BENTLEY TEAM ABSOLUTE CONFIRM THREE CAR GT ASIA SERIES TEAM
21 January 2017
2017 GT Asia Series
Text/Photos: Motorsport Media
Reigning GT Asia Series Team’s champion Bentley Team Absolute have confirmed that they will return to a championship in which they have been very much a force over the last two seasons, with a three car Bentley Continental GT3 programme, mirroring the team which claimed the most round wins in season 2016.
“During the 2016 end of season presentation I told our rivals that we were going to come back in 2017 and claim not just the Team’s title, but this year we want the Driver’s title as well,” Absolute Team Bentley’s Ingo Matter said.
“We’ve had a fantastic relationship with the GT Asia Series and been the most successful manufacturer in the Series across the last two seasons with any one of our teams in the battle for the podium across each of the circuits we’ve travelled to, so we’re going into 2017 full of confidence.”
Since they made their debut in the GT Asia Series during the penultimate round of the 2014 season with the mighty twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 Continental GT3, Absolute’s drivers have been right in the title battle, winning an impressive seven events across the ensuing two seasons, claiming 22 podiums in the process.
Last season Japan’s Keita Sawa and Australia’s Jonathon Venter won a season-high three rounds, whilst Hong Kong’s Adderly Fong added a third win to the two he enjoyed in 2015 alongside Sawa on their way to second in the Driver’s championship.
Across the ensuing two plus years, Bentley Team Absolute have enjoyed the presence of some serious contenders behind the wheel, with England’s Duncan Tappy, Spain’s Andy Soucek, Briton Andy Meyrick, Germany’s Christer Jöns, Dane Benny Simonsen and France’s Jean-Karl Vernay amongst those on the rotating driver’s roster, but none have enjoyed more success than Sawa, Venter and Fong.
The final driver lineup for 2017 is still very much a team secret, but based on past seasons, it is likely to include a selection of drivers more than capable of taking the fight to their rivals.
“As we have in past seasons, we’ll reveal the lineup on the eve of the opening round, but let’s just say, there’s a few names there to instil fear into the hearts of anyone thinking they’re going to have an easy time of it this season,” Matter explained in his typical laconic style.
“Absolute Racing are a powerhouse in Asian motorsport, and have been a regular podium finisher and outright title contender every time they’ve entered GT Asia,” Motorsport Asia Limited CEO David Sonenscher said. “They’ll be right at the top of their game this year, and if past season’s are anything to go by, they will be hard to beat, but I’m sure there will be no shortage of teams looking to push them all the way to the final round.”
The 2017 season gets underway in early March, with a two-day official test at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia on 7-8 March, followed by the first two rounds of the season at the same venue on 10-12 March.
The GT Asia Series is sanctioned by the FIA as an International Series and is clearly recognised as the Region’s leading GT Championship. It is solely managed and promoted by Motorsport Asia Ltd and is backed by Michelin, KW Automotive, Motul and Race Room.