Published on May 14th, 2016 | by Subhash Nair0
It’s game-on in South Korea for the GT Asia Series
After a two-day layoff following the official pre-season test earlier in the week, the 2016 GT Asia Series officially fired up with three one-hour practice sessions at Korea International Circuit, with all the teams laying their cards on the table as they worked to develop a benchmark from which to attack for the opening round.
Ultimately what we saw was that many of the teams spent their time developing their cars. Some – like the all new Type 991 Porsche GT3-R of Philip Ma and Tim Sugden – turned their first ever laps at a race circuit, whilst others – like the three-car Absolute Team Bentley operation – took their experiences from 2015 and applied them to great effect.
Perhaps the biggest surprise though was the pace of reigning champions Craft-Bamboo Racing. Campaigning two all-new Porsche GT3-Rs, the multiple GT Asia Series race winners ended the day with the fastest time, Richard Lyon’s 2:07.097 in the closing stages of session three, just half a second shy of Andrea Caldarelli’s 2014 lap record of 2:06.484. Frustrating too for their rivals, were their thoughts that they still had a lot to learn from the new cars, and that there was more pace to come..
Another surprise too was the performance of FFF Racing Team by ACM Lamborghini Squadra Corse drivers Andrea Amici and Edo Liberati. The gorgeous black Roger Dubuis-liveried Huracan GT3 stunned the established teams with their pace, topping both practice sessions one and two, finishing the day with a best of 2:07.163, the two young Italians never far from the front.
Whilst Bentley at one stage were running 1-2-3 on the timesheets – locked in battle with the FFF Racing Lamborghini – they were forced to retire the #9 car of Andrew Palmer and Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak early in practice three with a technical issue, team boss Ingo Matter explaining later that to be cautious they decided to bring the car in and do a complete systems check.
Ultimately though they were forced to replace the engine, with Bentley technicians sending out a new powerplant from the UK overnight.
Despite some minor offs and a fuel shortage on their final run for the Dilango Racing Lamborghini – which saw team-boss Dilantha Malagamuwa towed back into pit lane after the final session – it was a positive and successful day for all concerned, not the least of all for Motorsport Asia Limited – the promoter and organiser of the GT Asia Series, who unveiled the colours of new partner Singha ahead of the final session.
The event proper will get underway on Saturday morning with the two official qualifying sessions, the first 15-minute session for the ‘Pro’ drivers – or ‘A’ designated driver in the team – at 9:50am [KST], the second session just 10-minutes after the completion of the first, with the opening 60-minute race scheduled for 3:30pm.
You can catch all the racing action LIVE on the GT Asia Series website – www.gtasiaseries.com with both LIVE TIMING and the LIVE STREAM. Links are available to both on the main page.
Keep up to date all weekend too with www.facebook.com/GTAsiaSeries which will post news, video clips, images and updates, and you can also get involved in the conversation on www.twitter.com/GTAsiaSeries
The GT Asia Series is sanctioned by the FIA as an International Series and is clearly recognised as the Region’s leading GT Championship. It is solely managed and promoted by Motorsport Asia Ltd and is backed by Singha, Michelin, KW Automotive, Motul, Race Room, Panta, YOFC and Tunewear.