It’s the first race of the 2016 GT Asia Series and a jovial Alex Yoong can be seen around the paddock of the Korea International Circuit this week as he prepares for his return to the popular Asian GT series.
Softly singing classic ‘80s rock tunes under his breath, and with a slight spring in his step that is occasionally broken with a dance, the double Audi R8 LMS Cup champion is definitely happy to be at the race track after a five-month absence since competing in the Sepang 12 Hour in December.
“It’s been five months since I last drove a race car in anger at the Sepang 12 Hour, and there is always a feeling of trepidation at the first race of the season,” says Alex as he takes some time off in the Phoenix Racing Asia garage. “
Is he still fast? Have the winter preparations been enough? Does he even remember how to drive?
“You’d think that those are kind of strange thoughts to be having for a driver,” Alex continues in deep thought. “But you have to remember I wear a few hats. This winter I’ve been training for waterskiing and hitting the gym, as well as concentrating on my TV work for Fox Sports; so the racing part of my brain just hasn’t been engaged since December last year.”
It’s certainly going to be an interesting start for Alex in the GT Asia Series, as his team- Phoenix Racing Asia- is making their debut in the series.
“Although Phoenix Racing Asia are making their debut in this series as well, they have already been turning heads with the high level of professionalism they have showed in the build-up to the race this weekend.”
But let’s not forget that Phoenix Racing aren’t new to the challenges of GT racing. Founded by Ernst Moser in 1999, Phoenix Racing has been based in the Nurburgring industrial park just a stones throw away from the famous Nordschleif.
A multiple DTM champion, Phoenix Racing has achieved high success in Porsche Carrera Cup, Nurburgring 24 Hours, Spa 24 Hours, FIA GT Championship, VLN, Speedcar and Supertouring Cars. As the team founder Ernst Moser says: “We love challenge and competition. And we love success. That is our passion and motivation and that’s what drives us.”
Alex’s initiation to the team has been positive: “It’s a very good team and my initial interactions with the people here fill me with the confidence for the year. Alex Au shares the car with me, and I’ve been working hard to hit the ground running.”
All the ingredients are there for Alex to have a successful 2016 GT Asia campaign, and after this weekend his racing brain will definitely be back in gear as he then immediately flies off to Shanghai for the start of the Audi R8 LMS Cup, where he will be defending his 2015 championship title.
“I can’t wait for the weekend to start so that I can stop the questions in my head. Hopefully the answers will be the ones I like.”