Alex Yoong and Edoardo Mortara recorded victories at the Sepang International Circuit, leaving the championship battle too close to call at the halfway stage of this season’s Audi R8 LMS Cup. Catch up with all the action from Rounds 5 and 6, read about the R8 road car, find out why the Sepang International Circuit was new for everyone this time round and find out what it’s like for DTM star Edoardo Mortara behind the wheel.
After all the dust settled at the Sepang International Circuit, those watching onsite and on the live stream around the world could finally catch their breath. In Round 6 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup, Belgian cup rookie Alessio Picariello fought tooth and nail for the entire race against pole-sitter Edoardo Mortara, pushing him all the way to the chequered flag, with Rahel Frey following close behind. Alessio’s controlled aggression and dogged pursuit weren’t enough to claim victory or an out-right championship lead, but another 2nd place for the youngster did put him level with Alex Yoong on 95 points at the top of the championship with the Malaysian ahead only due to his two race wins so far this season.
One of the wins had come on home turf in Round 5, where Alex started like a rocket, passing Rahel Frey, Alessio and Edo before the first corner. It was a lead that the reigning champion held until the finish line, coming home to much jubilation in front of friends, family and fans. Former DTM rivals Edo and Rahel completed the podium.
Rahel’s second double-podium weekend out of three so far this year catapulted her into 3rd in the overall championship above Martin Rump who had a difficult weekend, finishing P8 in Round 5 and P7 in Round 6, despite recording the fastest lap of the race.
The fastest lap of the weekend, however, belonged to Edoardo Mortara who posted the quickest lap on the track in the Superpole shootout on Saturday to claim pole position in Round 5.
The DTM star heads back to Europe to compete in the series’ next race in Moscow. He sits in 3rd place in the overall DTM standings and will be looking to build on his 2 race wins so far this season.
Back in the Audi R8 LMS Cup, the battles also raged in the Amateur Cup behind Jeffrey Lee, who was imperious, topping the podium again in both races, with Vincent Floirendo and Johnson Huang tussling back and forth. Vincent and Johnson both finished the weekend with a second and third place apiece, recording important classification points in their chase of Jeffrey, who has notched an impressive 140 points at the top of the coveted Am Cup.
In second place in the classification is Sun Jing Zu with 85 points, after posting two 4th place Am Cup finishes at the Sepang International Circuit.
It’s all to play for as the Cup heads to Korea for Rounds 7 and 8 in September – in the meantime, stay tuned to our social media channels for more news, updates and features from the Audi R8 LMS Cup!
So you’ve just experienced the adrenalin-pumping excitement of watching the Audi R8 LMS Cup on the circuit. And you may think that this full spec GT3 race car is a world away from anything you might see on the street. Well, not really. The Audi R8 street car is extremely similar to the LMS Cup car raced on circuits around the world.
Besides the obvious exclusion of the passenger seat, the visible racing roll-bars, and an absence of the luxurious interior; the R8 LMS Cup car actually shares 50 percent of its technical base with the R8 street car, with an almost identical engine.
So is there really a big difference between the race and road car in terms of driving and handling? Audi R8 LMS Cup double-champion Alex Yoong has been experiencing both machines this week driving to and from the Sepang International Circuit in the R8 street car, while attempting to race the R8 LMS to victory on home soil.
“The Audi R8 street car is a very enjoyable sports car,” said Alex. “But it is also fierce with a lot of grunt behind it. The LMS race car is of course specially adjusted for the race track with stiffer suspension and a racing gearbox, but besides that the road car is really, really close to what I’m throwing around the track, and you can feel that on the road.”
Familiar drivers on unfamiliar circuit: Sepang layout remains the same with some dramatic reconfigurations
The Audi R8 LMS Cup is no stranger to the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, having hosted a round of the GT3 series there every year since 2013. The venue has produced some of the most exciting racing between the Audi R8 LMS cars, and even though the drivers arrived at Sepang with a sense of familiarity, they couldn’t get too comfortable because all is not what it seems from the sidelines.
This is because the Sepang circuit has undergone a restructuring that has seen resurfacing, flattening of several inclines and reconfiguration of some important passing zones. The flattening of the corners suits the second generation R8 LMS cars as they have proven to be a lot faster through these areas. Thankfully the very sharp and steep turn nine hasn’t been touched and still gets to see some dramatic dives on the inside from over-eager racers.
Turn 15 is the biggest change of the whole circuit having been completely reconfigured. Now instead of a flat, long right swooping hairpin, the corner has been raised significantly making the exit of the turn much quicker. Drivers need to be 100% committed as they hit a sudden rise on the entry and any mistake through the apex will send them wide onto the gravel. Castrol Racing Team driver Rahel Frey pointed out a dramatic change in turn 15, “There is a rise entering the hairpin with a bump in the middle of the apex that pushes you wide around the bend. It is an exciting spot to try to pass other cars on the inside.”