In today’s newsletter read about a dramatic weekend of racing which saw defending champion Alex Yoong and Marchy Lee each take a win at the Fuji International Speedway. Yoong is now tied for the championship lead with Cheng Congfu, whose second-place finish in Round 11 has set up what is expected to be a thrilling title fight at Cheng’s home race in Shanghai. In Fuji, the Cup also announced a new Audi R8 LMS car for 2016 and joined forces once again with the Audi Sport motorsport family. This weekend we also launch our new digital home at www.audir8lmscup.com and we meet Team Betterlife driver Stefano Montesi of Italy.
Alex Yoong of TEDA Racing Team and Cheng Congfu of FAW-VW Audi Racing Team are tied for the championship lead as the Cup heads to the season finale in Shanghai. The dramatic weekend of racing saw Yoong and Audi Hong Kong Team driver Marchy Lee win Rounds 10 and 11, respectively, while Cheng’s second-place finish in Round 11 saw him vault up to the top of the leader board.
Yoong scored a lights-to-flag victory in Round 10, ahead of a hard-charging Kyong-Ouk You of Audi Korea, who was fighting hard to get past Yoong. Yoong held the lead, but was forced to use his Push-to-Passes to do so, meaning that he was unable to set a fast lap, essential for ensuring a strong starting position in Round 11. Third on the podium was Shaun Thong of Starspeed Racing, while Alex Au not only took the Amateur Cup victory but also made Cup history as the first non-professional driver to take pole position.
In the action-packed Round 11, it was Lee who emerged victorious, getting past Au at the start and holding the lead for the remainder of the 16- lap race. Cheng finished second with Rahel Frey of Castrol Racing Team rounding out the podium.
With just two races remaining in the season, Yoong and Cheng lead the championship, 17 points ahead of Lee. Thomas Fjordbach of Federal-Mogul Motorparts Racing is fourth overall, with Frey fifth and Aditya Patel of Team Audi R8 LMS Cup sixth.
The fight for the Amateur Cup is no less intense as Au, with his two victories in Fuji, is now second behind category leader Daniel Bilski of B-Quik Racing.
Get ready for fantastic championship battle in Shanghai!
The next generation of the Audi R8 LMS car is set for its Cup debut in 2016. The expanded grid for the sprint-race series’ fifth season is expected to feature a similar number of new and current generation cars, with the addition of a new Masters Cup category for non-professionals racing with the current R8 LMS Cup car.
The introduction of the new Audi R8 LMS in 2016 continues the Cup’s tradition of innovation and brings cutting-edge technology to race tracks across Asia, while presenting an attractive package for the region’s racing drivers. The next generation R8 LMS, which won the Nürburgring 24 Hours earlier this year, features improved aerodynamics, the Audi lightweight technology expertise and delivers up to 585 hp. Following in the footsteps of its successful predecessor, the Audi R8 LMS was developed specifically for GT racing and is suited for both sprint and endurance races.
The Audi R8 LMS Cup once again joined forces with the Audi Sport motorsport family, this time racing alongside the Audi World Endurance Championship (WEC) entries in Fuji.
This is further testament to the Audi Sport customer racing Asia programme, which this year expanded to Europe. Earlier this season, the first all-Asian Audi team finished 12th amongst a field of more than 150 entries at the Nürburgring 24 Hours. Nineteen-year old Shaun Thong, who is part of the Young Driver Development Programme, races in the new Audi Sport TT Cup this season and together with Marchy Lee and Markus Winkelhock competes with Phoenix Racing in the Blancpain Endurance Series. Thong was back in Asia this weekend, racing in the Audi R8 LMS Cup where he had his maiden podium finish in Round 10, before finishing fourth in Round 11.
The Cup and Audi Sport will again race together at the end of the month as the sprint-race series hosts its season finale in support of the FIA WEC 6 Hours of Shanghai.
There’s a brand new look for the digital home of the Audi R8 LMS Cup, with the new official website further highlighting all the news from the sprint-race series as well as its active social media presence. The English live stream for all races continues to be broadcast on www.audir8lmscup.com, while the user-friendly design puts everything you need to know about the Cup right at your fingertips.
One exciting feature is Driver Buzz, a new competition the measures driver and fan interaction on Facebook, Weibo and Instagram. Each month, drivers are ranked according to the “buzz” they generate on social media. This month, it was Cheng Congfu who took the top spot in the rankings, ahead of Marchy Lee and Aditya Patel. The most social driver of the season will be given a special award at the championship awards dinner in Shanghai. Check out the top 10 here!
In his second season of the Audi R8 LMS Cup, Italian Stefano Montesi has been a king of qualifying, consistently reaching Superpole, while achieving strong results, including a fourth-place finish in Taiwan. Here, Montesi, who races with Team Betterlife, discusses how he got started in racing and why he’s joined the Audi R8 LMS Cup.
1. How did you get started racing?
I started racing once I was able to afford a go-kart so I was about 25 years old. I raced karts for eight or nine years, but never continuously – only when I could afford it! I moved to China in 2005 and continued to kart there and in 2009, I began racing in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup China, which I won in 2011 and 2012. In 2013 I stopped racing for a year, but did one Audi R8 LMS Cup race in Macau and after I did that race, I knew I had to continue with the Cup because I really enjoyed it and I started racing with this series in 2014.
2. How is this year different from you than 2014?
Last year was a perfect year to learn and to understand the car. My engineer was great and I could really pick things up and learn. With each race, I’m getting better and better. It’s a very competitive series – it’s been three years since I’ve won a race and I miss that feeling.
3. What are some of the changes you’ve made from last season to this year?
I’ve changed my food, my nutrition. I also started doing some jogging. I’d love to drive, practice and race more – to fight in this championship, six race weekend a year is not enough but at the moment it’s not possible to race more. Since I can’t practice in the car, I decided to work on myself and that means physical fitness and food.
4. Why did you want to be part of the Audi R8 LMS Cup?
The series has a lot of strong qualities – the car, the people, the organization. One of the most important qualities is the competing drivers. The level of competition makes the Cup attractive to me. It’s a real racing championship and you can measure yourself against really good drivers.