> Chia/Mac and Cao/Ling share Chinese team’s two Audis
Phantom Pro Racing Team has confirmed a two-car Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS entry for the upcoming campaign, which begins at Chang International Circuit in Thailand on May 12-14.
Its pair of Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO 2s are shared by team owner Chris On Chia and Mikkel Mac, and Cao Qi and Ling Kang.
The Chinese team made its only appearance to date on home turf in Shanghai at the end of 2019 ahead of a planned full-season assault. The global pandemic prevented that from happening, but with travel across Asia now possible, an increasing number of Chinese drivers can compete once again.
Phantom’s first Audi features the only one of its four drivers to have previously contested a Fanatec GT Asia round. Chia was part of the line-up that raced at Shanghai in 2019 when his team entered a Mercedes-AMG GT3. He won the Audi Sport Asia Trophy and China Endurance Championship in 2022.
“This year’s race schedule is very various, with six tracks spanning three countries, five of which are brand new to me, which will be a big challenge for me,” he said. “Being able to race with the top drivers in Asia this year, I think it is a very good exercise and improvement for the team and drivers. I hope that the two cars of our team can achieve good results this year.”
Chia is joined by Danish pro Mac who won his domestic Super GT series last season after previously racing at a high level across Europe. Indeed, his CV also includes ELMS and GT Open titles, as well as experience with several GT3 manufacturers.
“I am very happy and honoured to become part of the Phantom Pro Racing Team, and I’m looking forward to competing in Fanatec GT Asia as a team-mate to Chris,” he said. “The circuits we are going to race on are amazing.”
Two Chinese drivers join forces in Phantom’s second entry. Cao and Ling have previously raced together and apart for the team in the China GT and Endurance Championships, as well as at Macau where Ling finished an impressive fourth overall last season.
That result came at the wheel of a Lamborghini, but both drivers also have extensive experience of the Audi they’ll race throughout 2023.
“I am very excited to be able to participate in this year’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia, which is a very high-level championship,” said Cao. “Participating in Fanatec GT Asia has been a dream of mine for many years since I first began racing, and I have always wanted to compete with other drivers in the championship. I can learn a lot from racing against world-class drivers, and I look forward to doing so this year.”
Kang added: “I am very happy to join Phantom Pro Racing for our first attack on Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia, and am also looking forward to partnering my friend Cao Qi who is a very experienced Audi driver. This year’s grid is full of talents but we will fight hard.”
As well as Thailand, this year’s schedule includes four events in Japan – at Fuji, Suzuka, Motegi and Okayama – plus one more at Sepang in Malaysia.