Absolute Racing will enter three Audi R8 LMS GT3s in Blancpain GT Series Asia this season, which begins at Sepang in Malaysia this weekend (April 14/15).
The China-based squad claimed three victories in 2017 but saw Mitch Gilbert and Aditya Patel miss out on the Drivers’ crown by just one point. The duo’s switch to WRT for the upcoming campaign has prompted a major re-jig at Absolute, which includes entering a third Audi – one more than the team previously announced back in February.
Cheng Congfu remains with the team but now forms an all-Silver pairing with 2015 Formula Masters China champion Martin Rump, who moves across from KCMG. Their credentials are underlined by Audi Sport naming both amongst its official 2018 Asia customer racing driver pool, while Cheng will also fulfil a mentoring role with the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup.
Meanwhile, and following a season spent on opposite sides of Absolute’s garage, Andrew Kim and Adderly Fong have been reunited in the first of the team’s two Pro/Am-entered R8s. Both raced Absolute-run Bentleys in Pirelli World Challenge and China GT last year but are now reprising a partnership that finished third in GT Asia’s 2016 standings.
Like Cheng, Hong Kong native Fong has also been named as an Audi R8 LMS Cup mentor.
The team’s third car is driven by Anthony Liu and Josh Burdon. Chinese driver Liu won Race 2 at Sepang last season as part of BBT’s Ferrari squad before switching to an Audi for a one-off outing at Fuji. He’s joined by former Asian Formula Renault champion Josh Burdon who finished runner-up in both the LMP3 China Series and 2017/2018 Asian Le Mans Series’ LMP3 class.
“The whole team is very excited about the challenges and season ahead,” said team manager Michael Schneider. “We’re thrilled to add Martin and Josh to our line-up for this year. Together with Anthony, Andrew, Adderly and Cheng we have no doubt that we will be competitive from the word go. We expect the competition to be tougher than ever this year but here we don’t have to hide our ambition. We have done the best job we possibly could over the winter and we'll give it everything we've got and more to win the championship.”
Absolute Racing is pleased to welcome Paragon Water Systems China as a partner of the team. Paragon Water Systems China will be displayed prominently on the #37 Audi R8 LMS GT3 from the first race in Sepang and will be seen on other Absolute Racing cars in different series. Paragon Water Systems is a world leading water purification system provider with a great commitment to create a better living environment. Established in 1988 in Clearwater, Florida, US, Paragon expanded into China in 2002, opening manufacture facilities in Xiamen and sales office in Shanghai.
Jim Ellis, Paragon Water Systems China President, said, “We’re delighted to partner with Absolute Racing, one of the most recognized and trusted racing teams in Asia. This partnership will allow us to grow our presence in the Chinese market and support our international growth. We’re looking forward to a productive season together.”
As well as Fong, Cheng and Rump, fellow Blancpain GT Series Asia driver Mitch Gilbert has also been added to Audi Sport’s Asian customer racing driver pool for 2018.