Bentley will make its Blancpain GT Series Asia debut at Shanghai International Circuit next weekend (September 23/24) after official customer squad Absolute Racing confirmed that two of its Continental GT3s would be competing in rounds nine and 10.
The Shanghai-based squad has run several Audi R8 LMS GT3s in each of the pan-continental championship’s four events so far this season but also campaigns its British-built supercars in Pirelli World Challenge and China GT. Now the squad will run both simultaneously over Blancpain GT Series Asia’s penultimate race weekend.
Bentley Team Absolute claimed back-to-back GT Asia Series Teams’ titles in 2015 and ’16, while one of the outfit’s current PWC drivers, Adderly Fong, also finished second and third overall in each of those campaigns. The Hong Kong racer now brings that level of experience to Blancpain GT Series Asia where he’s joined in the squad’s #20 entry by China GT co-driver Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak, who also raced on home soil during Blancpain GT Series Asia’s Buriram event earlier this year.
Elsewhere, the #30 Continental GT3 features another of Bentley Team Absolute’s China GT pairings: Andrew Kim and Weiron Tan. Kim finished third alongside Fong in last season’s GT Asia Series standings and has also driven the team’s Bentley in PWC and Asian Le Mans Series. The South Korean’s 22-year-old co-driver Tan switched from European and US junior single-seaters to GT racing at the start of this year.
Bentley’s involvement ensures that eight different GT3 manufacturers are represented on Shanghai’s entry list, which also features the likes of Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche.
Bentley Team Absolute Team Director Fabien Fior: “We’re really happy to join Blancpain GT Series Asia with our Bentley armada at Shanghai. We do not have any expectations on our shoulders but with highly-competitive equipment, our team of specialised technicians and racing on a high-speed circuit that suits the Bentley Continental GT3, our drivers have all the necessary tools to succeed. Weiron and Andrew and Adderly and Vutthi will also be full of confidence after impressive performances in this year’s China GT Championship, and from our point of view there is plenty of room for optimism as we go into what is going to be another highly competitive racing weekend.”
Championship Manager Benjamin Franassovici: “Absolute and Bentley represent one of, if not the, most successful partnership in recent Asian GT racing history. Having them together on Blancpain GT Series Asia’s grid for the first time adds yet more variety to an already diverse and very competitive entry list. It will be fascinating to see how they compare against the established order and, in some cases, previous rivals, especially given the level of experience in both their driver line-ups.”
Further race-by-race entries are expected to be announced before the final entry list for rounds nine and 10 is released early next week.