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Fastest race lap at Suzuka for Thong, but no silverware from Japan

Suzuka International Circuit, Japan                            10-11 June, 2017

Rnd #3/4 Audi R8 LMS Cup 2017

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Like many of his rivals, Audi Hong Kong’s Shaun Thong came into the second event of the 2017 Audi R8 LMS Cup season at Suzuka International Circuit - the home of the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix - with an appreciation for the history that surrounds the iconic venue, and just like his rivals, he too was faced to contend with what became a very challenging weekend.

Considered to be one of the few surviving ‘old school’ Formula One venues, Suzuka - which first opened in 1962 - provides a challenging mix of corners, with a narrow twisting figure-eight layout that offers little rest for the drivers, but despite the nature of the circuit, Shaun Thong left the event with a race lap record to his name, and two top six finishes to keep him well in the title hunt after four of ten rounds.

Things started strongly for the 21-year old from Hong Kong, Thong second fastest in the two official 60-minute practice sessions, even topping Phoenix Racing Asia team-mate Alex Yoong - a veteran of two Formula One starts at Suzuka - and points leader Alessio Picariello to be considered one of the favourites ahead of qualifying.

“It’s funny, but the nature of these older circuits which are so narrow and unforgiving, is something I love, and I’m always comfortable pushing to the limit - it was the same at the Nurburgring,” Thong explained.

“We’re still not 100% comfortable with our Pirelli tyre setup, so we have some work to do, but I’m really loving being here at Suzuka, a circuit I’ve spent so much of my life following on TV.”

Sadly both Thong and Phoenix Racing Asia team-mate Marchy Lee were unable to extract the maximum from their tyres in the qualifying sessions, pushing them both back towards the tail of the top ten, but mere tenths off a front row start - it was that close.

“Our rivals have been able to find the sweet spot with the tyres in qualifying quicker than we have, we’ll find it, but it cost us a few positions on the grid,” Thong explained. “As a team, we’re better racers than qualifiers, so we’ll do what we can across the two races to move ourselves forwards.”

Just a few hours after qualifying, Thong lined up for the first race at Suzuka, absorbing some of the atmosphere as he prepared for the coming 12-lap race.

A strong start saw the 21-year old battling behind international guest driver Stephane Richelmi and alongside China’s Franky Cheng and team-mate Alex Yoong into turn one. He held his ground and ultimately worked his way past Cheng and Yoong to be fourth at the flag in a race where very few overtaking moves were made, the bulk of the position changes as a result of retirements during the race.

“It wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, but I could do nothing more than push, there just wasn’t a way past Richelimi that would have been a safe move - as it was, he couldn’t get past Mitch Gilbert so we pretty much had to just hold station until the chequered flag,” Thong explained.

Starting from the fourth row for the standing start in race two, Thong made a great getaway, holding position into turn one, but by turn three, he - like those around him - were faced with a rapidly slowing Alex Yoong in the middle of the esses, the reigning champion suffering a broken right rear wheel as the result of contact on the race into turn one. The melee that ensued saw cars off in different directions, and drama for Richelmi soon after as he suffered his own failure, forcing Thong to take avoiding action which dropped him to the tail of the top ten.

The Audi TEDA Racing driver though calmly refocused and set about regaining his lost positions, locking in on the tail of Phoenix Racing Asia team-boss Marchy Lee who was amongst the fastest drivers in the field, the two breaching an almost five second gap to the battle for the lead across the final laps, to finish right on the tail of fourth-placed Martin Rump, Thong in the process setting a new Audi R8 LMS Cup lap record for Suzuka.

“After the drama early in the race, I was well down on the leaders, they were gone, but once through to be sixth behind Marchy, we could just focus on catching the leaders. If we’d had another lap or two, who knows what might have happened, but still I can be happy to come away from a circuit with such great history as Suzuka, and be the race lap record holder for the Cup, that will be a nice addition to the resume.”

For Thong, his next commitment will be back at Suzuka where he will join forces once more with Marchy Lee for the third event of Blancpain GT Series Asia on 24-25 June, where they will be looking to continue the form that has them sitting second in the overall standings after four of 12 races.

“This weekend has been incredibly valuable for our Blancpain GT Series program, it will put us ahead of many of our rivals as we get to the mid-point of the season. Importantly for us, the Pirelli tyre we use in Blancpain is different and we have been very successful tuning the car around it, so I’m really looking forward to coming back here, it should be a fantastic weekend!”

Keep up to date with Shaun Thong Racing via;

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Suzuka International Circuit, Japan (10 June, 2017)

Qualifying #1 (15-minutes)

1. 15. Alessio Picariello (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:02.712

2. 86. Mitchell Gilbert (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:02.738

3. 11. Stephane Richelmi (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:03.060

4. 1. Alex Yoong (Team Audi R8 LMS Cup Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:03.133

5. 8. Shaun Thong (Audi TEDA Racing Team Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:03.321

 

Qualifying #2 (15-minutes)

1. 31. Franky Cheng (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:02.679

2. 86. Mitchell Gilbert (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:02.694

3. 15. Alessio Picariello (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:02.806

4. 18. Martin Rump (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:02.918

5. 1. Alex Yoong (Team Audi R8 LMS Cup Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:03.009

8. 8. Shaun Thong (Audi TEDA Racing Team Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:03.343

 

Suzuka International Circuit, Japan (10 June, 2017)

Rnd#3 2017 Audi R8 LMS Cup (12-laps)

1. 15. Alessio Picariello (Audi R8 LMS GT3)

2. 86. Mitchell Gilbert (Audi R8 LMS GT3) +7.050

3. 11. Stephane Richelmi (Audi R8 LMS GT3) +7.555

4. 8. Shaun Thong (Audi TEDA Racing Team Audi R8 LMS GT3) +8.291

5. 88. Marchy Lee (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) +11.746

 

Suzuka International Circuit, Japan (11 June, 2017)

Rnd#4 2017 Audi R8 LMS Cup (12-laps)

1. 31. Franky Cheng (Audi R8 LMS GT3) 

2. 15. Alessio Picariello (Audi R8 LMS GT3) +1.762

3. 86. Mitchell Gilbert (Audi R8 LMS GT3) +5.257

4. 18. Martin Rump (Audi R8 LMS GT3) +5.582

5. 88. Marchy Lee (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) +7.487

6. 8. Shaun Thong (Audi TEDA Racing Team Audi R8 LMS GT3) +8.955

 

Championship Points (after four rounds of 10)

1. Alessio Picariello (89), 2. Franky Cheng (58), 3. Mitch Gilbert (48), 4. Martin Rump (42), 5. Shaun Thong (41), 6. Marchy Lee (38)

 

Shaun Thong impresses as leading Audi driver in Thailand

Chang International Circuit, Thailand                19-21 May, 2017

Rnd#3/4 2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia

The Audi Hong Kong team of Shaun Thong and Marchy Lee were full of confidence coming into the second event of 2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia, the Audi pair had claimed their maiden GT Asia Series race win in 2016 at Buriram’s Chang International Circuit, and they were third in the standings coming into the Thai event after a strong start to the season in Malaysia.

