GT Asia Series; Bentley on top in South Korea in changeable conditions

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Day one of the official GT Asia Series pre-season test at Korea International Circuit saw teams presented with changeable conditions, ultimately robbing us of what could have been some impressive lap times. Sadly, day two dawned just as day one had finished, with persistent rain, although despite low light and cool temperatures, teams were able to collect some valuable data late in the day as a workable dry line started to appear.

As to what we really discovered about what the title protagonists were capable of, it’s difficult to say. Ultimately the three Absolute Team Bentley cars finished on top, with new recruit Jonathan Venter taking advantage of a new set of control Michelin slicks to top the timesheets a mere 27 one thousandths faster than team-mate Andrew Palmer, with Adderly Fong third.

The two-day program may have allowed teams to get some serious miles under their belts, however as it was an unofficial session with respect to the championship, teams were free to test and change things at their leisure, so some took the chance to run outside the limitations of the BoP [Balance of Performance], Franky Cheng’s opening day pace without the mandated restrictor a good indication of that (the part was caught in customs and wasn’t available on the opening day).

In many cases – Craft-Bamboo Racing a perfect example – teams used the two-day program to learn more about the cars, to give the teams a chance to learn more about the way the cars worked, and allow their drivers to come to terms with the South Korean circuit.

Naiyanobh ‘Toy’ Bhirombhakdi was a prime example, the Thai tin-top star having never driven a GT3 car prior to arriving at KIC, so he used the two days to good effect to acclimatise himself with the #91 VLT Porsche GT3-R he will share with reigning champion Darryl O’Young.

With weather predictions across the opening two races of the season suggesting one dry race and potentially one wet race, most teams ventured out at some point during the rain to record laps, the experienced Richard Lyons making the most of his maiden laps in the Craft-Bamboo Interush Porsche, ultimately topping the timesheets in the wet first session of day two, more than two seconds faster than the Venter/Sawa Bentley.

Third in the wet and fifth in the dry were Lamborghini Squadra Corse juniors Andrea Amici and Edo Liberati, the two Italians enjoying their experience behind the wheel of the FFF Racing Team by ACM Huracan, logging 118 laps across the two days.

The team that turned the most miles though was three-time champions Clearwater Racing who spent 122 laps getting the Series’ most successful ever driver – Mok Weng Sun – up to speed, whilst new team-mate Richie Wee also enjoyed his first laps in the new Ferrari 488 GT3.

“It’s different,” three-time champion Mok admitted. “It’s got a lot more grip than the 458 with much better aero, but we’re losing a lot of straight line speed at the moment, something the team will investigate before Friday, we’re down 13kph in a straight line on the 458, so we need to address that.”

Again the only GTC car to turn laps was Kantasak Kusiri who was mixing it with the GT3 cars during the wet sessions, the Singha Plan-B Motorsport Ferrari 458 Challenge car turning 72 laps across the two days to put the team in the box seat for top points for the opening round, rival Suttiluck Buncharoen not arriving at the circuit until Friday, whilst the GTM class Lamborghini of Dilantha Malagamuwa and Armaan Ebrahim also spent the two days in the garage.

For the 16-teams they now have two days to process the data they’ve recorded and work to make the most of that information ahead of the three official one hour practice sessions scheduled for the opening event of the season.

All the action from the 2016 GT Asia Series will play out ‘live’ on Fox Sports Asia, and online. Details of the streams and the broadcast times will be available on the GT Asia Series website – www.gtasiaseries.com – and through social media; www.facebook.com/GTAsiaSeries will also post news, video clips, images and updates, and you can also get involved in the conversation on www.twitter.com/GTAsiaSeries

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 solely managed and promoted by Motorsport Asia Ltd and is backed by Michelin, KW Automotive, Motul, Race Room, Panta, YOFC and Tunewear.

Korea International Circuit, South Korea (10 May)
Official Testing Session#3 (9:00-12:00pm)
1. Lyons/ Yu (Craft Bamboo Racing Porsche GT3-R) – 2:25.903
2. Venter/Sawa (Absolute Racing Bentley Continental GT3) – 2:28.537
3. Amici/Liberati (FFF Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3) – 2:28.732
4. O’Young/Bhirombakdi (Craft Bamboo Racing Porsche GT3-R) – 2:29.219
5. Cheng/Sun (Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 2:29.273
6. Palmer/Inthraphuvasak (Absolute Racing Bentley Continental GT3) – 2:30.303
7. Mok/Wee (Clearwater Racing Ferrari 488 GT3) – 2:30.999
8. Kurisi/Bhirombhakdi (Singha Plan-B Motorsport Ferrari 458 Challenge) – 2:31.145
9. Carlo Van Dam (Singha Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) – 2:31.849
10. Davide Rizzo (BBT Ferrari 488 GT3) – 2:34,130

