Published on May 18th, 2016 | by Subhash Nair0
Audi GT3 Series Begins Exciting New Era at Shanghai Season Opener
The Audi R8 LMS Cup’s 2016 season kicks off this weekend with a double-header at the Shanghai International Circuit, where the all-new Audi R8 LMS will make its championship debut. May 21 and 22 will see the fifth season roar to life with the strongest ever international line-up for the first one-make series from the brand with Four Rings. Fittingly for a series that will blast across Asia, the Audi R8 LMS Cup has again attracted the region’s leading motorsport talent.
Back to defend his hard-won 2015 title is Malaysia’s Alex Yoong of Audi TEDA Racing Team. The former F1 driver will be looking to complete an unprecedented hat trick of Audi R8 LMS Cup titles in 2016.
Having missed out on last year’s championship by just a single-point, leading Chinese driver Cheng Congfu of FAW-VW Audi Racing Team will be looking to clinch the title this time around. Two formidable opponents amongst the strongest entry in Cup history are India’s Aditya Patel of the Audi R8 LMS Cup Team and 2012 Cup champion Marchy Lee, who will drive for his native Audi Hong Kong Team.
With the return of Audi Korea’s K.O You, the Audi R8 LMS Cup underlines its reputation for providing an ideal platform for the leading drivers from their respective Asian regions.
Swiss GT specialist Rahel Frey of Castrol Team Racing also returns to the Cup for a third full season, boosting the depth of talent in the line-up even further.
Two exciting young European drivers, each reigning champions, join the Cup this season, strengthening its international credentials: Jan Kisiel, reigning Audi Sport TT Cup champion, and Martin Rump, winner of the 2015 Formula Masters China Series.
Strong orders for the new Audi R8 LMS car will see it make up 15 of the 20 entries for the Cup’s 2016 season. The five competitors driving last year’s Cup car will be eligible to compete for the new Masters Cup title.
In addition to a superb driver line-up, the Cup also welcomes Phoenix Racing and KCMG, which join Absolute Racing as Audi R8 LMS Cup service teams from this season.
After the Shanghai season-opener, the series will race across Asia in a six-stop, 12-round season, which features the Cup debut in Thailand. The action returns to mainland China for the season finale, where the Audi R8 LMS Cup will join other members of the Audi motorsport family in support of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
All 12 races will be live streamed on the Audi R8 LMS Cup website and on leading Chinese video portals LeSports and PPTV. Highlights shows will also be screened around Asia on Fox Sports Asia and Star Sports Asia; in Australia on Fox Sports Australia; in China on Guangzhou Broadcasting Network, Tianjin TV and Sichuan TV; in the USA on Bon TV and Tuff TV; and in Europe on Motors TV.
The Audi R8 LMS Cup is operated by Audi China and is part of the Audi Sport customer racing Asia programme. The championship is run in cooperation with FAW-Volkswagen Audi, Audi Hong Kong, Audi Korea, Audi Taiwan and Audi Malaysia.
The series is supported by Castrol Edge, Michelin, MasterCard, CTVS and auto motor und sport.