Practice saw mixed results, but ahead of qualifying the Phoenix Racing Asia team had them within reach of the leaders, although qualifying saw them both just ninth fastest in their respective groups. That didn’t deter them though with the brilliant silver and gold #5 Audi charging to second in both 60-minute races to elevate them to second in the championship race a third of the way into the season, just two points off the title lead!

Marchy Lee started the opening race, avoiding some early carnage at the front of the field to move forward with some dramatic overtaking moves to hand Thong the car during the compulsory mid-race pit stop in third position. Thong rejoined in fifth and quickly worked his way back into the top three, the 21-year old amongst the fastest drivers on the circuit to cross the line within sight of the leaders.

Ultimately he and Lee crossed the line in third place, but post-race investigations saw the second placed machine handed a 30-second penalty, giving the Audi Hong Kong team second overall and a share of the championship points lead.

“Marchy did a great job off the start making some incredible overtaking moves, before working his way up to third,” Thong said. “Then it was up to me to make the most of that opportunity despite the late surge from my Audi Cup rivals Alex [Yoong] and Alessio [Picariello].”

Whilst Lee’s moves early were impressive, Thong’s pace was outstanding, the 21-year old amongst the fastest drivers on track, and consistently amongst the fastest Audi drivers as he weathered the ongoing storm from Phoenix Racing Asia team-mate - three-time Audi R8 LMS Cup champion Alex Yoong.

Thong’s pace was again impressive during the second event of the weekend, working his way up to the top four ahead of the compulsory pit stop, his lap times even more impressive when you consider he was running on the same tyres on which he finished the opening race, his best lap - 1:35.348, mere hundredths slower than team-mate Marchy Lee’s best of 1:35.256 on new tyres..

Ultimately Lee was able to chase down Audi Cup rival Jeffrey Lee and Ferrari’s Jiang Xin late in the race to cross the line in second position despite the late race attention of Jeffrey Lee’s team-mate, 2017 Audi Cup points leader Alessio Picariello.

The Thailand result now classifies the #5 Audi Hong Kong team second in points, just two points down on Englishman Hunter Abbot after four of 12 events with Suzuka in Japan the next event on the calendar in five week’s time.

“It’s a great result, but importantly we grabbed valuable championship points and at the same time, we were the leading Audi in both races here in Thailand,” Thong said. 

“I am delighted to wrap up the weekend with two second placed finishes, but for me I feel I performed very well and drove two very good stints against some tough opposition - Alex Yoong in race one, and Alessio Picariello in race two - in both cases neither of them were able to make it past.

“It was also nice to be amongst the fastest drivers on the circuit in race two despite being on old tyres, when many around me were on new rubber.

“I have to say a big thanks to Audi Hong Kong and the Phoenix Racing Asia team who gave me a competitive and trouble free car in which we are able to challenge again for the title this year. We have a long way to go, but it has been a great start to the season!”

The third event of Blancpain GT Series Asia will be at the iconic Japanese Suzuka circuit on 24-25 June, with Thong and Lee’s next commitment also coming at Suzuka, on 10-11 June for the second event of the 2017 Audi R8 LMS Cup.

Keep up to date with Shaun Thong Racing via;

Website; www.shaunthong.com

Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/shaunthong/

Instagram; shaunthong

 

Chang International Circuit, Buriram, Thailand (20 May, 2017)

Qualifying #1 (15-minutes)

1. 37. Anthony Liu (Ferrari 488 GT3) - 1:34.020

2. 38. Rino Mastronardi (Ferrari 488 GT3) - 1:34.331

3. 86. Mitchell Gilbert (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 1:34.471

4. 999. Hunter Abbott (Mercedes AMG GT3) - 1:34.540

5. 39. Jiang Xin (Ferrari 488 GT3) - 1:34.744

9. 5. Marchy Lee (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 1:35.451

10. 6. Alex Au (Team Audi R8 LMS Cup Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 1:35.486

 

Qualifying #2 (15-minutes)

1. 7. Alessio Picariello (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 1:33.576

2. 999. Max Buhk (Mercedes AMG GT3) - 1:33.648

3. 6. Alex Yoong (Team Audi R8 LMS Cup Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 1:33.682

4. 38. Rui Aguas (Ferrari 488 GT3) - 1:33.728

5. 37. Davide Rizzo (Ferrari 488 GT3) - 1:33.911

9. 5. Shaun Thong (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 1:34.232

 

Chang International Circuit, Buriram, Thailand (20 May, 2017)

Rnd#3 2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia (60-minutes)

1. 38. Mastronardi/Aguas (Ferrari 488 GT3) - 34-laps

2. 5. Lee/Thong (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) +14.814

3. 6. Au/Yoong (Team Audi R8 LMS Cup Audi R8 LMS GT3) +15.870

4. 7. Lee/Picariello (Audi R8 LMS GT3) +16.822

5. 18. Yoon/Rump (Audi R8 LMS GT3)

 

Chang International Circuit, Buriram, Thailand (21 May, 2017)

Rnd#4 2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia (60-minutes)

1. 999. Buhk/Abbott (Mercedes AMG GT3) - 35-laps

2. 5. Thong/Lee (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) +11.135

3. 86. Patel/Gilbert (Audi R8 LMS GT3) +11.750

4. 39. Wiser/Xin (Ferrari 488 GT3) +12.828

5. 7. Picariello/Lee (Audi R8 LMS GT3) +15.875

Championship Points (After 4 races)

1. Hunter Abbott (63), 2. Shaun Thong/Marchy Lee (61), 3. Mitchell Gilbert/Aditya Patel (58)

 

Shaun Thong narrowly misses victory on TCR Asia Series debut

Zhuhai International Circuit, China                           12-14 May, 2017

Round #5/6 2017 TCR Asia Series

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Just days out from the third event on the 2017 TCR Asia Series calendar, Shaun Thong was invited to join the Audi Hong Kong team behind the wheel of the #3 Audi RS3 LMS TCR to support the title aspirations of younger brother Jasper.

