In today’s newsletter read about a brilliant weekend of racing in the Audi R8 LMS Cup, which saw Alex Yoong and Marchy Lee nab a win apiece, giving the Cup its seventh winner this season. Yoong now leads the Audi R8 LMS Cup heading into the penultimate rounds in Fuji, but with several drivers hot on his heels, we’re guaranteed a furious fight to the finish. This weekend, we also feature our race start simulation game and catch up with Daniel Bilski, who has been having a strong debut season in the Cup, while racing with his private team B-Quik Racing. We go behind the scenes with long-term tire partner Michelin, while one of the Cup’s biggest fans gets to experience life as an Audi R8 LMS Cup journalist.
Alex Yoong of Audi TEDA Racing Team has taken the lead in the Audi R8 LMS Cup, following a fantastic weekend of racing at home in front of the Cup’s Malaysian fans. The thrilling weekend of racing saw plenty of overtaking and wheel-to-wheel racing throughout the field.
Yoong won Round 8 ahead of Marchy Lee of Audi Hong Kong Team and Rahel Frey of Castrol Racing Team, while Lee took a hard-fought victory in Round 9, ahead of Cheng Congfu of FAW-VW Audi Racing Team and Frey. Lee’s win – his first of 2015 – marked the Cup’s seventh different winner this season, showcasing once again the competitiveness of the series.
Yoong, fourth in Round 9, leads the Overall Classification by just four points, with Cheng second and Thomas Fjordback of Federal-Mogul Motorparts Racing and Aditya Patel of Team Audi R8 LMS Cup tied for third. Marchy Lee is fifth in the championship, with Frey sixth.
The fight for the Amateur Cup had Cup fans on the edges of their seats as they watched Rounds 8&9 category winner Andrew Kim of E-Rain Racing Team battle with new Amateur Cup points leader Daniel Bilski of B-Quik Racing.
Next up for the Cup: joining forces next month with the Audi Sport motorsport family as Rounds 10&11 take place in support of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Fuji, Japan.
Ever wondered what it’s like to roar off the grid in an Audi R8 LMS Cup car? Now, here’s your chance. The Audi R8 LMS Cup has launched a new race start simulation game that puts you in the driver’s seat to test your start reflexes with the brand with the Four Rings. Test your nerves of steel and time your performance. Click here to get in on the action and let us know your best time on our official Facebook page and WeChat channel.
For Audi R8 LMS Cup tire partner Michelin, preparations for the 2015 season began long before the first race in Zhuhai. To start with, Michelin, who has worked with the Cup since its first season in 2012, changed the Cup’s reference tire to adapt to the evolution of the 2015 car, as well as the format of the races – specifically the new standing starts, which is one of the major innovations this season.
“Technically there’s a little bit more grip, but we kept the consistency of the tire which allows drivers to take advantage, especially related to the standing start,” said Patrick Dias, Michelin Asia Pacific Motorsports Director.
The new tires have proven to be a success, with the top 10 drivers often within a second of each other during qualifying, making the on-track action even more exciting.
But while Dias and his team completed the development work ahead of the season, there is still plenty to do at each race weekend, beginning with the logistics to ensure there are enough slick and wet tires at each race location. With a field of up to 22 cars, Michelin brings 50 sets of slicks and 50 sets of wet tires, totaling some 400 tires.
A crew of eight services the Cup during race weekends. During free practice, for example, they will check select cars to make sure that the teams are following the tire usage recommendations.
“At the beginning of the year, you know you will have to face very different weather conditions, but also the different track surfaces and profiles,” Dias said. “With our Michelin know-how, we have developed a very fast tire and also to develop a tire that will be as fast in cold conditions as hot conditions.”
For young Malaysian – and big Alex Yoong fan – Liau Zihao, winning a chance to gain exclusive behind-the-scenes access as an Audi R8 LMS Cup journalist was an incredible opportunity not to be missed. So when the Cup launched a contest on Facebook to join the championship as a journalist for a day Liau made sure to enter by creating a short video to announce the race weekend.
“My favourite driver is Alex Yoong and I’ve been following him in the Cup since the first season,” said Liau after the Round 9 press conference. “I had met Alex before, but this was my first time coming to experience the Audi R8 LMS Cup.”
With a camera in hand, Liau spent the day meeting Audi R8 LMS Cup drivers, teams and executives while trying his hand at motorsport photography. “It’s quite difficult, but I managed to get a few good shots.”
While Liau had previously been to the Sepang International Circuit, he hadn’t previously experienced the full Audi R8 LMS Cup experience and relished the opportunity to spend time in the pits and get an all-access look at the championship.
“Really the whole experience has been a highlight for me,” Liau said. “This is something new, something I haven’t done before and I really want to thank the Audi R8 LMS Cup for the chance to be here.”
Australian Daniel Bilski is in his debut season of the Audi R8 LMS Cup and one of several passionate enthusiasts competing in the Amateur Cup. Bilski and his team, B-Quik Racing, made history by becoming the first private Cup team in the championship. This month we catch up with the Hong Kong-based banker on racing in the Audi R8 LMS Cup.
1. How did you get started racing?
I started racing late. I was in my 30s and it’s grown from there. The sport [is] a continuous journey of pushing your boundaries and seeing how good you can be. It's a personal challenge I relish and a massive addiction which I love. I’ve met amazing people through my racing. That in itself has been a huge highlight.
2. Why did you decide to join the Audi R8 LMS Cup this season?
After watching the Cup from the first season, and how it continues to evolve, I wanted to participate in it. The cars, the drivers, the people who run it, it all adds up to a fantastic racing series. There is a huge level of competition, rivalry even, but at the same time it's a wonderful camaraderie and shared experience with many, many wonderful people, at some of the best racing facilities in the world. I was very lucky to get support from some wonderful people to help me participate in the full season. And for that I will be eternally grateful.
3. While racing isn’t your full-time job, you’re very involved in the sport. How do you strike a balance between racing and work?
It’s tough. But like anything, it’s about dedication, organisation, passion, with a healthy dose of crazy thrown in. On top of a rather serious job, this year I am competing in three racing series, plus I run the Asia Classic Car Challenge as well. See … Crazy!
4. You’ve been having a great season so far. What’s been a highlight for you?
The season is really going well. I was confident we’d put on a good showing and I am loving the challenge. But I have to say the highlight for me has been becoming the first independent team to join the Cup, and do it with B-Quik Racing. I’m very proud to be racing the Audi R8 LMS Cup, and super-proud to be doing it in B-Quik colours