Blancpain GT Series Asia race winners Aditya Patel and Darryl O’Young have confirmed their championship returns this season with OD Racing and Craft-Bamboo Racing, respectively.
Patel claimed three victories, including a memorable double at Zhejiang, but still narrowly missed out on GT3’s overall and Silver Cup titles last year. The Indian will be aiming to go one better in both championships this season when he again partners Mitch Gilbert aboard OD Racing’s Team WRT-run Audi R8 LMS GT3.
Patel had to hold off announcing his return but always intended to renew his successful partnership with OD Racing and Gilbert.
“I always knew I wanted to return to the series with the team as we still have unfinished business after last year,” he said. “OD Racing and Mitch have been a great source of support throughout and the season we had in 2017 was the most fun season in my race career, so to be able to be a part of that once again is fantastic. We are definitely going to work hard together to chase that championship that we missed.
“We have a strong package this year, with the support from WRT, to be able to fight for the title again. WRT is considered to be one of the best GT3 teams in the world with an impressive track record and I’m really looking forward to working with them this year. Once again I must thank Audi India for their continued support over the years.”
Patel is joined on the grid by another of 2017’s race winners, O’Young, who will partner Aidan Read at Craft-Bamboo Racing this year.
The Hong Kong driver, who claimed the 2015 GT Asia title with the same team, also gave Porsche its first regional GT3 pole position and victory with the current 991 GT3 R model last season.
He now teams up with 18-year-old Australian Read who announced his Craft-Bamboo switch in February after contesting the 2017 championship with FFF Racing Team. Both drivers, as well as the outfit’s second pairing of Sandy Stuvik and Shae Davies, will use Porsche’s updated ‘Evo’ iteration of the 991 GT3 R this year.
“I have had a long history as a driver with Craft-Bamboo Racing and I am really excited to be back in the second season of the Blancpain GT Series Asia,” said O’Young. “Last year we made a lot of progress with the Porsche, taking our first win and pole position in the series.
“I am really looking forward to starting this season strong. Last year we had a tough start to the year and then came back strong, so this year we are looking to make a championship challenge from the very beginning. I am very happy to be working with Aidan Read, he is a young talent who showed a lot of promise in his first year of GT3 racing and I believe we will work very well together with the aim of adding more wins to the team.”
Craft-Bamboo Racing also confirmed that reigning GT4 champions Jean-Marc Merlin and Frank Yu will defend their title aboard the team’s Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR.
Sepang hosts the opening round of this year’s Blancpain GT Series Asia campaign on April 14/15.