Having never competed in the 2-litre turbo, front-wheel-drive TCR touring car previously, Thong was on a steep learning curve, but despite that, and the constantly changing conditions, the 21-year old claimed his third podium for the season in his third championship start to lay solid foundations for a strong season ahead.

“I came into this weekend with high hopes and I think we showed plenty of promise during two days of open practice in the dry which allowed me to run consistently at the top of the timesheets,” Thong explained. “Once the rain started though as qualifying arrived, we weren’t quite as competitive due to the characteristics of the gearbox mapping.

“In the opening dry race - my first standing start in the RS3 - I didn’t get away as cleanly as I would have liked and dropped back a little before mounting a recovery to latch onto the tail of the top two, which became the leader after Jasper was unfortunately given a drive-through penalty.

“I waited then to attack for the lead and allowed my brakes to cool and I got the timing almost perfect to take the lead into turn nine, but I was on the outside which lined me up for the next corner for which I was on the inside. Sadly I never got that far as the other driver took us both out into the gravel and I was unable to complete the race.

“It was devastating result for me as I was so close to a debut win! I later reviewed the manoeuvre and still believe that it was possible to take the lead around the outside, although the other driver was not given a penalty as a result.”

Mother nature was the big winner in race two, with light rain falling as the cars went out onto the circuit, yet despite a 5-minute extension to the start of the race to let the weather settle in, all but one team remained on slick tyres, but as the field rolled around to prepare for the start, the heavens opened again, and Thong quickly dived into pit lane to change, whilst others started on their slick Michelins.

Ultimately the wet tyres were the only choice and eventually every remaining car on track pulled in to pit lane, but by that stage the one team who had made the change was more than half a lap ahead.

Shaun Thong was consistently the fastest driver on the circuit, hauling in the leaders to cross the line third just 13-seconds down but only seven seconds from second, but there just weren’t enough laps left to make it to the top step of the podium.

“I did the best I could for race two, but ultimately the team that won, won before the start with that decision to change to wet weather tyres - from there we were all only running for third place. For me it was a great experience to put into my pocket - driving a car so different to the Audi R8 LMS GT3 - despite the disappointment in the first race I think I provided some good overtaking action and some drama to entertain the spectators, and I hope to be returning to TCR Asia Series soon.”

For Thong, his focus now returns to GT3 competition, with the second event of the 2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia at Chang International Circuit in Thailand this weekend, the scene of his Audi Hong Kong victory in the 2016 GT Asia Series alongside Marchy Lee, the two starting amongst the favourites for victory.

“It feels fantastic to be back racing in Buriram again with Blancpain GT Series Asia - I have good experiences and memories from this circuit as I won round three of GT Asia there in 2016, and also claimed a podium finish in the Asian Le Mans LMP3 category.

“I am well prepared for what our competition will throw at us, but I think everyone will be more prepared than ever as well. I started the season with a positive result with that podium finish in Malaysia, and I am really looking forward to converting that performance into my first win of 2017 this weekend!”

Keep up to date with Shaun Thong Racing via;

Website; www.shaunthong.com

Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/shaunthong/

Instagram; shaunthong

Round#5/6 - 2017 TCR Asia Series

Zhuhai International Circuit, China

Qualifying - 13 May, 2017

1. 2. Kantadhee Kusiri - Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR - 1:50.249

2. 23. Abdul Kaathir* - Honda Civic TCR - 1:51.120

3. 39. WS Lai - Honda Civic TCR - 1:51.623

4. 32. Diego Moran - Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR - 1:51.948

5. 3. Shaun Thong - Audi Hong Kong Audi RS3 LMS TCR - 1:55.546

6. 5. Jasper Thong* - Audi Hong Kong Audi RS3 LMS TCR - 1:56.561

 

Round#5 - 2017 TCR Asia Series

Zhuhai International Circuit, China

14 May, 2017

1. 23. Abdul Kaathir* - Honda Civic TCR - 14-laps

2. 39. WS Lai - Honda Civic TCR +7.079

3. 32. Diego Moran - Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR +8.585

4. 5. Jasper Thong* - Audi Hong Kong Audi RS3 LMS TCR +23.735

5. 98. Eric K*. - Seat Léon TCR +33.479

DNF. 3. Shaun Thong - Audi Hong Kong Audi RS3 LMS TCR - 13-laps

 

Round#6 - 2017 TCR Asia Series

Zhuhai International Circuit, China

1. 98. Eric K*. - Seat Léon TCR - 14-laps

2. 99. Alex Liu* - Seat Léon TCR +6.083

3. 3. Shaun Thong - Audi Hong Kong Audi RS3 LMS TCR +13.122

4. 39. WS Lai - Honda Civic TCR +20.539

5. 65. Douglas Khoo* - Seat Léon TCR +22.249

DNF. 5. Jasper Thong* - Audi Hong Kong Audi RS3 LMS TCR - 8-laps

* TCR CUP

 

Shaun Thong starts Audi R8 LMS Cup season with Sepang podium

Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia                               6-7 May, 2017

Round #1/2 Audi R8 LMS Cup 2017

Audi Hong Kong’s Shaun Thong made his full-time debut in the Audi R8 LMS Cup at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit and immediately made his presence felt, the new pilot of the Audi TEDA Racing Team R8 making the podium in the maiden race of the season, before backing up to leave the first event of the year in fifth place in the outright standings.

Taking the wheel of the #8 Audi with the livery that was behind Alex Yoong’s three championship titles added a little bit more attention to the 21-year old’s first full season in ‘the Cup’ but reigning GT Asia Series Pro-Am Cup champion Thong took it all in his stride, and was looking forward to what would be his fifth event in the championship.

“I’m honoured to be able to campaign a car with the livery that wore the coveted #1 over recent seasons, but also to represent Audi Hong Kong as we enter the sixth season of the Audi R8 LMS Cup,” Thong admitted.

Quick through unofficial practice, Thong was able to carry that pace into the official sessions but admitted he was a little off in opening qualifying, despite being just half a second from pole position, and only five one thousandths of a second off a second row start.

