KCMG announces long-awaited return with Ip, Liberati and Honda

KCMG announces long-awaited return with Ip, Liberati and Honda

KCMG will make its long-awaited Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS return this year after lodging a full-season GT3 entry.

Team owner and championship debutant Paul Ip will share a Honda NSX GT3 with Edoardo Liberati who finished sixth overall in 2018 driving one of KCMG’s two Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s. The second scored an overall race win at Fuji while Takuya Shirasaka and Naoto Takeda clinched that year’s GT3 Am drivers’ title at the wheel of a KCMG-prepared Audi.

That was the final season of KCMG’s involvement. But now the Hong Kong squad, which has overseen high-profile motorsport programmes in a wide variety of categories all over the world, is returning to its roots.

Ip might be new to Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia but he does have experience of the NSX with which he and KCMG have contested both editions of the FIA Motorsport Games. Meanwhile, his last full-season Asian campaign came in 2015-16 when he won the Asian Le Mans Series’ GT-Am class crown.

Liberati, meanwhile, has been part of KCMG’s various GT programmes since the team last raced in Asia. However, his greatest achievement came last year when he won the Italian GT Championship.

“I’m delighted to be taking on a new challenge this season in Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia with my team,” said Ip. “SRO has done an amazing job to rebuild the championship since the global pandemic and assemble the region’s most competitive GT3 grid. It’s going to be really exciting to race alongside Edo, who won the Italian GT Championship last year, and see what we can achieve with the Honda NSX GT3. 

“It’s been a while since I’ve raced in Asia, particularly in Japan, and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s something that I personally truly enjoy, and hopefully we can put in some positive performances.”

Liberati is also looking forward to his Asia return after racing at the likes of Spa and the Nurburgring with KCMG. 

“I’m so excited to be back racing in Asia, it’s something I’ve always enjoyed and now travel is easier, I can’t wait to get over there again,” he said. “Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia is a very challenging and competitive championship, so I’m really looking forward to sharing this journey with Paul and the team. KCMG is like a second family for me, I trust them and thank them for their belief in me. I’m sure we have a strong car and can be competitive throughout the season.”

Team manager Matt Howson added: “It’s exciting to be returning to GT3 competition in Asia with KCMG. SRO’s series looks to be especially impressive this year and will provide a high level of competition for the drivers and a good challenge for the team. It’s always a pleasure to have Paul racing within his own team, and along with KCMG superstar Edo we’ll be pushing for strong results right from the beginning. We’re looking forward to getting the season started.”

Chang International Circuit kickstarts this year’s six-round Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS campaign on May 12-14.