An Asia-Pacific Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup team is set to debut at this month’s 2019 Total 24 Hours of Spa. As the GT3 sportscar elite meet at one of the world’s most breath-taking race tracks, the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, reigning Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup champion Andrew Haryanto joins fellow championship stars Yasser Shahin, Jeffrey Lee and Sun Jingzu. The seats were awarded via the Cup’s 2018 season Road to Spa initiative.
“The Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup is bringing some of the finest privateer drivers from the Asia-Pacific region to this legendary 24 hour race. It will be a welcome, but tough challenge for them to compete among the world’s best professionals,” said Martin Kuehl, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia. “Now we are looking forward to getting started in Belgium.”
A long-term partner of Audi in Asia, team Absolute Racing will service the entry, which will line up as one of more than 10 expected Audi R8 LMS GT3s at the endurance classic on July 25 to 28.
Home to the notorious Eau Rouge/Raidillon combination, the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium is one of the most famous tracks in global motorsport, and the team’s previous experience there may prove invaluable. Haryanto made an impressive debut in last year’s Total 24 Hours of Spa, finishing runner-up in the Group N class, while Lee took part in 2010. Shahin has raced at the legendary circuit before, albeit not at the 24 hour event, while Sun makes his circuit debut.
The Road to Spa contest was held throughout the 2018 Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup season, with each driver earning their place on the team after accumulating the highest number of championship points in each country the Cup visited. Sun has taken the Road to Spa seat awarded to Thailand’s Bhurit Bhirombhakdi who is unable to join the team due to business commitments. Sun was the highest remaining GT3 points-scorer in 2018.
During the 2019 season, as well as contesting the overall championship, all Cup drivers are competing in the Road to Suzuka contest which will see a Cup team entered in the 2020 Suzuka 10 Hours.
Since 2011, Audi has won the Total 24 Hours of Spa four times, and the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup team will be joined on the grid by a number of other Audi R8 LMS GT3 entries. Four of the driver squads are nominated by Audi Sport customer racing to score points towards the Intercontinental GT Challenge of which the Total 24 Hours of Spa is the European round.
A number of additional Audi Sport customer teams will further swell the presence of the four rings at the biggest GT3 race on the global motorsport calendar.
The event gets underway with a driver parade on Wednesday, July 24, followed by free practice, pre-qualifying and qualifying on Thursday, July 25. A warm up on Friday is followed by the Super Pole shootout at 18:30. The race begins at 16:30 on Saturday, July 27 (all times are UTC +2). The Total 24 Hours of Spa 2019 will be live streamed on https://www.intercontinentalgtchallenge.com/live.
(press release prepared by Audi Sport customer racing Asia)