Pro-Am champ Inthraphuvasak partners Picariello at Absolute Racing

Pro-Am champ Inthraphuvasak partners Picariello at Absolute Racing

2019 runner-up Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak makes his Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS return this season alongside Alessio Picariello in the second of Absolute Racing’s new Porsche 911 GT3 Rs.

The Thai driver was also Pro-Am champion four years ago but, like many, couldn’t compete domestically throughout the pandemic. He did, however, manage to race at Le Mans in 2020 and ’21 at the wheel of a Porsche 911 RSR.

Now he returns to pan-Asia motorsport eager to go one better than his overall second place finish in 2019 when he drove a previous generation 911 GT3 R run by Absolute Racing under the Panther/AAS Motorsport banner.

“I am thrilled to be racing with Absolute Racing and Porsche again this year,” he said. “In 2019, I had an incredible journey in Fanatec GT Asia, which is the pinnacle of GT racing for amateur drivers in Asia. Being out of the cockpit during most of the pandemic made me miss racing even more, and I am eager to get back in full-time with the Porsche and Alessio alongside me. I am confident we will have a great season together!”

Picariello is also a Fanatec GT Asia winner and well known to Absolute with whom he raced in Formula Masters China and then won the 2017 Audi R8 LMS Cup. He has also represented the team twice at Le Mans and in the European Le Mans Series last year.

A packed 2023 programme, which also includes FIA WEC, ELMS and Nurburgring Endurance Series commitments, has restricted the Belgian to four of this season’s six Fanatec GT Asia events. The Porsche driver’s replacement will be confirmed at a later date.

“I’m happy to be returning to Asia after nearly four years,” said Picariello. “It's exciting to be back. Asia has always been important to me because it’s where I was able to restart my career, so I’ve always wanted to be involved in Asia somehow. Although I’m really busy in Europe this year and can only participate in four rounds, I'm looking forward to enjoying it fully, especially being back with Absolute Racing and sharing the car with Vuthi, who is not only a really fast driver but also a really nice person. I'm really looking forward to it.”

#911 joins Absolute’s previously announced #992 Porsche – featuring Bao Jinlong and Alex Imperatori – on this year’s entry list. The team is also running two Audis, the second of which will be revealed shortly.

“With Vuthi and Alessio on board and joining our already strong line-up of Bao and Alex in the first car for our return to the Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia grid, we’re confident that we’ll be challenging for overall victories from round one of the season with our Porsche 911 GT3 R cars,” said team director Fabien Fior. “Both Vuthi and Alessio won races with Absolute Racing in the past, and we know first-hand their high motivation to succeed this season.”

2023’s six-round, 12-race campaign begins on Inthraphuvasak’s home turf at Chang International Circuit on May 12-14 before Fanatec Japan Cup events at Fuji, Suzuka, Motegi and Okayama make up the championship’s summer stretch. Sepang then closes out the season in September.