GT Asia Series: Things are heating up at Sepang as records tumble

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The inaugural Sepang 3-Hour for the GT Asia Series saw a fantastic battle waged between the leading contenders, with mother nature throwing in a few surprises along the way, in the end though it was the BBT team of Liu/Rizzo who prevailed to take the win.

The inaugural Sepang 3-Hour for the GT Asia Series saw a fantastic battle waged between the leading contenders, with mother nature throwing in a few surprises along the way, in the end though it was the BBT team of Liu/Rizzo who prevailed to take the win. Photo Credit – Facebook.com/GTAsiaSeries

The GT Asia Series is a sports car racing series based in Asia. The championship combines FIA GT3 specification cars as the elite class of the series with Ferrari Challenge, Porsche Cup and older GT3 machinery competing in the GTM class.The hotly contested GT Asia Series will take another quantum leap this weekend, with the first endurance race in the six year history of Asia’s leading GT Championship. Unofficial practice on Thursday saw lap records smashed as both Ferrari WEC star James Calado (Clearwater Racing) and round five winner Carlo Van Dam (TP12 Racing) went head-to-head early, with points leader Adderly Fong (Absolute Team Bentley) and Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Richard Lyons joining them later in the day, the top four within half a second of each other, whilst Fong and Calado were under the standing qualifying lap record.

The big issue of the weekend so far though, and a question which usually attracts plenty of discussion coming to Sepang, is heat. Temperatures have been in the mid-30s with high humidity, and whilst past 60-minute sprint races with two drivers have been testing, this weekend teams are facing three hours of competition with cabin temperatures around 60 degrees.

As to the weather predictions for Saturday afternoon’s three-hour trial of endurance, no-one is willing to make a firm commitment, as thunderstorms that have been predicted to hit the circuit are yet to eventuate, so that will be one variable that team managers and engineers will be keeping a close eye on.

Ultimately round five winner Carlo Van Dam emerged victorious, the TP12 Racing team Ferrari driver re-setting the bar to a 2:04.465 lap.

Ultimately round five winner Carlo Van Dam emerged victorious, the TP12 Racing team Ferrari driver re-setting the bar to a 2:04.465 lap.

With double-points on offer for the event, there is plenty to play for this weekend, and all the top teams know it. Michelin too have ruled out any potential questions about tyre wear with six sets of tyres open to teams for qualifying and the three-hour race, allowing them to fit new tyres for both 15-minute qualifiers and every one of the three compulsory pit stops.

Unlike the usual GT Asia Series ‘sprint’ races, the Sepang 3-Hour will feature compulsory pit stops, at roughly 45-minute intervals, the reason being fuel servicing and allowing teams to have the chance to create an even share of laps between their two drivers.

Without the need for fuel rigs in a normal GT Asia Series event, some teams were unable to source the correct equipment to refuel their cars, so in the interests of safety, organisers have made each compulsory stop for a minimum of five minutes to allow safe refueling, driver changes, and tyre changes. When the teams take their stop inside the available ten-minute window, is up to them, and that’s where strategy will start to play into the equation.

Richard Lyons too was quick, bringing the Interush Aston Martin right back into the equation during 2015 GT Asia Series at Sepang International Circuit.

Richard Lyons too was quick, bringing the Interush Aston Martin right back into the equation during 2015 GT Asia Series at Sepang International Circuit.

Whilst unofficial practice saw an impressive pace, so too the three official sessions on Friday where the title contenders were again in the mix, although this time they were facing the strength of Clearwater Racing on ‘home’ turf.

Ultimately round five winner Carlo Van Dam emerged victorious, the TP12 Racing team Ferrari driver re-setting the bar to a 2:04.465 lap, just marginally clear of the BBT Ferrari of last year’s title challengers Anthony Liu and Davide Rizzo. Richard Lyons too was quick, bringing the Interush Aston Martin right back into the equation, with Calado and Adderly Fong not too far behind.

In the GTM class, the competition was hot, with Australian GT star Warren Luff running with points leader Jerry Wang, and Belgian GT champion Dylan Derdaele joining the Gulf Racing JP GTM team from the GT3 category.

Sadly for title contenders Takuma Aoki and Ken Urata, the Dilango Racing Lamborghini Gallardo was suffering a litany of issues during unofficial practice which kept the two Japanese drivers sidelined, but by Saturday night there was a garage of long faces as they struggled to combat a cooling issue, Urata explaining that there was an inherent leak in the system that was setting off alarms in the ECU.

