Four Formula Masters China Series (FMCS) graduates demonstrated the strength of the region’s leading international junior single-seater driver development platform by taking the GTC class victory at last weekend’s Sepang 12 Hours. Racing with GITI TOPSPEED Racing, 2015 FMCS champion Martin Rump, 2014 champion James Munro, 2013 FMCS runner-up Afiq Yazid and two-time Best Chinese Driver Trophy winner Yuan Bo applied the skills honed during their FMCS season to impress in the grueling endurance race.
The opportunity to compete in the prestigious race came as a result of one of the many unique development co-operations between FMCS and its partners. Together with long-term tire partner Giti, FMCS announced the entry in October at the FMCS 2015 season finale, and in Malaysia the squad teamed up with FMCS organizer TopSpeed to race the number 23 Lamborghini Super Trofeo Huracán.
The team’s class victory and 11th place overall finish further demonstrated the efficacy of the FMCS platform. Established in 2013 by Volkswagen Group China, FMCS provides a credible, international benchmark against which drivers from around the world can measure themselves. Such is the international reach of the series that the four drivers racing as part of GITI TOPSPEED Racing hailed from four different countries, with Chinese driver Yuan competing alongside Malaysian Yazid, Munro of New Zealand and Rump of Estonia.
“Congratulations to our Formula Masters China Series drivers and to our partners Giti and TopSpeed on a well-deserved class victory at the Sepang 12 Hours,” said Dominic Lyncker, Head of Group Sports Car, Motorsport and Car Culture, Volkswagen Group (China). “This is a prime example of what we are working to achieve in FMCS; a nurturing platform for drivers to develop a solid single-seater foundation prior to finding success in sports cars. In winning the GTC Class at the Sepang 12 Hours, the drivers have showcased their speed, talent and teamwork capabilities, while expertly making the transition from single seaters to sportscars.”
While the race marked the first time Rump and Munro had competed in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Huracán, Yazid and Yuan both have experience with the GT car. Following his second-place finish in 2013, Yazid began his sportscar career with the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia. During the 2015 season, the young Malaysian was joined by Star Racing Academy driver Yuan, who contested both FMCS and the Volkswagen Group China sportscar series in 2015.
Said Phang Wai Yeen, Executive Director of R&D, Giti Tire: “Congratulations to the drivers for a strong performance at the weekend’s Sepang 12 Hours and GTC class win. Having been the Formula Masters China Series tire partner since its inaugural season in 2013, we share a common goal of developing motorsport in the region. Participating in the Sepang 12 Hours with an all-FMCS team was the perfect opportunity to again work with the some of the championship’s brightest talents, while at the same time further developing the Giti tire range.”
With FMCS racing on a diverse variety circuits around the region, all four drivers were familiar with Malaysia’s Formula 1 facility as well as the searing heat and humidity, which bring further challenges for the drivers. Having qualified 16th, the team narrowly missed the top 15 Qualifying Shoot-out. After the first hour, the team held strong in 16th and were second in class, but after two hours, they had moved up to 13th overall. An hour later, the team had taken the GTC class lead, lying 12th overall. The team would retain the class lead for the remainder of the race, climbing to 11th by the flag.
The FMCS drivers’ success at the Sepang 12 Hours closes a strong season for the junior single-seater championship. FMCS continuously seeks out new opportunities for its drivers to further their careers equipped with the motorsport foundations they build within the junior single seater series. Working in close collaboration with the GT series which are part of the Volkswagen Group China motorsport family, FMCS alumni have found success in the Audi R8 LMS Cup, the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia and the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.
Preparations for FMCS’s fourth season in 2016 are well underway. Prior to the season’s official launch in April, FMCS will host a Winter Race from January 21-24, 2016 at Sepang in support of the Asian Le Mans Series. The Winter Series presents the ideal opportunity for teams to evaluate new talent, and for drivers to complete their preparations ahead of the 2016 season. Please contact FMCS Series Manager Matthijs Hoitink at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.