Phoenix Racing Asia has confirmed Marchy Lee and Shaun Thong, as well as Alex Au and Alex Yoong, as its two driver crews for this season’s inaugural Blancpain GT Series Asia campaign.
The Hong Kong-based outfit, which works closely with its German counterpart, was one of the first leading contenders to announce its Blancpain GT Series Asia programme but has waited until now to unveil the pairings that will race its two Audi R8 LMS GT3s this season.
Lee and Thong will share the squad’s #5 Audi Hong Kong entry, while Au and Yoong race under #6’s Team Audi R8 LMS Cup banner.
The familiar driver line-up is the same as Phoenix employed during its maiden 2016 campaign when the squad finished second in the GT Asia teams’ championship at its first attempt.
Two victories for Lee and Thong helped them finish as overall runners-up, while the latter also secured the Pro/Am class title. Meanwhile, ex-Formula 1 driver Yoong and his co-driver Au also scored a victory en route to sixth in the final drivers’ standings.
Lee, who was responsible for establishing Phoenix Racing’s Asian arm at the end of 2015, is one of the region’s best known and most successful racing drivers. A former Formula BMW Asia champion, he made his name racing GT cars and, in 2012, won the Audi R8 LMS Cup title. His CV also includes second place in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and runner-up at the Macau Grand Prix GT race.
Meanwhile, his co-driver Thong has already packed plenty into a short career. The 21-year-old, also from Hong Kong, initially raced single-seaters in Europe before switching to GTs and sports-prototypes. He has twice raced at the Nurburgring 24 Hours, once at the Motul Sepang 12 Hours and also made several Blancpain GT Series appearances. However, his biggest achievement remains finishing second in last season’s GT Asia standings alongside Lee.
Phoenix Racing Asia’s second entry features two drivers with much experience of the R8 LMS GT3. Yoong might be best known for his Formula 1 and A1GP careers but the Malaysian has also tasted great success in various Asian GT categories, including three consecutive Audi R8 LMS Cup China titles. He’s joined by amateur driver Au, whose GT career has been largely spent at the wheel of Audis.
Marchy Lee, Phoenix Racing Asia: “Phoenix Racing Asia enjoyed a fantastic first season in 2016, and obviously continuity will be very important if we’re to hit the ground running in Blancpain GT Series Asia this year. We were very happy with the existing driver pairings and saw no reason to change anything. Shaun was one of the standout new drivers last season, while Alex and Alex’s partnership grew ever stronger throughout the year. So I think we’re in good shape to mount a serious challenge.”
The opening round of this season’s Blancpain GT Series Asia campaign takes place at Sepang in Malaysia this weekend (April 8/9).
2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia Schedule
April 8/9 - Sepang, Malaysia
May 20/21 - Chang International Circuit, Thailand
June 24/25 - Suzuka, Japan
August 19/20 - Fuji Speedway, Japan
September 23/24 - Shanghai, China
October 21/22 - Zhejiang, China