The official Audi R8 LMS Cup entry will be driven by Jeffrey Lee of Chinese Taipei in the Pro/Am category. Teaming up with Jeffrey will be Hong Kong’s Marchy Lee, a former single seater and FIA World Touring Car driver, who is now carving a name for himself in the world of sportscar competition.
The GT Asia Series calls for mandatory pit stops where driver changeovers are permitted. The impressive pairing of one of the region’s most promising up-and-coming non-professional racers, and the highly-experienced Hong Kong driver will present a powerful challenge to series regulars.
The pair will be competing in an Audi R8 LMS ultra, the latest 2012 specification version of the highly-successful GT3 racing car. The new, lighter version has increased torque, an optimized exhaust system, lower fuel consumption and a wider wing. The car will carry a similar livery to that of Audi R8 LMS Cup driver and Hong Kong star Aaron Kwok, with a distinctive Year of the Dragon design.
Said Rene Koneberg, Director of Audi Sport customer racing China: “Our entry in the GT Asia with the Audi R8 LMS ultra has multiple benefits. It demonstrates the versatility of our motorsport programme, both for customers and professionals, and the opportunities it offers our drivers. It also provides an opportunity to showcase the extraordinary new Audi R8 LMS ultra racing car across Asia.”
Says Jeffrey who, like Marchy, is also competing in the Audi R8 LMS Cup series, the first one-makes championship for Audi worldwide: “This is a tremendous opportunity for Marchy and I to showcase the incredible new Audi R8 LMS ultra car as we go up against some of the most established sportscar racing marques in the world.”
For Marchy too, the prospect of racing the powerful Audi GT thoroughbred on circuits in Malaysia and Japan is an exciting one: “Racing the Audi R8 LMS ultra across Asia and showing fans in Malaysia and Japan just what an extraordinary car this is, will be fantastic. Jeffrey is one of the most talented non-professional racers I have seen, and is incredibly quick. I’m really excited to be racing with him this season.”
Each GT Asia race will be 40 to 60 minutes in duration with a rolling start. Mandatory pit stops are used instead of success ballast, with the timing of each stop adjusted depending on the team’s results in the previous race. This regulation is designed to ensure season-long competition, and close up the field.
The 2012 GT Asia season gets underway at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit from May 25-27, with a second round in support of the Super GT weekend in June. Three meetings in Japan follow, at the Fuji, Suzuka and Autopolis race tracks. For the Suzuka round, which clashes with Rounds 5 and 6 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup at Inner Mongolia’s Ordos Circuit, Marchy will hand his driving duties to another sizzling talent.
The season finale will be held as part of the Macau GT Cup at November’s 59thMacau Grand Prix.