Kuala Lumpur, Sept 25: The GAZOO Racing (GR) GT Cup Asia 2023 came to an exhilarating close with three action-packed races on Sunday, September 24, 2023. Fifteen e-motorsports enthusiasts, representing Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, showcased their driving prowess and strategic skills as they vied for the regional championship title and a coveted spot in the Global Finals.
This year’s GR GT Cup Asia introduced a revamped race format, with all regional finalists participating in three intense races on PlayStation®’s “Gran Turismo 7.” The competition commenced with a 5-minute time attack as a qualifying round on Mount Panorama, featuring GT Supra Gr.4 cars, followed by a 15-minute race. The second race took place on the Tokyo Expressway – East Clockwise track, with grid positions reversed from Race 1 and GR Corolla cars competing in a 25-minute race. The climactic third race unfolded on the legendary Spa Francorchamps racetrack, where GR010 Hybrid Hypercars raced after another 5-minute time attack qualifying round, culminating in a gripping 35-minute race with dynamic weather conditions. The championship outcome was determined by cumulative points earned across all three races, the top five positions in qualifying rounds, and bonus points for the fastest laps in each of the three races. The top two finalists would secure their spots in the Global Finals scheduled for November in Barcelona, Spain.
Indonesia’s Andika Rama emerged as the champion, accumulating an impressive total of 65 points throughout the competition. Rama showcased a calculated approach, securing 4th and 5th positions in Race 1 and 2 before boldly claiming pole position in Race 3. His strategic tire management amid changing weather conditions ultimately paid off. Luis Moreno from the Philippines secured the second spot, with 52 points, after finishing 6th and 4th in the earlier races and clinching pole position in Race 3’s qualifying round. Singapore’s Fadtris Isa and Malaysia’s Dhanesh Wigneswaran also displayed remarkable performances, although weather-related challenges and pit strategy misjudgments affected their standings.
Reflecting on his victory, Andika Rama shared, “I knew that my pace in the final race was not as good as Luis and Dhanesh, so even though it started to rain, the wetness on track was low, I gambled on another two laps with hard tires while everyone went to pit. I tried to manage my pace after pitting, and it paid off. I’m thankful to my family, friends, and fans who are here watching me live or online at home, and of course grateful to Toyota Indonesia for supporting us all the way. I look forward to racing with Luis at the Global Finals against our Italian and Japanese peers.”
Apart from the exciting race format, the fourth season of the GR GT Cup Asia in 2023 underscored Toyota’s commitment to making e-motorsports accessible across generations. It allowed racing enthusiasts from the region to experience the thrill of competitive racing. Additionally, fans and participants were treated to visually captivating livery designs inspired by the national colors of each participating country.
Jaja Ishibashi, General Manager at Toyota Motor Asia Pacific, expressed, “We are thrilled to see strong, continued support for the fourth edition of the GAZOO Racing GT Cup Asia. All racers displayed exceptional skills that were spectacularly demonstrated, even across the various racing conditions. We hope that GR Asia brought a thrilling evening of entertainment to E-motorsports fans around the region, particularly with our all-new race format and colorful livery designs displayed throughout the competition.”
Andika Rama and Luis Moreno will represent Asia and compete against some of the world’s best e-Motorsport racers in the TGR GT Global Finals scheduled for November.
Highlights of the Regional Finals
The competition kicked off at sunrise on Australia’s Mount Panorama, with a tight 5-minute qualifying round leading to Singapore’s Fadtris Isa, the youngest racer at 19 years old, securing pole position. The 7-lap race witnessed intense action, with Malaysia’s Taj Aiman and Dhanesh Wigneswaran taking second and third positions. Despite technical issues faced by Indonesia’s Benaya Theo, Fadtris Isa emerged as the winner of Race 1.
Race 2, held on Tokyo Expressway, featured a reverse starting grid and an enthralling 11-lap battle. Benaya Theo, determined to bounce back, secured pole position. The race saw numerous position swaps and challenges, with Benaya Theo ultimately claiming victory.
The final race at the Spa Francorchamps in Belgium featured GR010 Hybrid Hypercars and a 5-minute qualifying round. Luis Moreno from the Philippines secured pole position, setting the stage for a gripping contest. Weather played a significant role, with changing conditions affecting tire choices. Andika Rama’s strategic tire management proved crucial, leading to his victory in the final race.
The top three individual racers and top three country teams, based on cumulative points, received prizes. In the individual category, Andika Rama (Indonesia) earned 6,000 USD with 65 points, followed by Luis Moreno (Philippines) with 52 points and Fadtris Isa (Singapore) with 49 points. In the team championship, Team Indonesia secured 6,000 USD with 122 points, Team Malaysia earned 3,000 USD with 105 points, and Team Singapore received 1,500 USD with 98 points.
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