Category Archives: Blancpain GT Series Asia

Win For HubAuto Corsa’s Lester And Foster In Race One At Ningbo. GruppeM Racing Team Takes GT4 Victory. (13.10.18)

Photo: Blancpain GT Series Asia

Nick Foster and Jono Lester, piloting the 27 HubAuto Corsa Ferrari F488 GT3 took the victory in Race One of the 2018 Blancpain GT Series Asia season finale double-header at Ningbo International Speedpark, China, finishing 2.502 seconds ahead of the #3 Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 driven by Franky Cheng Congfu and, bringing the car home, Martin Rump.

Completing the overall podium positions was the #97 Indigo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Roelof Bruins and Manual Metzger, finishing 2.300 seconds behind the #97 entry.

In the GT4 category the win went to the #666 GruppeM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT4 with the #81 BMW Team Studie BMW M4 GT4, driven by Sunako Jukuchou and Takayuki Kinoshita in second.

Nico Bastian, behind the wheel of the #999 GruppeM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT4, led the field away from pole position. There was drama, however, as the grid turned into the first corner with Bastian being hit form behind, forcing the #999 entry intro the gravel and retirement. Further incidents during the opening two corners saw the retirements of the #23 KCMG Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 driven by Edoardo Liberati, the #37 Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS of Anthony Liu and the #911 Craft-Bamboo Racing Porsche 991 GT3 R of Sandy Stuvik.

The Safety Car was deployed to allow safe recovery of the stricken vehicles, resulting in the race being neutralised for over 15 minutes.

Nico Bastian, out at Turn One, was not impressed with driving standards at the race start.

“I was braking as normal at the first corner because you have to pay attention because you don’t win races in the first corner and then I got a big hit so there has to one guy who totally misjudged his braking point and shot me off,” said Bastian. “It’s a real disaster for the team and for Patric who is fighting for the championship. I don’t really understand why people drive like this and they go all-in at the first corner.”

Dennis Lind, in the #19 FFF Racing Team by ACM Lamborghini Huracán GT3 had the lead at the restart, followed by Jono Lester in the #27 HubAuto Corsa Ferrari and Frank Cheng Congfu in the #3 Absolute Racing Audi.

Lind starting to a pull a gap to Lester, fully aware of the 15-second success penalty that the #27 car would have to serve at the pit stop. As the pit window opened Lind elected to stay out to see if the gap could be widened further.

After the driver changes had cycled through, it was the #27 HubAuto Corsa entry, now with Nick Foster at the wheel, who held the lead over Martin Rump in the #3 Absolute Racing entry.

However, the one-hour race saw further disruption when the #11 TTR Team SARD Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR, piloted by Brian Lee, stopped at T17 and had to recovered, requiring a second Safety Car deployment.

As the race drew to a close, Raffaele Marciello, 2018 Blancpain GT Series Overall, Endurance and Sprint Cup Drivers Champion went on a charge, putting in the fastest race alp with 1:242.193 and moving the #888 GruppeM Racing Team Mercedes up to fifth. As the race finished, however, it was announced that the #888 car was under investigation for an unsafe release so the result is provisional.

HubAuto Corsa’s Nick Foster and Jono Lester were delighted with the victory.

“This guy (Jono Lester) is a wizard!” said Nick Foster. “He starts P7 and he comes out P2. The team has worked super-hard between Shanghai and now. No one’s been here before so come out here and have this kind of place is unreal. They just handed me a rocket ship and I could just do what I do so I’m just super–stoked.

“We’ve got to stop making it so hard for ourselves,” said Jono Lester. “But it seems to be working and we’ve found the right formula. We had a good start and stuffed it right in there and were amongst it. We were quite lucky to avoid all that (the incidents). After we came out in second place, it was management – we weren’t going to change tyres so it was just about making sure that Nick could get to the end. The car was a rocket. It was quicker than in qualifying – at least on my part. We’ll carry a penalty in to tomorrow but anything could happen. With a third place starting position it means we’re in a much better starting position than in Shanghai.”

The lights go out for Race Two, Round 12 and the final round of the Blancpain GT Series Asia, at 10:55 local time on Sunday October 14.

All To Play For As Blancpain GT Series Asia Reaches Season Finale At Ningbo (10.10.18)

The 2018 Blancpain GT Series Asia reaches its season finale at Ningbo International Speedpark, Ningbo, China on October 13 – 14, concluding the second year of SRO-organised top-level GT racing in Asia.

27 entries will take to the grid for Rounds 11 and 12, 19 in the GT3 class and eight in the GT4 category, for two one-hour races around the 23 corners of the 4.105 kms circuit, which first opened in August 2017.

There are seven changes to the GT3 entry list from the previous round at Shanghai. In the #5 Bentley Team Phoenix Racing Bentley Continental GT3 Andre Couto replaces 2017 GT3 Silver champion Marchy Lee and in the #97 Indigo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Manuel Metzger replaces Juwun Seo to partner Roelof Bruins.

Missing from the GT3 category from the previous round will be the #45 KCMG Audi R8 LMS, driven Naoto Taleda and Takuya Shirasaka, the #59 Singha Plan-B Absolute Racing Audi of Jingzu Sun and Bhurit Bhirombhakdi, the #66 Anstone Racing Mercedes of Massimilliano Wiser and David Chen Weian and the sister #71 entry, previously driven by Xu Wei and Naoki Yokomizo and the #8080 JR-M Porsche 991 GT3 R of Li Chao and Chris Van der Drift.

In the GT4 class Justin McMillan will race as a solo driver in the #10 M Motorsport KTM X-Bow GT4 after Dean Koutsoumidis was prevented from attending due to personal commitments while Masahiko Ida partners with Leo Chang in the Taiwan Top Speed Racing Team Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR, previously driven by Jeremy Wang. Completing the changes in the GT4 entry list is the inclusion of Naomi Zhang to partner with Diana Rosario to form the first all-female driver line-up in Blancpain GT Series Asia history.

With 50 points on offer to the winner over the weekend’s two races, the overall GT3 drivers title is wide open with, potentially, ten drivers with a mathematical possibility of lifting the title. With two wins, at Suzuka and Shanghai and two second places, at Sepang and Chang, the #19 FFF Racing team by ACM pairing of Dennis Lind and Martin Kodric head the standings on 135 points with the GruppeM Racing Team’s Patric Niederhauser 12 points behind on 123 points. Nick Foster, driver of the #27 HubAuto Corsa Ferrari F488 GT3 is the only other driver on triple points in the standings, currently lying fourth with 115 points.

2017-Teams Champion GruppeM Racing Team head the Teams standings in the premier class on 233 points, seven points ahead of FFF Racing Team By ACM.

The overall GT4 drivers standings are headed by Reinhold Renger, driver of the GruppeM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT4, the German driver ahead of the BMW Team Studie driver pairing of Takayuki Kinashita and Sunako Jukuchou by 11 points with Renger currently on 172 points. Ringo Chong, driver of the #72 Team iRace.Win Mercedes-AMG GT4 sits in third place in the drivers standings on 147 points.

Track action for the Blancpain GT Series Asia grid gets underway at 12:40 local time (05:40 UK time) on Friday October 12 with the first practice session. The first of the two 15-minute qualifying sessions begins at 11:35 (04:35 UK time) on Saturday October 13.

The lights go out for the first of the weekend’s one-hour races at 15:20 local time (08:20 UK time) on October 13 with the final round of the season getting underway on Sunday October 14 at 10:55 local time (03:55 UK time).