Spirit of Race takes Blancpain GT Asia Race 1 win at Buriram


The second double header of the Blancpain GT Series Asia at Buriram, Thailand, started with a Ferrari win like the Sepang weekend ended, but unfortunate incidents took past winners from BBT and OD Racing out of the fight and handed the win to the No. 38 Spirit of Race 488 GT3 with Rino Mastronardi subbing for Nasrat Muzayyin alongside Rui Águas, and with GruppeM Racing offering quite a challenge to the Italian car.

The start of the race had the No. 37 BBT Ferrari taking the lead and the No. 38 Spirit of Race Ferrari desperately holding second place from the huge pack behind it. While that on Turn 2 Hunter Abbott in the No. 999 GruppeM Mercedes gave a tap into Mitch Gilbert's No. 86 OD Racing Audi, sending him right to a spin.

A game-changing fact happened with 10 minutes of racing, as the leading BBT Ferrari and the No. 66 VSR Lamborghini were involved in heavy contact with the No. 111 TTR Team SARD Porsche GT4 car, retiring immediately as damage was simply too extensive to let them even limp back to the pits, and with this the race had its first yellow flag period along with the entry of the Safety Car.

It took around 12 minutes to clear the whole mess left on track, and then the race restarted with Hunter Abbotthaving his hands full with Aidan Read in the No. 1 FFF Racing Lamborghini and Marchy Lee in the No. 5 Audi Hong Kong car, somehow keeping them behind at the cost of loss of contact with the No. 38 Spirit of Race Ferrari.

While the No. 38 opted for a longer run, its main opposition pitted as early as the window opened. The No. 38 car got back in front with Rui Águas taking drving duties from Rino Mastronardi, with the mission of outpace and hold the No. 999 GruppeM Mercedes. While that the No. 5 Audi Hong Kong car overtook the No. 1 FFF Racing Lamborghini after losing the position in the pitstops, but the 10 second disadvantage to the leader meant they would hardly fight for any more than the current third spot.

Águas started pulling away from Buhk but with 10 minutes to go the German started to fight back, sometimes being helped by the backmarkers blocking Águas' way. The gap in the final lap was in a bit less than two seconds and Buhk was really in a charge, but despite more backmarkers appearing in front of the No. 38, the No. 999 was unable to even pull a fight, losing at the line by 0.795 seconds.

Am Cup honors went to the No. 19 KCMG Audi of Naoto Takeda and Takuya Shirasaka, and the GT4 class was dominated by the No. 77 CRAFT-Bamboo Porsche GT4 of Frank Yu and Jean-Marc Merlin.