He held his ground off the rolling start for the opening round of the season, and spent the opening stanza of the race monstering Phoenix Racing Asia team-mate and three-time champion Alex Yoong, even audaciously flashing his lights at the former F1 driver to let him know he was there.

Ultimately the move paid off, Yoong running wide and off the circuit, before rejoining with an airborne leap back onto the circuit which forced the local star into a spin, allowing Thong through the fourth. Very quickly that turned into third as his Blancpain GT Series Asia rival Mitch Gilbert slowed dramatically with a driveshaft issue, the Hong Kong driver moving into third place to open his 2017 ledger with a third placed finish.

Sunday’s second race too saw plenty of pace from the young Audi Hong Kong driver where he finished behind team-mate and mentor Marchy Lee, but like Lee, was unable to achieve the best from his new Pirelli tyres, one of the big changes for the 2017 Cup season.

Despite the challenge, Thong was typically upbeat about the result and his points haul which sees him fifth in the outright standings, and just ten points behind reigning champion Yoong who holds down second place overall.

“It has been a positive start to the Audi R8 LMS Cup season with a podium finish.” Thong admitted. “It is my first full season in the Cup although I have been a guest driver a number of times in past seasons. 

“In race two I felt I could have done better with my push-to-pass* strategy but at the same time I feel that I am yet to fully understand the Pirelli tyres. I felt like they continued to change lap to lap, which hurt my race pace and stopped me from moving further up the order.

“In general the weekend has been very productive, standing fifth in the championship with a long way still to go is a pretty good start. I think the key to winning this championship is to finish every race and collect good points and to minimise any errors.”

For now Thong’s focus returns to the Blancpain GT Series Asia, with the second event of the new championship at the Chang International Circuit at Buririam in Thailand [20-21 May], a venue where he - and team-mate Marchy Lee - claimed their first win of the season in GT Asia last year, on their way to second outright in the championship, however in the interim, Thong has another guest appearance to make.

“I received a last-minute call up to be on the grid for the third event of the 2017 TCR Asia Series for this coming weekend in the Phoenix Racing Asia squad alongside my brother Jasper and Hong Kong entertainer Alex Fong at Zhuhai in China, an opportunity I am really looking forward to.”

Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia (6 May, 2017)

Qualifying #1 (15-minutes)

1. 15. Alessio Picariello (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:01.3422. 86. Mitchell Gilbert (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:01.598

3. 1. Alex Yoong (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:01.620

4. 18. Martin Rump (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:01.841

5. 8. Shaun Thong (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:01.847

8. 88. Marchy Lee (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:02.207

 

Qualifying #2 (15-minutes)

1. 15. Alessio Picariello (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:00.9162. 1. Alex Yoong (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:01.056

3. 86. Mitchell Gilbert (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:01.287

4. 18. Martin Rump (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:01.475

6. 8. Shaun Thong (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:01.785

7. 88. Marchy Lee (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:01.900

 

Rnd#1 2017 Audi R8 LMS Cup (13-laps)

1. 15. Alessio Picariello (Audi R8 LMS GT3) 2. 18. Martin Rump (Audi R8 LMS GT3) 

3. 8. Shaun Thong (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3)

4. 31. Franky Cheng (Audi R8 LMS GT3) 

5. 88. Marchy Lee (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3)

 

Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia (6 May, 2017)

Rnd#2 2017 Audi R8 LMS Cup (13-laps)

1. 1. Alex Yoong (Audi R8 LMS GT3)

2. 15. Alessio Picariello (Audi R8 LMS GT3) 3. 86. Mitchell Gilbert (Audi R8 LMS GT3)

4. 31. Franky Cheng (Audi R8 LMS GT3) 

5. 18. Martin Rump (Audi R8 LMS GT3) 

6. 88. Marchy Lee (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3)

7. 8. Shaun Thong (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3)

 

Championship Points (after two rounds of 10)1. Alessio Picariello (45-points), 2. Alex Yoong (31), 3. Martin Rump (28), 4. Franky Cheng (24), 5. Shaun Thong (21), 6. Marchy Lee (18), 7. Mitch Gilbert (15), 8. Akash Nandy (12), 9. KO You (5), 10. Jeffrey Lee (2)

Keep up to date with Shaun Thong Racing via:

Website: www.shaunthong.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shaunthong/

Instagram: shaunthong

 

Shaun Thong claims Blancpain GT Series Asia podium in Sepang

Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia                           9 April, 2017

