> Ultra-successful Audi squad embarks on full-season Blancpain GT Series Asia assault
2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia runners-up OD Racing and Mitch Gilbert will return to the championship this year with a Team WRT-run Audi R8 LMS GT3.
Gilbert and co-driver Aditya Patel missed out on the GT3 Drivers’ title by a single point last season after winning both races at Zhejiang’s season finale, while OD Racing – whose Audi was then run by Absolute Racing – finished second in the Teams’ standings despite fielding only one car.
Their bid to go one better in 2018 has seen the Malaysian team and driver switch to ultra-successful Audi squad Team WRT, whose list of achievements include 11 European Blancpain GT Series titles as well as race wins at the Total 24 Hours of Spa, Nurburgring 24 Hours, Sepang 12 Hours, FIA GT World Cup in Macau and, most recently, this year’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
The Belgian outfit made a one-off Blancpain GT Series Asia appearance at Sepang last season, but 2018 will represent a first opportunity to add another title to its already impressive collection.
“Asia has been on our bucket list for a few years now but it is only since 2017 that we have found a good way to do it,” said Team WRT boss Vincent Vosse. “It has been an immediate success with several wins in the Audi R8 LMS Cup.
“An opportunity arose during the winter to collaborate with OD and Mitch, and it became quite clear to us that it was the right move and we also felt at ease with them. To enter Blancpain GT Series Asia is a logical step for WRT, after so many successes in the European Blancpain series. It is like all the planets were aligned and we are definitely all looking forward to hit the tracks together!”
OD Racing Team WRT director Cornelius Ee added:
“That one point margin may have lost us the championship but it only made us more determined. We promised to return to fight for the win this year and here we are in the new year, doing just that.
“We have the opportunity to partner with the renowned race team, WRT, a team that Audi Sport have entrusted to run their factory cars in Europe. Like us, WRT may not have been around for very long but their impressive successes and solid experience with Audi in the European races is sure to be an advantage for us moving forward.
“We will definitely be aiming higher this year and with the help of WRT, we are confident of a good season.
“OD Racing is also happy to continue their relationship with Audi Customer Racing Asia in 2018. Their on track support was key to last year’s title assault, and they are keen to continue this.
“No doubt the competition will be tougher than last year and after seeing the early confirmations from teams, there is a long road ahead but we are glad to once again have Mitch on our side and have the expertise of WRT to get us to our goal.”
OD Racing will confirm Gilbert’s co-driver in due course.
This season’s six-round, 12-race Blancpain GT Series Asia campaign begins at Sepang in Malaysia on April 14/15.