Asia’s most prestigious international sportscar championship, GT Asia Series, will be heading to Thailand for the first time ever, on October 23-25, for its final rounds of the year. It promises to be a high profile weekend for motorsport here as not only with there be a grid full of cutting edge racecars and top pro drivers, but the event will also include rounds of the TCR International and Asia Series on the programme, the brand new concept that has quite simply electrified touring car racing worldwide and is set to be launched in Thailand next year.
However while TCR, in Thai terms, is for the future, GT Asia Series has a very direct relevance to the teams and drivers presently competing in Super Car Class 1-GT3 and Class 2-GTM. Both of these categories are virtually directly replicated in GT Asia Series and while the pan-Asian championship is best known for its big mix of cutting edge FIA GT3 homologated cars, it also has a category reserved for ‘Cup’, ‘Challenge’ and ‘Trofeo’ level machines that is an almost perfect fit with our own Super Car Class 2-GTM.
Motorsport Asia, promoter of GT Asia series, already has a close working relationship with Racing Spirit Co. Ltd., promoter of Thailand Super Series and that tie up will seamlessly extend to the visit by GT Asia Series. Motorsport Asia will thus offer an unrivaled opportunity for the drivers, teams and racing machines in Super Car to join a world-class standard field on a world-class standard racetrack without the costs usually associated with traveling abroad eliminating the need to move, racecars, equipment and personnel cross border.
“We’ve made a very special offer in terms of entry fee and we really want to see as many Thai participants as possible to come and join us as we’re interested through our association with TSS to help to develop the sport here in Thailand,” explains Khun David Sonenscher, Chief Executive Officer of Motorsport Asia. “We also want to give them an opportunity to match themselves against true international competition, so we’re excited to have them join the event and we really want to welcome as many as possible.”
Integration should be a relatively smooth affair. While GT Asia Series’ top class is a straight fit for our GT3 cars as both series adhere to FIA homologation, the second tier of cars is also a very close fit, especially so as our Super Car Class 2-GTM category uses a group of metrics to set individual car performance that’s closely based on Motorsport Asia’s own regulations where applicable. This covers almost all the cars in Class 2-GTM where directly applicable except for a few cars, such as the Holden Commodore VE that is not classified as a Grand Touring car under the GT Asia Regulations.
The class names between the two series need clarification also. GT Asia Series uses ‘GTM’ to categorise its second tier, reserved for slightly older GT3 cars as well as other more heavily modified cars running in its championship, while using ‘GTC’ to designate the level of one make style sportscars.
Khun David explains. “The first category we have is GT3 which is for FIA GT3 cars, that’s the one everyone is familiar with from seeing GT Asia,” he says. “Then the second category is GTM, which is for slightly older model GT3 cars and modified cars such as the majority that are un in TSS Class 2, and then we have a third category, which we call GTC and that is for the Carrera Cup, Ferrari Challenge, Lamborghini Super Trofeo and Audi Cup cars and some are with very minor modification so the teams just have declare to us what they’ve modified on the car and then we will classify them and put them in there with a Balance of Performance.”
The calendar timing is also ideal for our teams as GT Asia Series’ trip to Buriram falls midway between the upcoming round of TSS at Bira Circuit (11-13 Sep) and the final round of the year, the Bangsaen Thailand Speed Festival (24-29 Nov). In fact there will be a full six weeks between TSS at Bira and GT Asia in Buriram for any required preparations to be made and then a further five weeks afterwards before the visit to Bangsaen is due.