Round #1/2 Blancpain GT Asia 2017

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Early April in Malaysia marked Shaun Thong’s return to competition at the wheel of an Audi R8 LMS GT3, the 21-year old GT Asia Series Pro-Am Cup champion rejoining Phoenix Racing Asia and Audi Hong Kong alongside experienced veteran Marchy Lee for the maiden season of the new Blancpain GT Series Asia. Fast in practice, the two Audi drivers were consistently amongst the top teams fighting for a podium result in Malaysia, and despite some tough challenges across the weekend, Thong delivered, taking he and Lee to two top five finishes including third in race two - in the process grabbing a share of third place in the championship points after two of 12 races. For season 2017, whilst the championship is different, so too is Shaun Thong’s direction, the Hong Kong resident turning full-time to motorsport as an official driver for Audi Hong Kong, his sole focus for the season - winning races - and Malaysia was the first step towards that goal. “I’ve been dreaming about the day I could become a full-time professional racing driver, and now that it’s happened, I’m so glad it is with Audi, and more importantly for me, Audi Hong Kong. “Blancpain GT Series Asia was a great platform for me to continue my second season with Phoenix Racing Asia, with a number of very experienced teams and factory drivers coming into the Series from Europe. “Almost immediately we were amongst the fastest cars in the field through unofficial testing and then when official practice began. As we did last year, Marchy qualified first, largely amongst the amateur drivers, whilst I went into the session which was largely filled with professional drivers. Eleventh place was okay, but as a racing driver, I wanted to be at the front of the field, that said if I’d qualified in the first group, I would have been P3..! “Because of our ranking as ‘silver’ drivers, our car - like that of the other silver-silver combinations - has to carry an extra 25-kilograms of ballast, so I was knocking myself out comparing my times with team-mate Alex Yoong, because he was able to brake another 10 metres later than me.. I thought he truly was a superman until the team reminded me I had that extra weight onboard and he didn’t [Yoong’s team is Pro-Am]. “Marchy started the first race and spent much of his stint behind the safety car, we pitted early to allow us to get out of some traffic that was holding Marchy up, and I managed to move forward pretty quickly. I had a fantastic battle with star European drivers like Jules Gounon, Raffaele Marciello and Jesse Krohn and was able to get past them and up to second at one point before fading to fifth at the end of the race as tyre wear slowed my pace. It was great to be able to fight with guys that have so much GT experience, it was a great test to see just how competitive we will be this season. “In race two I started, but got caught up in someone else’s accident at turn two which saw me forced off the circuit to avoid an incident - in these tough championships you cannot afford a DNF [did not finish] so I had to make sure first the car was safe and I had nowhere else to go. That dropped me back down the order, but I charged back to the top ten and handed the car to Marchy in a position to finish on the podium. “He had a great battle with the leaders and was second until the final two laps when another of the Audis was able to come through on fresher tyres and take the position away, but a third place in the first event of the year was a good result, and being third in the championship gives us a great foundation to attack for the top of the leaderboard over the next few events. “Fortunately the next event at Buriram in Thailand [20-21 May], we won last year, so we’ll be calling on a lot of that data to be right in the mix again at the front of the field!” For Shaun, his next commitment is rejoining Phoenix Racing Asia and Audi Hong Kong for the opening round of the 2017 Audi R8 LMS Cup where he will be once more at Sepang in Malaysia, and also back in a championship where his only start in 2016 netted him a podium finish! * teams are allocated four sets of new tyres for qualifying and the two 60-minute races, they can use them however they like however most try to allow three good sets for the two races, and have to then decide which race will see a change to new tyres for the second leg after the compulsory mid-race stop, and which race they will continue on the same tyres. Sepang International Circuit, China (8 April, 2017) Qualifying #1 (15-minutes) 1. 86. Mitchell Gilbert (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:04.180 2. 37. Anthony Liu (Ferrari 488 GT3) - 2:04.362 3. 99. Darryl O’Young (Porsche GT3-R) - 2:04.880 4. 5. Marchy Lee (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:04.985 5. 88. Jules Gounon (Porsche GT3-R) - 2:04.990 12. 6. Alex Au (Team Audi R8 LMS Cup Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:07.307   Qualifying #2 (15-minutes) 1. 6. Alex Yoong (Team Audi R8 LMS Cup Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:03.248 2. 999. Raffaele Marciello (Mercedes AMG GT3) - 2:03.255 3. 7. Will Stevens (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:03.462 4. 13. Franky Cheng (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:04.075 5. 38. Rui Aguas (Ferrari 488 GT3) - 2:04.151 11. 5. Shaun Thong (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:04.803   Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia (8 April, 2017) Rnd#1 2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia (60-minutes) 1. 86. Gilbert/Patel (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 26-laps 2. 999. Abbott/Marciello (Mercedes AMG GT3) +9.062 3. 91. Millroy/Krohn (BMW M6 GT3) +18.247 4. 888. Sugden/Syzmkowiak (Mercedes AMG GT3) +20.121 5. 5. Lee/Thong (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) +26.885 10. 6. Au/Yoong (Team Audi R8 LMS Cup Audi R8 LMS GT3) +39.417   Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia (9 April, 2017) Rnd#2 2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia (60-minutes) 1. Davide Rizzo/Anthony Liu (Ferrari 488 GT3) - 27-laps 2. 86. Patel/Gilbert (Audi R8 LMS GT3) +26.697 3. 5. Thong/Lee (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) +29.355 4. 999. Marciello/Abbott (Mercedes AMG GT3) +36.247 5. 888. Syzmkowiak/Sugden (Mercedes AMG GT3) +42.926 9. 6. Yoong/Au (Team Audi R8 LMS Cup Audi R8 LMS GT3) +52.010 Championship Points (after two rounds of 12) 1. Mitchell Gilbert/Additya Patel (43-points), 2. Hunter Abbott/Raffaele Marciello (30), 3. Shaun Thong/Marchy Lee (25), 3. Anthony Liu/Davide Rizzo (25)

Early April in Malaysia marked Shaun Thong’s return to competition at the wheel of an Audi R8 LMS GT3, the 21-year old GT Asia Series Pro-Am Cup champion rejoining Phoenix Racing Asia and Audi Hong Kong alongside experienced veteran Marchy Lee for the maiden season of the new Blancpain GT Series Asia.

Fast in practice, the two Audi drivers were consistently amongst the top teams fighting for a podium result in Malaysia, and despite some tough challenges across the weekend, Thong delivered, taking he and Lee to two top five finishes including third in race two - in the process grabbing a share of third place in the championship points after two of 12 races.

For season 2017, whilst the championship is different, so too is Shaun Thong’s direction, the Hong Kong resident turning full-time to motorsport as an official driver for Audi Hong Kong, his sole focus for the season - winning races - and Malaysia was the first step towards that goal.

“I’ve been dreaming about the day I could become a full-time professional racing driver, and now that it’s happened, I’m so glad it is with Audi, and more importantly for me, Audi Hong Kong.

“Blancpain GT Series Asia was a great platform for me to continue my second season with Phoenix Racing Asia, with a number of very experienced teams and factory drivers coming into the Series from Europe.

“Almost immediately we were amongst the fastest cars in the field through unofficial testing and then when official practice began. As we did last year, Marchy qualified first, largely amongst the amateur drivers, whilst I went into the session which was largely filled with professional drivers. Eleventh place was okay, but as a racing driver, I wanted to be at the front of the field, that said if I’d qualified in the first group, I would have been P3..!

“Because of our ranking as ‘silver’ drivers, our car - like that of the other silver-silver combinations - has to carry an extra 25-kilograms of ballast, so I was knocking myself out comparing my times with team-mate Alex Yoong, because he was able to brake another 10 metres later than me.. I thought he truly was a superman until the team reminded me I had that extra weight onboard and he didn’t [Yoong’s team is Pro-Am].

“Marchy started the first race and spent much of his stint behind the safety car, we pitted early to allow us to get out of some traffic that was holding Marchy up, and I managed to move forward pretty quickly. I had a fantastic battle with star European drivers like Jules Gounon, Raffaele Marciello and Jesse Krohn and was able to get past them and up to second at one point before fading to fifth at the end of the race as tyre wear slowed my pace. It was great to be able to fight with guys that have so much GT experience, it was a great test to see just how competitive we will be this season.

