Six contenders, one crown. The Audi R8 LMS Cup heads to Shanghai this weekend for the final two races of 2015, in a brilliant season of racing that sees the championship go right down to the wire. With six drivers battling for the championship title, Rounds 12&13 at the Shanghai International Circuit are guaranteed to be nothing short of electrifying. The final chequered flags of 2015 will both fall on Saturday, October 31.

Leading the charge into the finale are defending champion Alex Yoong of Audi TEDA Racing Team and Chinese motorsport star Cheng Congfu of FAW-VW Audi Racing Team. Yoong’s win in Round 10 earlier this month in Fuji helped power him to the top of the leaderboard while Cheng’s second-place finish in Round 11 sees him head to the final races in front of his enthusiastic home fans tied on equal points with his rival.

rounds-12-13-preview-5Third, and just 17 points behind, is 2012 Cup champion Marchy Lee of Audi Hong Kong Team. While there have been seven different winners thus far this season, Yoong and Lee are the only two who have triumphed more than once. Thomas Fjordbach of Federal-Mogul Motorparts, female Swiss GT specialist Rahel Frey of Castrol Racing Team and Aditya Patel of Team Audi R8 LMS Cup also remain in contention for the championship title. Just 35 points separate the six drivers, with a maximum 51 points on offer this weekend.

Racing in support of the prestigious FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) for the second time this season, the weekend once again unites the Audi Sport motorsport family.

“The Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015 has been our most competitive season to date, and heading towards its thrilling final with so many drivers still in contention further emphasizes how close-fought the title chase is,” said Rene Koneberg, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia. “The new innovations we have introduced over the past few years have made race strategy much more important, adding to the action and drama on track. We’re delighted to once again join the Audi Sport WEC entries and we look forward to a fantastic weekend of racing.”

While six drivers are eyeing the championship, the rest of the field is also looking to end the 2015 on a high note. Audi Korea driver Kyong-Ouk You piled the pressure on Yoong in Fuji and will look for an opportunity to take his maiden Cup victory in Shanghai. Another driver to watch is Italian Stefano Montesi of Team Betterlife, who has qualified well all season, thanks to a strong Push-to-Pass strategy.

Over the past four seasons, the first sprint-race series from the brand with the Four Rings has won a reputation for tight battles throughout the field and this year is no different. The hotly-contested Amateur Cup will also be decided this weekend, with three drivers in contention. Daniel Bilski of B-Quik Racing leads the category, but rival Alex Au of CTVS Racing Team is close behind. Au made great strides in his bid to win a second Class title when he took two category victories in Fuji and, in the process, became the first Amateur Cup driver to start from pole position, a feat he achieved for Round 11. Third in the Class is Johnson Huang of BC Racing.

rounds-12-13-preview-4For the majority of the field, Rounds 12&13 represent the culmination of what has been an exhilarating season of motorsport. However, two young drivers make their Cup debuts in the season finale. Newly-crowned Formula Masters China Series (FMCS) champion Martin Rump, 19, will make his Audi R8 LMS Cup debut in Shanghai with Audi ThinkPad Racing Team, as will Star Racing Academy driver and 2015 FMCS Best Chinese Driver Trophy winner Yuan Bo with SCC Sportscar Club. Estonian Rump, 19, tested an Audi R8 LMS Cup car earlier this summer under the tutelage of Yoong, who was impressed by the fledging talent’s instant speed. Chinese driver Yuan tested the Audi R8 LMS Cup car in 2013. Rump and Yuan’s invitations come as part of the expansion of the Audi Sport customer racing Asia Young Driver Development Programme, which has further strengthened its partnership with FMCS, an international junior single-seater championship which is part of the Volkswagen Group China motorsport family.

Fans both in the Cup’s home in China and around the world can watch both races live via dedicated live streams. The English-language stream will be broadcast on the Cup’s new website www.audir8lmscup.com. In Chinese, fans can catch Rounds 12&13 on Cup partner sites LeTV and PPTV. Series partner sport auto will stream the race over Chinese platform Xiaomi.

Rounds 12&13 take place the Shanghai International Circuit. Qualifying and Superpole – a one-lap timed shootout for the top eight drivers from the first qualifying session – take place on Friday, October 30, with the 12-lap Rounds 12&13 scheduled for Saturday, October 31.

Ben Potter

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