The 2013 GT Asia Series season is looming near with the first two rounds scheduled to be held at the famous Twin Ring Motegi, Japan, this 11-12 May 2013.
“To date, there are confirmations from teams and drivers from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau SAR, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Taiwan,” said Paul Yao, CEO of Supercar Club Hong Kong.
It is looking to be another exciting season for the GT Asia Series with the return of reigning Champion, Mok Weng Sun with Team Clearwater Racing. Championship runner up Peter Li Zhi Cong is also signed on for the season and with one outstanding year under his belt, will be looking to make another great splash in the Series to fight for the Championship he was close to winning in 2012.
Also much anticipated is the return of Tunku Hammam Sulong, the 2009 GT Asia Series Champion, who is making a comeback after a two year hiatus from racing. He will be partnered by Ro Charlz, a former Super GT test driver, in the 2013 Lamborghini LP560 GT3 with Team Clearwater Racing.
Since 2011, GT Asia Series have been receiving tremendous support from Audi through Absolute Racing. This year, the team have confirmed to enter 3 new Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT3 with Bronze status drivers; Jeffrey Lee, Philip Ma and Francis Hideki Onda; to partner with 3 Professional drivers Marchy Lee (2012 Audi LMS Cup Champion), Franky Cheng (former top single seater and AMG DTM driver) and Alex Yoong (former Formula 1 driver) respectively.
Craft Eurasia Racing will return once again with Samson Chan in the Ford GT while Frank Yu will trade his Ford with the new Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3.
“Frank has also made a request for a special number for his car, racing this year with ‘007’ as an affiliation to James Bond, a man famously associated with the Aston Martin,” said Yao with a smile.
Two years ago, the Series visited Japan for the first time when it raced at the Autopolis Circuit. Since then, the number of races held in Japan has grown and for the first time, the GT Asia Series Season will start there.
Team Direction Racing from Japan, has confirmed the participation of two Porsche GT3 R, with drivers Hisao Shigeta and Hisamori Hayashi. Shigeta finished third in the Championship last year, whilst Hayashi finished on the podium three times out of four appearances.
Jacky Yeung will make his return to the Series as the reigning GTM class Champion to defend his title in the Lamborghini Gallardo LP520. But the Arrows Racing driver will have a tough time as brothers John and Wayne Shen, joined by good friends Francis Tjia and Dr Shim Ching, have also confirmed their participation with Porsche 3.8 Cup to provide a tough battle in their class.
Hitotsuyama Racing has also confirmed the partnership of Billy Fung and Akihiro Asai, who last year paired up for the first time during the race in Suzuka. This year the duo will move from Lamborghini to the Audi R8 LMS in the GTM class.
Newcomers Naotaka Sakamoto and Tohjiro Azuma are also pairing up in the GTM class in their Ferrari 458 Challenge under team Olive Spa + Age Age Racing.
Macau driver Keith Vong is looking forward to the season opener in his Porsche 3.8 Cup, as will a group of new drivers from Japan.
The 2013 GT Asia Series will start the season for the first time in Japan at the famed Motegi Circuit in the district of Haga, a three hour drive from Tokyo. From there the Series remains in Japan competing at the Okayama and Fuji Circuits before heading to Malaysia for Rounds 7 & 8 at Sepang. The Series will mark a return to China with a visit to Zhuhai Circuit, where its races were held as a club race.
The 2013 GT Asia Series will once again hold its Championship ender as part of the main race weekend at Guia Circuit for the legendary Macau Grand Prix this 14-17 November. This year the event will host its 60th Anniversary celebration with a fantastic two-week racing celebration, with GT Asia Series confirmed to be held during its main weekend alongside World Touring Car Championship and Formula 3.
The 2013 GT Asia Series is supported by Yokohama ADVAN, Graham Timekeepers, KW Automotive, AutoArt, Tunewear and RaceRoom.
The GT Asia Series is jointly organised by Motorsport Asia and Supercar Club Hong Kong.
words & pix: Motorsport Asia