Hamaguchi/Tonio Liuzzi (FFF Racing McLaren GT3)

Hamaguchi/Tonio Liuzzi (FFF Racing McLaren GT3)

Meanwhile down at the Gulf Racing JP Porsche team, a gearbox failure saw some question about their ability to continue for the round, with both teams expected to work well into the night to prepare for the two qualifiers on Saturday morning ahead of the 3:15pm scheduled start [MYT] for the Sepang 3-Hour race on Saturday afternoon.

All the action will be played out online this weekend, with Twitter, Facebook and the new GT Asia Series website hosting information, images and video from every day, whilst on Saturday, the big race will be broadcast live with internationally renowned commentator Jonathon Green calling the shots. All details will be available via; www.facebook.com/GTAsiaSeries

2015 GT Asia Series - Sepang International Circuit 4-5 September 2015-004

FULL RESULT

Rnd#7 – 2015 GT Asia Series
Sepang International Circuit, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Combined times official practice (4 September, 2015)
1. 11. Piti Bhirom Bhakdi/Carlo Van Dam (Singha Ferrari 458) – 2:04.465R [P1]
2. 9. Anthony Liu/Davide Rizzo (Spirit of Race Ferrari 458 GT3) – 2:04.498 [P1]
3. 88. Frank Yu/Richard Lyons (Craft-Bamboo Aston Martin) – 2:04.900 [P2]
4. 1. Mok Weng Sun/James Calado (Clearwater Racing Ferrari) – 2:05.068 [P2]
5. 8. Adderly Fong/Keita Sawa (Absolute Bentley GT3) – 2:05.138 [P1]
6. 5. Andrea Caldarelli/Ronald Wu (FFF Racing McLaren GT3)
 – 2:05.140 [P2]
7. 77. Jacky Yeung/Duncan Tappy (Absolute Bentley Continental) 
- 2:05.368 [P1]
8. 99. Darryl O’Young/Daniel Lloyd (Craft-Bamboo Aston) – 2:05.522 [P2]
9. 12. Richard Wee/Hiroki Katoh (Clearwater Racing Ferrari) – 2:05.557 [P2]
10. 55. Hamaguchi/Tonio Liuzzi (FFF Racing McLaren GT3) – 2:06.110 [P1]
11. 86. Zen Low/Fairuz Fauzy (OD Racing Gallardo GT3) – 2:06.372 [P2]
12. 27. Dominic Ang/Adrian D’Silva (Nexus Infinity Ferrari 458 GT3) – 2:06.398 [P1]
13. 7. Jeffrey Lee/Andy Meyrick (Absolute Bentley GT3)
- 2:07.361 [P2]
14. 15. Rod Salmon/Nathan Antunes (FFF Racing McLaren 650S) – 2:06.761 [P1]
15. 23. Jerry Wang/Warren Luff (Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3)* – 2:08.777 [P1]
16. 87. Keong Wee Lim/Melvin Moh (GDL Racing Porsche Type 997 Cup S)* – 2:10.986
17. 20. Dylan Derdaele/Hasashi Kunie (Gulf JP Porsche GT3 Cup)* – 2:12.560 [P1]
18. 68. Yuk Lung Siu/Mak Hing Tak (LKM Racing Porsche GT3-R) – 2:12.877 [P1]
19. 22. Keiichi Mori/Tetsuya Makino (Gulf JP Porsche GT3-R) – 2:13.199 [P1]
20. 67. Keong Liam Lim/Nigel Farmer (GDL Racing Porsche 997 Cup) – 2:13.217 [P2]
21. 78. George Chou/Robert Lee (Taiwan Top Speed Ferrari 458)* – 2:13.835 [P2]
22. 95. K.S. Wang/Craig Liu (Taiwan Top Speed Ferrari Challenge)* – 2:14.996 [P1]
23. 34. Takuma Aoki/Ken Urata (Dilango Gallardo FL2 GT3)* – 2:15.934 [P2]
24. 71. Graeme Dowsett/John Curran (Team NZ Porsche 997 Cup Car)* – 2:17.023 [P1]
*GTM Class

The GT Asia Series is sanctioned by the FIA as an International Series and is clearly recognised as the Region’s leading GT Championship. It is jointly managed and promoted by Motorsport Asia Ltd and the Supercar Club Hong Kong and is backed by Michelin, GRAHAM London, KW Automotive, Motul, Auto Art, Race Room, Panta and SEL.

