Rounds three and four to run at Autopolis International Circuit in Japan
The opening event of the GT Asia Series at Korea International Circuit provided an incredible start to the 2014 season. A late date change had impacted the number of teams who were able to relocate their cars from the Inje Circuit in the north of the country, to the impressive 5.6-kilometre Hermann Tilke-designed Formula One circuit on South Korea’s southwest tip, but for those that did there was praise all round for one of the best GT Asia Series races on record.
Teams have had just over a week to prepare for the second event of the championship at the Autopolis Circuit (in photo) in Oita Prefecture on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu for round three and four of the 2014 season.
Twenty-eight cars are entered for the Autopolis round, with 15 GT3-class cars and 13 GTM-class entries led by returning 2013 champion Wayne Shen and runaway Korean winner - local hero Takuma Aoki.
After back-to-back victories in Korea, the GT3 field will be out in pursuit of Davide Rizzo and Anthony Liu in the ‘Spirit of Race’ Ferrari 458 Italia, the former Carrera Cup Asia regulars were the standout performers at the opening event against some of the more established teams who in the end were unable to match the GT Asia Series rookies.
As a result there have been a number of driver changes on the Autopolis entry list, together with the addition of more cars in both classes.
Reigning GT Asia Series #2 Frank Yu is joined in Japan by former CRAFT regular Richard Lyons, whilst the Korean pole-sitting NB Team Aston Martin will see former IndyCar regular Joel Camathias step in alongside Sean Fu due to Andrea Caldarelli’s SuperGT commitments.
Clearwater Racing who held a strong advantage during practice and qualifying in Korea go into the Autopolis event with an unchanged lineup in their three cars, with former Carrera Cup Asia and Macau GT winner Keita Sawa expected to again figure at the front of the field. It also helps that last time the GT Asia Series was at Autopolis, team-boss Mok Weng Sun won the opening wet race (the second race was won by Marchy/Jeffrey Lee) which should list them amongst the outright favourites.
Of all the GT3 teams entered in the Autopolis events, arguably the most anticipated - especially amongst the Japanese fans - will be the GT Asia Series debut of the Nissan GT-R led by SuperGT veteran Tetsuya Tanaka and Japanese Formula 3 regular Motoyoshi Yoshida.
GTM will again be well subscribed, with 13-cars entered, including five Ferrari 458 Challenge cars from Taiwan Top Speed Racing. George Chou and Thomas Fjordbach will be hoping to go one better at Autopolis after finishing second to Takuma Aoki in Korea, but with 2013 title combatants Francis Tija and Wayne Shen back in action, they will have their work cut out for them.
The GT Asia Series returns to the 4.673-kilometre Autopolis for the first time since 2012 where that year’s champion Mok Weng Sun (Clearwater Racing Ferrari 458) and Jeffrey/Marchy Lee (Absolute Racing Audi R8) took race wins. In 2011 the victories went to former champions Dilantha Malagamuwa (who is part of the GT3 field this year) and Tunku Hammam.
2014 GT Asia Series - Autopolis International Circuit, Japan (May 29 - June 1) EVENT SCHEDULE;
Thursday, 29 May
1:00pm - Unofficial Practice #1 (60-minutes)
3:00pm - Unofficial Practice #2 (60-minutes)
Friday, 30 May 9:00am - Official Practice #1 (45-minutes)
11:15am - Official Practice #2 (45-minutes)
Saturday, 31 May 11:20am - Qualifying #1 (15-minutes)
11:45am - Qualifying #2 (15-minutes)
3:45pm - Race #1 (50-minutes)
Sunday, 1 June
10:30am - Race #2 (50-minutes)
WHO’S COMPETING AT AUTOPOLIS?
3. Mok Weng Sun (SIN)/Keita Sawa (JPN) - Clearwater Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3
5. Fu Song Yang (CHN)/Joel Camathias (MON) - NB Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3
7. Jeffrey Lee (TPE)/Marchy Lee (HKG) - Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra
9. Jiang Xin (CHN)/Wiser Massimiliano (ITA) - NB Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3
12. Richard Wee (SIN)/Craig Baird (NZL) - Clearwater Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3
13. Motoyoshi Yoshida (JPN)/Tetsuya Tanaka (JPN) - B-MAX Racing Team Nissan GT-R GT3
17. Sun Jing Zhu (CHN)/Ken Look (HKG) - Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra
24. Dilantha Malagamuwa (SRI)/Nathan Antunes (AUS) - Dilango Racing Gallardo FL2 GT3
32. Hiroshi Hamaguchi (JPN)/Rob Bell (GBR) - Clearwater Racing McLaren MP4-12C
37. Anthony Liu (CHN)/Davide Rizzo (HKG) - BBT Team by AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT3
38. Nasrat Muzayyin (SIN)/Rui Aguas (POR) - Spirit of Race by AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT3
96. Mike Chua (HKG)/Joseph Chua (HKG) - Mike Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3
97. Frank Yu (HKG)/Richard Lyons (GBR) - Craft Bamboo Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3
98. Alex Yoong (MAS)/Egidio Perfetti (SIN) - Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra
99. tbc - Craft Bamboo Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3
8. Keo Chang (TPE)/Robert Lee (TPE) - Taiwan Top Speed Racing Team Ferrari 458 Challenge
16. Wayne Shen (HKG) - Porsche GT3 Cup Car
18. Craig Liu (TPE)/Joe Hsu Cheng Chang (TPE) Taiwan Top Speed Racing Team 458 Challenge
21. Francis Tija (HKG) - Porsche GT3 Cup Car
22. K.S. Wang (TPE)/TBC - Taiwan Top Speed Racing Team Ferrari 458 Challenge
25. Christian Chia (CAN) - IMS Audi R8 LMS Cup
33. Fukujirou (JPN) - Team KRM Porsche GT3 Cup Car
34. Tajuma Aoki (JPN) - Dilango Racing Lamborghini Gallardo LP560 GT3
58. Nicholas Edwards (TPE)/Terry Fang (TPE) - Taiwan Top Speed Racing Team 458 Challenge
68. John Shen (HKG) - Porsche GT3 Cup Car
77. Jacky Yeung (HKG)/Keith Vong (MAC) - Tiger Racing Team Audi R8 LMS Cup
88. George Chou (TPE)/Thomas Fjordbach (DEN) - Taiwan Top Speed Ferrari 458 Challenge
92. Takashi Hata (JPN)/Aki Miyazaki (JPN) - Team KRM Porsche GT3 Cup Car
The GT Asia Series is sanctioned by the FIA as an International Series and is clearly recognised as the Region’s leading GT Championship. It is jointly managed and promoted by Motorsport Asia Ltd and the Supercar Club Hong Kong and is backed by Yokohama, GRAHAM, KW Automotive, Auto Art, Race Room, RacerLink and Tunewear.
GT Asia Series