“In race two I started, but got caught up in someone else’s accident at turn two which saw me forced off the circuit to avoid an incident - in these tough championships you cannot afford a DNF [did not finish] so I had to make sure first the car was safe and I had nowhere else to go. That dropped me back down the order, but I charged back to the top ten and handed the car to Marchy in a position to finish on the podium.

“He had a great battle with the leaders and was second until the final two laps when another of the Audis was able to come through on fresher tyres and take the position away, but a third place in the first event of the year was a good result, and being third in the championship gives us a great foundation to attack for the top of the leaderboard over the next few events.

“Fortunately the next event at Buriram in Thailand [20-21 May], we won last year, so we’ll be calling on a lot of that data to be right in the mix again at the front of the field!”

For Shaun, his next commitment is rejoining Phoenix Racing Asia and Audi Hong Kong for the opening round of the 2017 Audi R8 LMS Cup where he will be once more at Sepang in Malaysia, and also back in a championship where his only start in 2016 netted him a podium finish!

* teams are allocated four sets of new tyres for qualifying and the two 60-minute races, they can use them however they like however most try to allow three good sets for the two races, and have to then decide which race will see a change to new tyres for the second leg after the compulsory mid-race stop, and which race they will continue on the same tyres.

Sepang International Circuit, China (8 April, 2017)

Qualifying #1 (15-minutes)

1. 86. Mitchell Gilbert (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:04.180

2. 37. Anthony Liu (Ferrari 488 GT3) - 2:04.362

3. 99. Darryl O’Young (Porsche GT3-R) - 2:04.880

4. 5. Marchy Lee (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:04.985

5. 88. Jules Gounon (Porsche GT3-R) - 2:04.990

12. 6. Alex Au (Team Audi R8 LMS Cup Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:07.307

 

Qualifying #2 (15-minutes)

1. 6. Alex Yoong (Team Audi R8 LMS Cup Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:03.248

2. 999. Raffaele Marciello (Mercedes AMG GT3) - 2:03.255

3. 7. Will Stevens (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:03.462

4. 13. Franky Cheng (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:04.075

5. 38. Rui Aguas (Ferrari 488 GT3) - 2:04.151

11. 5. Shaun Thong (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 2:04.803

 

Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia (8 April, 2017)

Rnd#1 2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia (60-minutes)

1. 86. Gilbert/Patel (Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 26-laps

2. 999. Abbott/Marciello (Mercedes AMG GT3) +9.062

3. 91. Millroy/Krohn (BMW M6 GT3) +18.247

4. 888. Sugden/Syzmkowiak (Mercedes AMG GT3) +20.121

5. 5. Lee/Thong (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) +26.885

10. 6. Au/Yoong (Team Audi R8 LMS Cup Audi R8 LMS GT3) +39.417

 

Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia (9 April, 2017)

Rnd#2 2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia (60-minutes)

1. Davide Rizzo/Anthony Liu (Ferrari 488 GT3) - 27-laps

2. 86. Patel/Gilbert (Audi R8 LMS GT3) +26.697

3. 5. Thong/Lee (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) +29.355

4. 999. Marciello/Abbott (Mercedes AMG GT3) +36.247

5. 888. Syzmkowiak/Sugden (Mercedes AMG GT3) +42.926

9. 6. Yoong/Au (Team Audi R8 LMS Cup Audi R8 LMS GT3) +52.010

Championship Points (after two rounds of 12)

1. Mitchell Gilbert/Additya Patel (43-points), 2. Hunter Abbott/Raffaele Marciello (30), 3. Shaun Thong/Marchy Lee (25), 3. Anthony Liu/Davide Rizzo (25)

Shaun Thong annouce debut season in the 2017 Audi R8 LMS Cup

Debut Season with Audi TEDA Racing                                                     March 29, 2017

**Text and Picture derived from Audi Motorsports Asia** - 2016 top three of Yoong, Picariello and Rump return - Mitchell Gilbert and Shaun Thong join for full debut seasons - Asian GT3 series to visit Malaysia, Japan, Korea and China Beijing, March 28, 2017 – Asia’s leading motorsport stars will be joined by some of the world’s hottest young talent in the Audi R8 LMS Cup’s sixth season. The one-make sprint series is set to cut a swathe across the region with 10 rounds of action across five race weekends. Series champion for the past three consecutive years, Alex Yoong, returns this year keeping up his record of competing in every Cup season thus far. The former Formula One driver will compete for Team Audi R8 LMS Cup in the coming season. After a hugely impressive debut season, Alessio Picariello returns for another shot at a title he missed out on by a single point in 2016. The 23 year-old MGT Team by Absolute driver topped the championship on three occasions last season but missed out on the trophy after a dramatic season finale in Shanghai to finish second overall. Martin Rump of Champion Racing Team was another standout youngster from the Cup’s 2016 season. His four race victories were the most of any driver and the 20 year-old Estonian will be looking to build on his third place overall finish in the season ahead. Adding to the tussles between youth and experience that played out last season in the Cup will be Mitchell Gilbert, who joins for a debut season, and Shaun Thong, who will compete in his first full season. Gilbert, who will race with OD Racing, finished third overall in last year’s Porsche Carrera Cup Asia after recording two victories in the series. The 22 year-old Australian showed his potential to adapt quickly to the Audi GT3 car by clocking some impressive lap times in the Audi R8 LMS Cup’s pre-season test event in January. Shaun Thong, the Young Driver Development Programme participant for the Asian platform of Audi, will race a full Cup season for the first time with Audi TEDA Racing Team. As part of his development process the young Hong Kong native took part in the Audi Sport TT Cup in 2015 as well as being part of the first all-Asian team to enter the Nürburgring 24 Hours for the past two seasons, along with regular Audi R8 LMS Cup appearances. Audi R8 LMS Cup champion in 2012, Marchy Lee, will return this season as part of Team Audi Hong Kong. The co-owner of Cup service provider, Phoenix Racing Asia, is another who has appeared in every season of the sprint series since its launch. Cheng Congfu will also return in the FAW-VW Audi Racing Team car for 2017. The Chinese star closed out a challenging 2016 on a high with a top 10 finish in the FIA GT World Cup in Macau and will be looking to rediscover the form that saw him finish as Audi R8 LMS Cup runner-up in 2015. Korean star driver K.O. You returns for another season with the Cup as part of Team Audi Korea and will be looking to push on from his GT3 class victory alongside Alex Yoong and Marchy Lee in the finale of the Asian Le Mans Series earlier this year. More driver announcements will be made shortly. Launched alongside the Audi R8 LMS Cup in 2012, Audi Sport customer racing Asia builds on the global customer racing platform of Audi. In addition to the Audi R8 LMS Cup, in 2016, the programme supported entries into some of Asia’s and Europe’s leading motorsport series and events including the FIA GT World Cup at the Macau Grand Prix, the Sepang 12 Hours, GT Asia Series, and the Nürburgring 24 Hours. The Audi R8 LMS Cup’s sixth season will begin with Rounds 1 and 2 at the Sepang International Circuit on 6-7 May. 2017 Audi R8 LMS Cup calendar Official Test / May / Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia Rounds 1&2 / May 6-7 / Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia Rounds 3&4 / June 10-11 / Suzuka International Racing Course, Japan Rounds 5&6 / July 15-16 / Korea International Circuit, South Korea Rounds 7&8 / September 9-10 / Shanghai Audi International Circuit, China Rounds 9&10 / October 20-21 / Zhejiang International Circuit, China

