and Keith just missed out at the end when the he had a puncture. Marcel hadn‚Äôt the lady luck on his side and this weekend results is meaningless. We’ll look at what we’ve learned today and aim to continue improving when we next race back in Zhuhai."

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be back in action at the Pearl River Delta‚ Zhuhai International Circuit next month.

GT Asia: Asia Racing Team‚ Eddie Yau and Sasha Chu to race Porsche in 2011 GT Asia

Asia Racing Team will be running two Porsche 997 GT3 Cup R in the GT3 class of the GT Asia Series in 2011 for the Hong Kong racers Eddie Yau and Sasha Chu.

Eddie Yau, a GT3 Asia Challenge race winner and a regular among the front-runners, will be partnering with another familiar face from the series, Sasha Chu. They will drive the last GT3 spec car manufactured by Porsche and prepared by the Macanese team based in Zhuhai.

The 911 GT3 R born to be raced in series based on international FIA GT3 regulations. It features a four-litre six-cylinder boxer engine delivering 480 hp, and a six-speed sequential gearbox transmits the power to the rear axle.

Speaking ahead of the new season, Yau, said: “From my previous outings in GT3 Asia, I know we face fierce competition. Sasha and I believe in this partnership with Asia Racing Team. I’m doing my best in order to arrive at the first race with a good understanding with the team and the car so that we all feel comfortable together.”

His teammate Chu, added ‚ÄúI’ve really enjoyed the tests I’ve completed so far and already feel part of the team. I know I have a lot to improve on and I take the team advices as a motivation to continue to train hard.‚Äù

With a vast reputation in single seater championships in the region, the GT Asia Series campaign will be another string to the Asia Racing Team’s bow.

Team Manager, Philippe Descombes, stated: “We have looking to enter in the championship for some time now. The Porsche is a winner car in Europe and we have the right drivers. Eddie and Sasha together not only create a great atmosphere in the team, but also can perform. Eddie is well known in the house from his past participations in our training courses, and he made a strong first impression in the Pan Delta event. Sasha is improving every time he jumps in the car which is a good sign for the season ahead.”

The 2011 GT Asia Series series will be held over six meetings at Asia’s leading circuits. The highly competitive series sees the Asia Racing Team Porsche up against cars from famous marques such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Ford in the competition for GT3 class honours and the overall title.

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