Published on April 4th, 2017 | by Amirul Mukminin0
Phoenix Racing Asia Looking for Blancpain GT Series Asia Success
Phoenix Racing Asia embarks on their second season competing at the highest level in GT3 competition in Asia, revealing that they will run a two-car operation in the maiden season of the Blancpain GT Series Asia with a strong team that reflects the lineup that took them to three GT Asia Series victories in their debut year.
Co-Team Principal Marchy Lee will be joined once more by fellow Audi Hong Kong driver Shaun Thong, whilst three-time Audi R8 LMS Cup series champion – Malaysian – Alex Yoong will be joined once more by former Audi Cup Amateur champion Alex Au.
In season 2016 of GT Asia, Hong Kong’s Marchy Lee and Shaun Thong claimed two round wins and second outright in the championship on the team’s debut – in the process handing Thong the Am-Cup title – whilst Yoong and Au claimed their maiden victory in the final event of the season in Shanghai.
For Marchy Lee – who shares ownership of the team with Germany’s Ernst Moser, a man who has taken his teams to titles in the Nurburgring and Spa 24 Hour events, has won the coveted DTM title and the Bathurst 12 Hour – the maiden season of Blancpain GT Series Asia presents the team with a real opportunity to shine on the international stage.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with our first season as a team, having taken three wins in GT Asia, the Am-Cup title, a victory in the Asian Le Mans Series, and of course helping Alex [Yoong] to his third title in the Audi LMS Cup – it also gave us a great chance to prepare for 2017.
“This year though will represent a different kind of challenge, although we will come into the six event season with a lot of prior knowledge on many of the circuits and should be able to start each event with a strong package thanks in part to our 2016 experiences.
“Audi has shown since the debut of the new LMS GT3 that it is one of the most competitive cars in GT3 racing all over the world, so we’re looking forward to keeping the momentum we showed last year, to battle at the front of the field in Blancpain GT Series Asia and wave the flag again for both Ingolstadt and Hong Kong.”
For former Audi favourite Alex Yoong, a return to Phoenix Racing Asia for a second season provides the former Formula One driver with an opportunity to take 12-months of experience alongside Alex Au, and continue the momentum the pair showed over the closing rounds of the 2016 GT Asia Series.
“This is our second season with Phoenix Racing Asia in GT3, and whilst the format is very similar to what we experienced with GT Asia last year, there will be some differences, there always is with a new championship,” Yoong admitted. “I’m really excited though about this year. The level of competition in Asia only improves with each passing year, and I think this year we’re getting close to what they have in Europe.
“I’m looking forward to being back with Alex [Au], we certainly finished last year on a high and hope – with the right BoP [balance of performance] we can start this year with the same momentum. Alex is a great guy, and you have to respect that he’s had only five years or so racing experience, so he’s tremendously fast for the experience level he has, so I hope we can use that again to our advantage this year.”
Just recently Shaun Thong joined team-boss Marchy Lee as an official driver for Audi Hong Kong the pair again forming a formidable combination.
“I’m absolutely delighted to be doing the debut season of the Blancpain GT Asia,” Thong admitted. “We did well last year in the first year with the new Audi R8 LMS, but the grid is much stronger this year so I am expecting much tougher competition and believe it will be a thrilling season to watch! Moreover I have to say thank you to Audi Hong Kong, Phoenix Racing Asia and my sponsors for putting all this together again.”
Like his team-mates, Alex Au is looking forward to returning to the wheel of his Phoenix Racing Asia run Audi. “It seems like quite a while since we were in Shanghai with GT Asia, and I’d dearly love to be able to repeat the result we had then. Certainly our form at the close of 2016 was very good, and I think we showed that we had the pace to run with the leading teams, so I hope that together with my miles in ChinaGT this year, I can support Alex for some more victories for the team and a real chance at the title.”
The maiden season of the 2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia will get underway on Wednesday April 5 with the first of two days of official pre-season testing, ahead of three official practice sessions across Friday and Saturday, then the first of the two one-hour compulsory pit stop races on Saturday afternoon, and the second on Sunday morning.
Rnd#1 2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia
Sepang international Circuit, Malaysia
Friday, 7 April, 2017
12:15pm – Practice#1 (45-minutes)
4:05pm – Practice#2 (45-minutes)
Saturday, 8 April, 2017
8:15am – Practice#3 (30-minutes)
10:40am – Qualifying#1 (15-minutes)
11:05am – Qualifying#2 (15-minutes)
3:10pm – Race#1 (60-minutes)
Sunday, 9 April, 2017
11:45am – Race#2 (60-minutes)