Asia Racing Team stepped into a new era last weekend at the Shanghai International Circuit. The Zhuhai-based team, in partnership with BlackJack Racing, entered two Formula Regional and one Formula 4 car in the opening round of the Open Formula Challenge, and also ran Gaga Racing Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo in the GT Super Sprint Challenge (GTSSC) season-opener.
Ryan Liu qualified fourth during the Saturday morning qualifying session after an impressive performance in the free practice sessions where he was the fastest. The experienced Chinese driver remained competitive with his rivals in the first part of the race but was unable to improve his position, ultimately finishing in fourth place. Ryan Liu bounced back on Sunday, qualifying his car on the front row for the race. This time, he didn’t let the opportunity slip and secured a second-place finish, earning his first overall podium in the Open Formula Challenge.
Experienced GT driver Angelo Negro took the wheel of the Asia Racing Team’s second Tatuus F3 T-318 entry. The Italian veteran had a short opening race, retiring due to a spin in the opening lap. Negro faced more bad luck on Sunday as his car’s turbo broke after only three laps.
Commenting on the team’s performance, Team Manager Rodolfo Ávila said, “Ryan did a good job today (Sunday) to bounce back from yesterday’s unfortunate qualifying session and race. He missed pole position by a few tenths due to being blocked on track by a slower car during his fast lap. In the race, he managed his position well and brought the car home in second place. Considering he hasn’t driven for more than two years, we are happy with the result. Angelo had an unlucky weekend and suffered a turbo blowout in the second race, which unfortunately caused him to retire.”
With the purpose of collecting data and conducting thorough analysis for future events, Rodolfo Avila, the 2003 Asian Formula Renault Champion and Team Manager of Asia Racing Team, drove the Tatuus F4-T421, the first-ever F4 car equipped with a halo to participate in a race in China.
“It was a great chance to be able to drive the new F4 car, especially to understand its behavior and work on car setup. Since we will be racing and coaching with this car in the future, it’s important to understand it well,” explained Avila.
On the GTSSC front, Zhen Mingwei finished third in the GTC class in the opening race of the GT Super Sprint Challenge on Saturday, achieving his goal of standing on the podium with the Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo entered by Gaga Racing.
On Sunday, Andy Wang took the wheel of the Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo, now entered by BlackJack Racing. After qualifying second in the morning session, Andy Wang completed a flawless race, crossing the finish line in second place in the GTC class.
Team Principal Jack Pang said, “It’s a pleasure to work with our gentlemen drivers KK and Andy as they compete in the GTC class with the Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo. I’m happy to see consistent improvement from the drivers, and congratulations to both drivers for their podium finishes. The team did a great job setting up the cars throughout this week’s preseason tests and races. The BlackJack and Asia Racing Team squads worked seamlessly together.”
Both the GT Super Sprint Challenge and Open Formula Challenge will continue on May 13/14 at the Shanghai International Circuit.