2015 GT Asia Series – Championship points (after round six of 11)
GT3 Class
1. Adderly Fong/Keita Sawa (63-points), 1. Darryl O’Young/Jonathan Venter (63), 2. Anthony Liu/Davide Rizzo (57), 3. Piti Bhirom Bhakdi (52), 4. Richard Wee (51), 5. Carlo Van Dam (42), 5. Matt Griffin (42), 6. Mok Weng Sun (41), 7. Richard Lyons/Frank Yu (39), 8. Hiroshi Hamaguchi/Vitantonio Liuzzi (38), 9. Jacky Yeung/Duncan Tappy (36), 10. Jeffrey Lee (32), 11. Zen Low/Fairuz Fauzy (30), 12. Jiang Xin/Max Wiser (28), 13. Toni Vilander (25), 13. Sean Fu (25), 14. Dilantha Malkagamuwa/Kota Sasaki (19), 15. Andrea Caldarelli (17), 16. James Calado (16), 16. Andy Soucek (16), 16. Jean-Karl Vernay (16), 17. Naoki Yokomizo (10), 18. Craig Baird (9), 19. Hisashi Kunie (8), 19. Andre Couto (8), 20. Rod Salmon/Nathan Antunes (7), 21. Keiichi Mori (4), 21. Dylan Derdaele (4)

GTM Class (after round six of 11)
1. Jerry Wang (64-points), 2. Takuma Aoki/Ken Urata (61), 3. Kimihiro Yashiro (58), 4. Hisashi Kunie (56), 5. Tetsuya Makino (34), 5. Craig Liu/Ryo Fukuda (34), 6. Keiichi Mori (32), 7. Kenneth Lim/James Cai (25), 8. Shogo Mitsuyama/K.S. Wang (10), 9. George Chou/Jeff Lu (0)

The GT Asia Series is sanctioned by the FIA as an International Series and is clearly recognised as the Region’s leading GT Championship. It is jointly managed and promoted by Motorsport Asia Ltd and the Supercar Club Hong Kong and is backed by Michelin, GRAHAM London, KW Automotive, Motul, Auto Art, Race Room, Panta and SEL.

 

Sepang International Circuit
Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Track length: 5.543-kilometres
Corners: 15
Rotation: clockwise
Designer/Circuit first opened: Hermann Tilke, 7 March 1999
GT3 Lap record: 2:07.518 – Race (Stefan Mucke), 2:05.789 – Qualifying (Alessandro Guidi)
Support classes: TCR Asia Series, Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, Audi R8 LMS Cup
Number of times GT Asia Series has competed at Sepang previously: 10

GT Asia Series and Sepang – 2014 (15-17 August)
2014 – Rnd#7 (60-minutes – 27-laps)
1. Frank Yu/Stefan Mucke (Craft-Bamboo Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3)
2. Anthony Liu/Davide Rizzo (BBT Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
3. Hiroshi Hamaguchi/Rob Bell (Clearwater Racing McLaren MP4-12C GT3)

2014 – Rnd#8 (60-minutes – 27-laps)
1. Keita Sawa/Mok Weng Sun (Clearwater Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
2. Jiang Xin/Max Wiser (NB Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3)
3. Anthony Liu/Davide Rizzo (BBT Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)

GT Asia Series and Sepang – 2014 (12-14 September)
2014 – Rnd#9 (60-minutes – 27-laps)
1. Keita Sawa/Mok Weng Sun (Clearwater Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
2. Davide Rizzo/Anthony Liu (BBT Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
3. Max Wiser/Lucas Guerrero (NB Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3)

2014 – Rnd#10 (60-minutes – 26-laps)
1. Richard Wee/Alessandro Guidi (Clearwater Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
3. Max Wiser/Lucas Guerrero (NB Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3)
3. Frank Yu/Stefan Mucke (Craft-Bamboo Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3)

Event#04 2015 GT Asia Series

Sepang International Circuit, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Times (MYT – GMT +8)



Saturday, 5 September 2015
09:00 – Qualifying #1 (15-minutes)
09:25 – Qualifying #2 (15-minutes)
15:00 – Race#1 (3-Hours)

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