Official Testing Session#4 (2:00-6:00pm)
1. Venter/Sawa (Absolute Racing Bentley Continental GT3) – 2:10.003
2. Palmer/Inthraphuvasak (Absolute Racing Bentley Continental GT3) – 2:10.030
3. Fong/Kim (Absolute Racing Bentley Continental GT3) – 2:10.644
4. Lyons/ Yu (Craft Bamboo Racing Porsche GT3-R) – 2:11.128
5. Amici/Liberati (FFF Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3) – 2:11.441
6. Carlo Van Dam (Singha Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) – 2:11.572
7. Lee/Thong (Phoenix Racing Asia Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 2:11.726
8. Cheng/Sun (Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 2:12.218
9. O’Young/Bhirombakdi (Craft Bamboo Racing Porsche GT3-R) – 2:12.245
10. Davide Rizzo (BBT Ferrari 488 GT3) – 2:14.473
11. Yoong/Au (Phoenix Racing Asia Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 2:20.567
12. Mok/Wee (Clearwater Racing Ferrari 488 GT3) – 2:28.539
3
13. Kurisi/Bhirombhakdi (Singha Plan-B Motorsport Ferrari 458 Challenge) – 2:30.045


KOREA INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT
Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Jeolla (South Korea)
Track length: 5.620-kilometres
Corners: 18
Rotation: anti-clockwise
Circuit first opened: 11 October, 2010
Lap record: 2:06.484 – Race (Andrea Caldarelli), 2:06.667 – Qualifying (Richard Lyons)
website: www.gtasiaseries.com
Support classes: TCR Asia Series, Clio Cup Asia, Asian Formula Renault

GT ASIA AND KOREA INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT
2015 – Rnd#1 (60-minutes – 27-laps)
Pole position: Richard Lyons (Craft-Bamboo Aston Martin Vantage GT3) – 2:06.667
1. Anthony Liu/Davide Rizzo (BBT Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
2. Mok Weng Sun/James Calado (Clearwater Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
3. Frank Yu/Richard Lyons (Craft Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3)

2015 – Rnd#2 (60-minutes – 27-laps)
Pole position: Jonathan Venter (Craft-Bamboo Aston Martin Vantage GT3) – 2:08.243
1. Darryl O’Young/Jonathan Venter (Craft Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3)
2. Anthony Liu/Davide Rizzo (BBT Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
3. Adderly Fong/Keita Sawa (Absolute Team Bentley Continental GT3)

2014 – Rnd#1 (60-minutes – 25-laps)
Pole position: Andrea Caldarelli (NB Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3) – 2:07.608
1. Anthony Liu/Davide Rizzo (BBT Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
2. Hiroshi Hamaguchi/Rob Bell (Clearwater Racing McLaren MP4-12C GT3)
3. Frank Yu/Warren Luff (Craft Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3)

2014 – Rnd#2 (60-minutes – 27-laps)
Pole position: Rui Aguas (Spirit of Race Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) – 2:08.548
1. Anthony Liu/Davide Rizzo (BBT Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
2. Hiroshi Hamaguchi/Rob Bell (Clearwater Racing McLaren MP4-12C GT3)
3. Jiang Xin/Max Wiser (NB Team Aston Martin vantage GT3)

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Rnd#1/#2 – 2016 GT Asia Series
Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea
Times (KST – GMT +9)
Friday, 13 May
9:40 – Practice #1 (60-minutes)
13:00 – Practice #2 (60-minutes)
14:10 – Practice #3 (60-minutes)

Saturday, 14 May
9:50 – Qualifying #1 (15-minutes)
10:15 – Qualifying #2 (15-minutes)
15:20 – Race#1 (60-minutes)

Sunday, 15 May
14:00 – Race#2 (60-minutes)

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2016 GT Asia Series – calendar
TEST DAYS, 9-10 May – Korea International Circuit (South Korea)
Rnd#1/#2, 13-15 May – Korea International Circuit (South Korea)
Rnd#3/#4, 10-12 June – Buriram International Circuit (Thailand)
Rnd#5/#6, 1-3 July – Okayama International Circuit (Japan)
Rnd#7/#8, 15-17 July – Fuji International Speedway (Japan)
Rnd#9/#10, 19-21 August – Shanghai International Circuit (China)
Rnd#11/#12, 21-23 October – Zhejiang Circuit (China)

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