Drivers in this year’s Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup are not only vying for the end-of-year title but also race seats in the 2019 Total 24 Hours of Spa, as part of a new incentive from Audi Sport customer racing Asia.
The “Road to Spa” promotion sees the highest points-scorer from each country on the Cup’s calendar secure a seat in an Audi R8 LMS GT3 car for next year’s Belgian endurance classic.
Andrew Haryanto, who took his ProMax Team Audi R8 LMS GT3 to victory in the season-opening round at Adelaide, has claimed the first of four seats in the car, with Bhurit Bhirombhakdi’s sweep of the weekend at the Nürburgring securing a seat for the Thai driver.
Combined points from the four rounds in China, at Ningbo International Speedway and Shanghai International Circuit, plus season finale in Sepang, will determine the remainder of the lineup for the 2019 race.
According to Audi Sport customer racing Asia director Martin Kuehl, the unique initiative gives drivers and teams an added prize at the end of each leg of the Cup, which made its debut on European and Australian soil this year.
“The structure of the Cup from this year is that we decided to have a core group of full-season Asians,” Kuehl told Sportscar365. “They are, more or less, battling for the overall championship.
“But then again we also knew that because we went to places like Australia and Germany where our competition is also of interest for the local teams, and wanted them to join in with us.
“So we thought about this Spa idea and decided to do it like that.
“Even if you just join in for races in one country, there’s something you can battle for as a single-event. If you come as a single entry, of course, you will not fight for the overall [championship] but you will fight for the Spa seat.”
Kuehl said details, such as the identity of the team that will run the car in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup round, are still being determined.
“It’s still under discussion” he said. “But it will be an Audi team, and some teams have more experience at Spa than others.
“Of course we will align this closely with Audi AG and Audi Sport customer racing and find the most efficient and professional way to do it.”