**Text and Picture derived from Audi Motorsports Asia**

- 2016 top three of Yoong, Picariello and Rump return

- Mitchell Gilbert and Shaun Thong join for full debut seasons

- Asian GT3 series to visit Malaysia, Japan, Korea and China

Beijing, March 28, 2017 – Asia’s leading motorsport stars will be joined by some of the world’s hottest young talent in the Audi R8 LMS Cup’s sixth season. The one-make sprint series is set to cut a swathe across the region with 10 rounds of action across five race weekends.

Series champion for the past three consecutive years, Alex Yoong, returns this year keeping up his record of competing in every Cup season thus far. The former Formula One driver will compete for Team Audi R8 LMS Cup in the coming season.

After a hugely impressive debut season, Alessio Picariello returns for another shot at a title he missed out on by a single point in 2016. The 23 year-old MGT Team by Absolute driver topped the championship on three occasions last season but missed out on the trophy after a dramatic season finale in Shanghai to finish second overall.

Martin Rump of Champion Racing Team was another standout youngster from the Cup’s 2016 season. His four race victories were the most of any driver and the 20 year-old Estonian will be looking to build on his third place overall finish in the season ahead.

Adding to the tussles between youth and experience that played out last season in the Cup will be Mitchell Gilbert, who joins for a debut season, and Shaun Thong, who will compete in his first full season.

Gilbert, who will race with OD Racing, finished third overall in last year’s Porsche Carrera Cup Asia after recording two victories in the series. The 22 year-old Australian showed his potential to adapt quickly to the Audi GT3 car by clocking some impressive lap times in the Audi R8 LMS Cup’s pre-season test event in January.

Shaun Thong, the Young Driver Development Programme participant for the Asian platform of Audi, will race a full Cup season for the first time with Audi TEDA Racing Team. As part of his development process the young Hong Kong native took part in the Audi Sport TT Cup in 2015 as well as being part of the first all-Asian team to enter the Nürburgring 24 Hours for the past two seasons, along with regular Audi R8 LMS Cup appearances.

Audi R8 LMS Cup champion in 2012, Marchy Lee, will return this season as part of Team Audi Hong Kong. The co-owner of Cup service provider, Phoenix Racing Asia, is another who has appeared in every season of the sprint series since its launch.

Cheng Congfu will also return in the FAW-VW Audi Racing Team car for 2017. The Chinese star closed out a challenging 2016 on a high with a top 10 finish in the FIA GT World Cup in Macau and will be looking to rediscover the form that saw him finish as Audi R8 LMS Cup runner-up in 2015.

Korean star driver K.O. You returns for another season with the Cup as part of Team Audi Korea and will be looking to push on from his GT3 class victory alongside Alex Yoong and Marchy Lee in the finale of the Asian Le Mans Series earlier this year.

More driver announcements will be made shortly.

Launched alongside the Audi R8 LMS Cup in 2012, Audi Sport customer racing Asia builds on the global customer racing platform of Audi. In addition to the Audi R8 LMS Cup, in 2016, the programme supported entries into some of Asia’s and Europe’s leading motorsport series and events including the FIA GT World Cup at the Macau Grand Prix, the Sepang 12 Hours, GT Asia Series, and the Nürburgring 24 Hours.

The Audi R8 LMS Cup’s sixth season will begin with Rounds 1 and 2 at the Sepang International Circuit on 6-7 May.

2017 Audi R8 LMS Cup calendar

Official Test / May / Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
Rounds 1&2 / May 6-7 / Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
Rounds 3&4 / June 10-11 / Suzuka International Racing Course, Japan
Rounds 5&6 / July 15-16 / Korea International Circuit, South Korea
Rounds 7&8 / September 9-10 / Shanghai Audi International Circuit, China
Rounds 9&10 / October 20-21 / Zhejiang International Circuit, China

 

GT Asia Round 1, 2 @ Korean International Circuit

Solid points for season opener                                May 15, 2016

After a long winter break finally race season kicks back and the #5 Audi R8 LMS of Shaun Thong and Marchy secured pole position for Race 2 on Sunday and finished P5 and P4 accordingly, being the best scoring Audi overall. 

"To secure pole position in my debut in GT Asia is a great feeling and Marchy puts in an amazing lap, we tried our best to look for a podium finish but I think P5 and P4 is the maximum our team can achieve after a tough balance of performance we had but we are really pleased to carry over some solid points for the championship."
 

Sepang 12 Hours @ Sepang International Circuit

Tough challenge                                                              December 23, 2015

Its the first time the new R8 LMS hits the race track of Sepang International Circuit but the #15 car ran by Phoenix Racing Asia powered by Audi Hong Kong did not go through the 12 hours as planned. Mistake in tire choice at the beginning of the weekend cost the team valuable testing time and struggle with tires compound issue throughout the weekend. Bad luck however keeps coming as a misfortune struck the #15 when the Stewarts mistakenly put the car of Shaun Thong, Alex Young and Marchy Lee a lap down from the leader and finished P6 overall. 

 

Audi R8 LMS Cup @ Fuji Speedway

Maiden podium finish in LMS Cup                   October 10, 2015

Shaun secured his first podium finish on the 5th round of the R8 LMS Cup appearing as a guest driver. After a strong qualify that puts him in the 2nd row of the grid, Thong held onto P4 until the closing stage of the race and took the last podium step with 3 laps to go. 

"I had a really good pace throughout the whole race and the good strategy for the push 2 pass also gave me extra benefits to attack until the checkered flag "
Thong started Race 2 from P6 and worked his way up to P4 despite an early collision. 
 

