Recent Sepang 12 Hours winners Andrew Haryanto and James Yu Kuai will team up in the second of Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS entries this season.
Theirs represents Absolute’s fourth and final full-season driver pairing following prior confirmation of another Audi and two Porsche crews. And the team’s latest Pro-Am duo promises to be a victory contender thanks to a mix of youth and experience.
The latter concerns Haryanto who was Fanatec GT Asia Am class runner-up in 2017. He also has two one-make championship titles to his name, including the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup in 2018, as well as a class win at the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa. His CV also features two recent outings at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
It’s from the latter programme that Absolute’s #11 Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II takes its livery. Designed along the lines of 'diversity', the core theme is to represent all nations and creeds, but instead of human figures, the design uses rubber ducks! It will be the first time that the fan-favourite livery is seen in Asia.
“The competition seems to be very strong in Fanatec GT Asia, so I will focus on learning what I can from the team to give us a fighting chance,” said Haryanto.
His co-driver Yu was recruited to the Audi Sport Asia Junior Programme at the start of last season ahead of a China Endurance Championship tilt alongside fellow junior Cao Zhuo. Now the 22-year-old Chinese spreads his wings further afield where his development will be measured against a strong international, multi-manufacturer entry.
“I am glad to partner with Andrew in Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia this year as an Audi Sport Asia driver,” he said. “Everyone involved has been working extremely hard to make this opportunity possible, and I feel very grateful for it. I cherish this chance to race in a highly competitive environment, and I believe that we will achieve good results this year.”
The duo and team head to Fanatec GT Asia full of confidence following a winning debut together at the Sepang 12 Hours in March alongside Audi Sport ace Markus Winkelhock.
“We are thrilled to unite one of the fastest gentleman drivers in Asia with one of the most promising racing drivers from the region,” said team director Ingo Matter. “With a long history of assembling strong Pro/Am pairings, the opportunity to pair them together was an immensely exciting prospect that felt absolutely right.
“James has been with the team since he was 16 years old. It will be great to see him compete at the highest level. Andrew won the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup with us in 2018 and had two very strong years in Europe. With both drivers, we have won a lot of races, and now, combined, we want to carry the momentum of the Sepang 12 Hours.”
2023’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia season begins at Chang International Circuit in Thailand on May 12-14 before Fuji opens the Fanatec Japan Cup ‘championship within a championship’ one month later. Suzuka, Motegi and Okayama complete the four-round domestic series, while Sepang in Malaysia closes out the campaign.