Fanatec GT Asia: Origine’s Yuan and Ye claim first victory of the season at Fuji

Fanatec GT Asia: Origine’s Yuan and Ye claim first victory of the season at Fuji

> Same Silver-Am crew also take overall championship lead
> Result: Fuji Race 1

Bob Yuan and Leo Ye Hongli are the new Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS championship leaders after scoring their first overall victory since 2019 at Fuji this afternoon.

A flapping undertray helped VSR’s Lamborghinis close in during the second stint. But there was no denying the #87 Origine Porsche, which took the chequered flag nine seconds clear of Pro-Am class winners Bian Ye and Edoardo Liberati. Zhou Bihuang and Marco Mapelli completed the podium in their Huracan.

Yuan and Ye’s title chances were aided by a drive-through penalty for Origine’s other Porsche, which featured erstwhile championship leader Lu Wei, and the FAW Audi Sport Asia R8 – which lay second prior to this weekend’s opening race – retiring from second place with a currently unknown technical issue.

Its demise also helped Tanart Sathienthirakul and Eshan Pieris (Absolute Racing) win the Silver class, while David Tjiptobiantoro (Garage 75) extended his Am lead by winning with Christian Colombo.

But there was disappointment for Triple Eight JMR and Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim who lined up on pole but failed to complete a racing lap thanks to a component failure on the left front.


Origine’s #87 crew have been quietly accumulating overall points and Silver-Am wins at the start of 2024. But that all changed in Fuji’s opening race when Yuan and Ye announced themselves as serious outright championship contenders. Circumstances undoubtedly played into their hands, but the 911 was well worth its victory regardless.

Yuan lined up fourth but ran third before the end of the formation lap thanks to Triple Eight’s issue and then moved up to second when racing began in earnest. Ahead of him was Franky Cheng whose grading suggested the FAW Audi – which started with one point more – would pull away to some degree. That wasn’t the case though, and only a second covered the pair when Yuan dived into the pits at his first opportunity just after 25 minutes.

Ye’s out lap was then sufficiently quick for the Porsche to pull alongside the R8 when Cheng’s co-driver Adderly Fong exited the pits next time around. The move was completed into Turn 1 and then converted into a comfortable lead before the Audi slowed dramatically on the front straight with 20 minutes remaining. Retirement was a formality thereafter.

VSR’s Lamborghinis, driven respectively by Liberati and Mapelli, now found themselves in the top three, albeit 25 seconds down on the leading Porsche which had began struggling with its damaged floor. Both drivers did their utmost to close it down but ultimately only managed to cut the gap by 16 seconds.

The AAS Phantom Porsche shared by Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak and Joel Eriksson moved up 12 places from where it started to finish 2.5s behind the Huracans, while Alessio Picariello brought Absolute’s 911 home fifth. That was a particularly good result after his co-driver Anthony Liu spun in the opening stint before Picariello held off Maro Engel and Markus Winkelhock just after the pitstops in what will surely be a contender for scrap of the season.

The Belgian also passed his team-mate Pieris who nevertheless earned maximum Silver class points for finishing sixth overall – one place ahead of Kiyoshi Uchiyama and Tsubasa Kondo’s Porsche Center Okazaki entry.

Winkelhock couldn’t overcome Picariello but did pass Engel once the Porsche had fended off both the Mercedes-AMG and Audi. The latter’s result also owed much to Huang Ruo Han who made up six places in the first stint.

Engel and Cao Qi finished ninth for Craft-Bamboo, while D’station’s Aston Martin rounded out the top 10.

Further back, Tjiptobiantoro strengthened his Am championship lead by winning the class alongside Colombo. Their Ferrari beat Mineki Okura and Hiroshi Hamaguchi, while AMAC’s Andrew Macpherson and Ben Porter survived an assault from Harmony’s 296 – which was subsequently black flagged – to complete the class podium.

The weekend’s second hour-long Fanatec GT Asia race begins at 11:00 on Sunday. Watch it live on SRO’s GT World YouTube channel and J Sports in Japan.