Motorsports

Season Starts For The Audi R8 LMS Cup

BY Azfar Hashim

Now with added drama courtesy of 'Super Pole', standing starts and new car technology

The fourth season of the Audi R8 LMS Cup blasted into action last weekend at Southern China’s Zhuhai International Circuit. New innovations for the 2015 season includes a standing start for Race 2, while qualifying becomes a nail-biting affair with a Super Pole individual time trial for the top eight cars following the first qualifying session. In addition to the Race Success Ballast, 2015 introduces a new driver weight equalization system, creating an even more level-playing field.

From Zhuhai, the Cup heads to the Korea International Circuit in South Korea, prior to making its debut in Chinese Taipei, at the Penbay International Circuit. From there, the Cup travels to Malaysia in August, prior to marking another first for the series with two race weekends in support of the FIA World Endurance Championship. At Fuji from October 10 to 11 and at the Audi R8 LMS Cup season finale in Shanghai from October 31 to November 1, fans of the brand with the Four Rings will have a chance to see the Audi motorsport family unite, with the Cup and the Audi Sport WEC team racing alongside each other.

Highlights from the Audi R8 LMS Cup will also broadcast on sports channels across Asia, including Fox Sports and Star Sports. In 2014, Audi R8 LMS Cup's broadcast reached more than 30 million households, while more than 300 journalists reported from the track. Live streaming will again be available this season at www.audir8lmscup.com.

This year, the new race weekend format will feature one rolling start (Race 1) and one standing start (Race 2). Among the new enhancements to the Audi R8 LMS Cup car is a new launch control technology to assist the drivers from standing starts; a lighter clutch for a more agile response; a recessed rear wing for greater aerodynamic downforce; and a modified brake system for optimized braking force distribution.

Tactics and strategy are as crucial as ever. This season, drivers will be permitted two sets of tyres during qualifying and two sets for the weekend’s double-header. The push-to-pass system – introduced in 2014 and a first for a GT3 series – again brings a unique tactical element to the Cup by giving drivers temporary power boosts. The number of push-to-pass boosts is limited, and makes for exciting maneuvers throughout the field.