Audi has long since established itself as a premium manufacturer in Asia. Audi has also proved inspirational on the Asian motorsport stage with the Audi R8 LMS Cup since 2012.
The Audi R8 LMS Cup, held in Asia since 2012, was Audi’s first one-make cup. This year the one-make cup, in its sixth season, begins with plenty of new ideas and continues to particularly promote amateur drivers.
New faces on the grid, innovation in the technical regulations, a new organisational team and two new venues ensures that there are plenty of new elements in 2017.
06–07/05 Sepang (MAL)
10–11/06 Suzuka (J)
15–16/07 Yeongam (ROK)
09–10/09 Shanghai (CHN)
20–21/10 Zhejiang (CHN)
The spectators can follow the racing more closely with a new innovation: The push-to-pass system returns, and for the first time, the fans will be able to follow the details thereof via LED displays on the sides of the race cars. The display will indicate the remaining number of time-limited push-to-pass opportunities the driver still has, each of which adds an additional 50 hp. The amateur drivers will have twice as many opportunities to use the system as the professionals.
The playing fields will be levelled even further by the success ballast: After achieving success in a race, the winner must carry an extra 50 kilogrammes of ballast in their race car for the following race. The same goes for the entire top three, with the runner-up and third-place finisher receiving 35 and 20 kilogrammes respectively. The grid for each of the weekend’s two races will be determined in two separate qualifying sessions.
The field of drivers will feature a competition of different generations facing off against each other in this year’s title fight. The three-time champion Alex Yoong from Malaysia returns for his title defence. The list of challengers includes the 23-year-old Belgian Alessio Picariello, last year’s runner-up in the drivers’ standings, and also Martin Rump. The 21-year-old Estonian wants to fight for the title in 2017, after he finished the 2016 season in third positon after being the only driver who achieved four victories. Mitchell Gilbert and Shaun Thong are two more of the young talents. The experienced Marchy Lee, who was the first champion of the Audi R8 LMS Cup in 2012, wants to be running at the front again this year. The Chinese Cheng Congfu also brings international motorsport experience to the one-make cup. More drivers complete the squad, including former Formula One driver Will Stevens. In addition to the existing teams of Absolute Racing, KC Motorgroup and Phoenix Racing Asia, Team WRT will now also be a service provider in 2017.