Malaysian squad OD Racing will enter an Audi R8 LMS GT3 in this season’s inaugural Blancpain GT Series Asia campaign, with Mitch Gilbert confirmed as its first driver.
Founded in 2014, the team has previously contested the Asian Le Mans Series and GT Asia categories with McLaren and Lamborghini machinery. However, that all changes this year thanks to Blancpain GT Series Asia’s partnership with the Audi R8 LMS Cup, which allows teams to run the same car in both championships at the same venue a matter of weeks apart.
Indeed, such favourable logistics and opportunities to gather additional data using the same car and Pirelli tyres played a major role in OD Racing’s decision to join the championship with Audi.
Gilbert, meanwhile, previously competed in European F3 and the Formula 1-supporting GP3 Series before successfully switching to GT racing at the start of 2016. The Malaysian-born Australian finished third in last season’s Porsche Carrera Cup Asia standings and also claimed a class podium at December’s Motul Sepang 12 Hours.
The 22-year-old will contest both the 2017 Audi R8 LMS Cup and Blancpain GT Series Asia campaigns with OD Racing, who will announce Gilbert’s co-driver for the latter championship in due course.
OD Racing director Cornelius Ee views this season as a fresh start for the team after a tough 2016.
“We hoped to finish 2016 with a better result than what we ultimately achieved, but that is racing and it was a steep learning curve for us,” he said. “For 2017, however, we have secured what we hope to be a race-winning car with the Audi R8 LMS GT3, and we have a talented line-up of drivers who I’m sure can deliver results for our team. The whole team is feeling re-energised and we are all committed to bring home great results this year for ourselves and our partners.”
OD Racing becomes the second Audi team confirmed for this season’s inaugural Blancpain GT Series Asia campaign after Phoenix Racing Asia announced its two-car programme in January. They’re joined on the GT3 grid by the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes-AMG, McLaren, Aston Martin and Lamborghini.
The team will test its new Audi at Sepang International Circuit on March 13/14 ahead of Blancpain GT Series Asia’s opening round of the season there on April 8/9.
2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia Schedule
April 8/9 Sepang, Malaysia
May 20/21 Chang International Circuit, Thailand
June 24/25 Suzuka, Japan
August 19/20 Fuji Speedway, Japan
September 23/24 Shanghai, China
October 21/22 Zhejiang, China