Audi Sport TT Cup @ Nurburgring

Another step closer                                       September 27, 2015

Shaun fully focus to start the race at Nurburgring in the Audi TT Cup race

Shaun fully focus to start the race at Nurburgring in the Audi TT Cup race

Shaun finished a very respectable P8 and P5 in the two races at the legendary Nurburgring and collected some important points to the overall championship.                  

The first race did not go to plan and Thong was seventh by the time that the red flag stopped proceedings due to an accident in the first corner. “On Saturday I did not finish well after I struggled with damage following contact,” said Thong.

The second race of the weekend faired much better for Thong, as he was in the thick of the action and raced from his ninth place starting position to finish fifth. “It was
a good result and I am happy with my performance and result on Sunday. It was a confidence-boosting weekend and I am looking forward to Hockenheim,” said Thong. 

                                                              

Audi Sport TT Cup @ Oschersleben

A tough weekend                                 September 13, 2015

A bad start and a number of contact incidents saw Thong dropping back through the field to finish ninth. In the second race he made a mistake in the third turn and dropped to last place, ultimately finishing fifteenth.

“The weekend did not go as I had expected after the qualifying session. I qualified in the top 10 for both races, and thought I had a shot at moving forward to score good points and maybe even a podium. However, the races did not go well,” said Thong. 
 

VLN 7 @ Nurburgring

September 6, 2015

Shaun teamed up with P. Kaffer and R. Rast but after having very good race pace for over half of the race, the car was forced to retire after an accident. 

 

Audi TT Cup @ Red Bull Ring

Red Flagged                                                           August 2, 2015

Race 1 saw Shaun finishing at P11 out of a field with 24 cars. Race 2 was suspended due to a huge accident involving multiple cars. Shaun is currently ranked 9th in the overall championship with 6 races remaining in the season.

“The weekend was not what I expected. Qualifying did not go to plan. I qualified thirteenth and finished the first race eleventh, after running as high as eighth but I dropped back with issues,” says Thong. “I was tenth for race 2. The track conditions were very difficult and I also had visibility issues with fogging inside the car. There was a big crash and I am lucky that I was not involved, but the race was over before it has really started.”
 

Audi Sport TT Cup @ Norisring

A Magical Weekend                                                 June 27, 2015

Double pole and a win in Race 1 for Shaun in Norisring

Double pole and a win in Race 1 for Shaun in Norisring

Shaun with his first Audi TT Cup victory at the Norisring

Shaun with his first Audi TT Cup victory at the Norisring

A fantastic weekend for Shaun as he took double pole position and storm to a pole to flag win in race 1 despite the wet conditions.  Shaun drove remarkably in race 1 and held the pressure from Jan Kisel in P2. This marks the first win for Shaun and puts him in contention for the overall championship. 

The young nineteen-year-old from Hong Kong had a dominant display during a rainy Saturday at the Norisring. During qualifying, which had mixed weather conditions, Thong was able to put in a near perfect set of laps securing pole position for both races. His magic Saturday continued as he clinched a lights-to-flag victory in the first race of the weekend.

 “ I started from pole and I definitely had the advantage of a clear track without spray. It was a case of driving smart, adapting to the conditions and not overdriving the car. It is a great feeling for me, as it is my first race win in touring cars. "
 

Blancpain Endurance Series @ Paul Ricard

Tough challenge                                                         June 20, 2015

Unlucky weekend ending up P39, the #6 car got hit from behind in lap 6 and cost us 5 laps to repair and another 2 punctures in the 2nd and 3rd stint set us back for more than 10 laps behind leader. Tough weekend but will be back stronger by Nurburgring in September!

 

Blancpain Endurance Series @ Silverstone

Promising Pace Ahead                              May 24th, 2015

With the trio of Shaun, Marchy Lee, and Markus Winkelhock, the #6 Audi R8 LMS Ultra finished in 34th place finished out of over 60 cars in a very strong and competitive field after a strong qualified that put un in P10 on the starting grid. 

 

24 Hours of Nurburgring 

A great finish!                                          May 17th, 2015

Shaun Thong, "Franky" Cheng Cong Fu, Rene Koneberg (Head of Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia), Alex Yoong and Marchy Lee

Shaun Thong, "Franky" Cheng Cong Fu, Rene Koneberg (Head of Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia), Alex Yoong and Marchy Lee

#15 blasting through Hatzenbach

#15 blasting through Hatzenbach

As the first ever Full Asian Line-up in the GT3 class for the 24 Hours of Nurburgring, the #15 R8 LMS Ultra of Shaun Thong, Marchy Lee, Alex Young and Franky Cheng took the finish at P12 for their N24 debut and the team showed a consistent and adaptive driving throughout the race and completed their maiden N24 visit

" I cannot ask for more on my first 24 hours race, Nordschliefe itself is crazy enough and to finish a 24 hours race here in the Nurburgring makes the story even more special for us and the team. We are the rookies for the race and we cannot compare the pace yet to top running cars as we haven't got the tyres compound they are running but also we are still in the process of learning and building confident for the circuit, but the race here and to finish the race is one of the greatest moment and thank you the team and drivers who put their very best effort into making this happen. "
 

Audi TT Cup @ Hockenheim

Challenging Weekend                                              May 5th, 2015 

A challenging weekend for Shaun, who made his debut in the new Audi Sport TT Cup last weekend at Hockenheim. Shaun, who is part of the Audi Sport customer racing Asia Young Driver Development Programme, qualified P13 in both races, but was forced to retire early in Race 1 due to accident before finishing P16 in the second race of the weekend.

“For me it was just a really unlucky weekend, because I didn’t get through turn 1 in both races. In the first race, I was hit and spun into the field and had a damaged car, which also happened in race 2.” 

 

VLN2 @ Nordschleife

Apr. 24, 2015

Franky Cheng, Shaun Thong, and Marchy Lee

Franky Cheng, Shaun Thong, and Marchy Lee

Shaun will be competing in the VLN2 at the Nordschlefe this weekend with teammates Marchy Lee and Franky Cheng in preparation for the upcoming Nurburgring 24h in mid May.

 

Nurburgring 24h Qualification Race

Apr. 13, 2015

Finished P8 overall for our 2nd visit to the Nordschleife. Great effort from the team and my teammates. More to come and will be back in 2 weeks time for VLN2.