The Audi R8 LMS Cup will make its debut at China’s newest race track, the Zhejiang International Circuit this weekend at the GT3 series’ 2017 season finale.
The Am+ Cup and Am Cup titles will be decided on the 3.2km FIA Grade 2 circuit, as well as the overall Cup runner-up. Rounds 9 and 10 will be held alongside the TCR International Series, giving fans the chance to see both the mighty Audi R8 LMS GT3 and the Audi RS 3 LMS TCR in action over the weekend.
“There is much to play for at the upcoming Audi R8 LMS Cup season finale,” said Martin Kuehl, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia.
“Each one of our drivers will be determined to end their seasons with victory, and the new Zhejiang Circuit represents an ideal level playing field. We also look forward to joining our fellow Audi competitors in the TCR International Series.”
While 24-year-old Belgian Alessio Picariello tied up the overall championship, his first career GT3 title, as well as the Team Cup for MGT by Absolute at the Shanghai International Circuit last month, clinching the title with a truly heart-pounding run to victory in Round 8, the entire Audi R8 LMS Cup field is guaranteed to be going all out to take the final two race victories of the season.
The fight for runner-up honors will be a five-way duel between China’s Cheng Congfu of FAW-VW Audi Racing Team (107 points), OD Racing Team’s Mitch Gilbert (99 points), reigning and triple Cup champion Alex Yoong in the official Audi R8 LMS Cup car (98 points), Shaun Thong of Audi TEDA Racing Team (91 points), and Estonian Martin Rump of Champion Racing Team (61 points).
Hong Kong’s Marchy Lee of Audi Hong Kong, Cup champion in 2012, and Team Audi Korea’s Kyong-Ouk You will each be looking to end their season with success at the Zhejiang Circuit.
Into the maelstrom add 22-year-old former single seater ace turned WRT Audi GT driver Jake Dennis, who makes his Audi R8 LMS Cup debut at the season finale with Castrol Racing Team.
The Briton began racing at the age of eight, going on to successfully progress through the junior single seater ranks, winning the prestigious McLaren BRDC Autosport Award along the way, before finishing fourth in the 2016 GP3 series.
He made the switch to GT competition at the start of this year, and his arrival in the Cup adds an exciting unknown element for the season-closing double header.
As an FIA Gold category guest driver, Dennis will start Round 9 with 20kg of success ballast.
For 21-year-old Chinese talent David Chen of the Tianshi Racing Team, who joined the Cup in Round 3 and has since taken four class wins, and reigning Am+ Cup champion, Jeffrey Lee of Team Audi Volkswagen Taiwan, the weekend will see the pair fight it out for the 2017 Am+ Cup title.
With 33 championship points between them, and a maximum of 52 up for grabs in Zhejiang, the stakes will be high as young gun Chen once again takes on established Cup star Lee.
In the chase for the Am Cup title, Thailand’s Bhurit Bhirombhakdi of Singha Plan-B Motorsport will go head-to-head with China’s Sun Jingzu of Milestone Racing.
The pair have raced together twice this season, with Bhirombhakdi taking both class wins at Japan’s Suzuka Circuit, but Sun snatching a double victory in Shanghai in September.
The Zhejiang Circuit, located 200km south of Shanghai, includes 16 turns and a number of exhilarating elevations.
The Audi R8 LMS Cup will share the new circuit with the TCR International Series, who is holding the penultimate rounds of its 2017 season there. Swiss touring car star Stefano Comini currently lies third in the championship having taken two wins so far this season in his Audi RS 3 LMS TCR.
Rounds 9 and 10 will be available on live stream to Cup fans around the world. To watch the races in English, please go to www.audir8lmscup.com, while the Chinese live stream will be available through Cup partners PPTV and Youku.