Blogspot: Six of the best

08/19/2019

  • Half a dozen takeaways from the first half of the 2019 Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup season
  • With four races to go, each championship is wide open
  • The season resumes at Suzuka Circuit, Japan on August 23-24

1.      It’s going to be close… again
Five different winners in the first six races of the season proves just how competitive this year’s Cup is. With four races remaining, the GT3 and GT4 championship titles are wide open, with the points difference at the top just 15 and 22 respectively. A determined field of privateers, an expertly-calibrated success ballast allocation, and a variety of different race tracks are once again producing a battle royal.

2.      Anything can happen in the Cup
Despite claims of being ‘rusty’, Anthony Liu was untouchable on his Shanghai home track. In a stunning return to the Cup he took two wins from pole, his second victory seeing him snatch the first seat in the Audi team for the 2020 Suzuka 10 Hours from right under the noses of erstwhile contenders Yasser Shahin and Bhurit Bhirombhakdi. However, there are still two more seats up for grabs; one for the top points scorer at Suzuka, and another for the top performer across the season-opening Adelaide and season-closing Sepang rounds.

3.      Consistency pays
Yasser earned double digit points in every race up until an unlucky round six, but even then, his dogged determination saw him claim the final point of the race. The Bend Motorsport Park driver’s true ‘Aussie grit’ sees him top of the leaderboard after six races with 81 points out of a maximum possible 156. Impressive!

4.      The Audi R8 LMS GT4 spurs development
For ambitious young team FEA, the Cup’s GT4 development platform is providing the ideal platform on which to flourish, with both drivers on the podium after round six and Sheng Yanwen catapulted to the top of the class leaderboard after two victories in Shanghai and a podium finish on his debut in Zhuhai. As they say, ‘success breeds success’, and FEA’s GT4 performance will no doubt spur them on to greater achievement.

5.      Mighty Audi R8 LMS GT3 can be quick to tame
Italian Angelo Negro had never raced an Audi or a GT3 when he made his Cup debut in Shanghai, but he proved the mighty Audi R8 LMS GT3 beast can be quickly tamed in the right hands. Taking the Challenger Trophy in his first-ever Cup outing, Angelo went one better on Sunday, finishing on the podium and collecting a second Challenger Trophy. That’s definitely an impressive result from quite literally a standing start in anyone’s books.

6.      Qualifying’s king
It should be no surprise that in the Cup’s 30 minute sprint races, having a good qualifying session is key. In four of the Cup’s first six races, the overall pole-sitter has claimed victory. With an additional championship point for pole position raising the stakes even further in each of the Cup’s 15-minute qualifying sessions, the race to lead the field is intense every time. The closest margin in claiming pole was recorded by Alex Au ahead of round four in Zhuhai, when he snagged first on the teamsheets from Tony Bates by just four-hundredths of a second.