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AMBITIOUS THAI TEAM SETS INTERNATIONAL RECORDS

by Edd Ellison

Thai motorsport is certainly on an upward curve as all the championships are growing in stature. That’s proved a real plus for Pattaya race fans as the top Thai drivers are using the latest state-of-the-art racecars as they slug it out for supremacy on the evergreen ‘local’ home of motorsport, Bira Circuit.

However the leading Thai teams and drivers are now looking much further afield than Bira Circuit, Buriram’s brand new Chang International Circuit and of course the glittering annual street racing spectacular held just up the coastline on the streets of Bangsaen.

One of the biggest Thai teams, B-Quik Racing, has really been spreading its wings over the last couple of years, entering the Sepang 12 Hours twice and coming away with two podiums finishes.

Last year though this team contested its first ever full international season, choosing the popular pan-Asian ‘Audi R8 Cup’. It was a highly successful debut too as Daniel Bilski won the R8 Cup Amateur Cup title.

But more than just winning the prestigious title at the team’s first attempt, which was the first international title by a Thai team in many years, there were even more records broke, that’s because B-Quik Racing became the first ‘independent’ team ever to take part in the ‘R8 Cup’.

So far, the ‘R8 Cup’ has been run entirely ‘in house’ by leading Asian race team Absolute Racing, which has been tasked with preparing all the cars on behalf of Audi. However in a strategy that will bring the ‘R8 Cup’ into line with other regional one make racing series, such as the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, Audi is planning to permit individual teams to prepare cars – and during the 2015 season B-Quik Racing was in effect the ‘guinea pig’.

“To be the first independent team in the Audi R8 LMS Cup was a great privilege,” says Daniel, who reckoned it was the logical step forward for B-Quik Racing to make. “With the team having had some experience already running the Audi for Henk in Thailand Super Series and the Sepang 12 Hours, it was a great opportunity to take the team’s exposure and experience with Audi to the next level.”

Absolute Racing Team Owner Ingo Matter reckoned that inserting B-Quik Racing’s mechanics into the highly professional technical setup of the ‘R8 Cup’ for a full season would also expose them to all the available expertise on the Audi R8 LMS Cup and thus work as a two way street as they gained addition product knowledge and training.

“I think it’s a good system for him also to let his mechanics come over and integrate into the whole team,” says Ingo – whose Absolute Racing concern also runs private teams inside PCCA as well as the Bentley factory supported GT3 cars in Asia. “They learn more about the car and have all the people involved with the car very easily accessible because everyone is there, it helps everyone get up to speed together.”

Ingo was also very pleased with how the new ‘team’ bedded into the ‘R8 Cup’ so smoothly and quickly. “It was quite interesting in the beginning to see them out of their comfort zone coming to Zhuhai more or less by themselves but I think after just the first day they were fully integrated and enjoyed the experience,” Ingo adds.

Everyone quickly rallied round on the ground, says Daniel. “To see how the B-Quik technical team were welcomed, supported and treated as a part of the series was fantastic, and a real credit to the series,” he says. “If we ever needed extra hands, for example after our qualifying dramas in Japan, there were plenty of Absolute Racing and Audi personnel jumping in to help, without a second's thought. It was a fantastic sporting environment, with a genuine sense of camaraderie, all run at a top-class professional level.”

“And it wasn’t just the technical assistance,” Daniel adds. “For example, being Thai and not having travelled to Japan before, the boys weren’t really prepared for the cold weather in Japan, yet within minutes of our arrival at Fuji Speedway, they had more Audi Cup jackets, hats and jumpers than I did, courtesy of the management and teams.”

B-Quik Racing’s owner, Henk Kiks, was also delighted with how the year of many ‘firsts’ had shaken out. “I’m very proud of how my boys did in the Audi Cup,” he says. “They have all come straight into motorsport from a background of working in the B-Quik stores, as have all the staff on the team, and most of them go back after the races to their store positions apart from a small core that remains with the team, so they have all had to learn about motorsport together from scratch.

“The Audi Cup put our mechanics, who have so far only been used to racing in Thailand, apart from a couple of forays to Merdeka, straight into a very well organised and professional environment with all the best international standards,” he continues. “That they were able to prepare the car to run with complete reliability all season and win the championship really says a huge amount about the solid structure we have put in place at B-Quik Racing over the last few years. It also demonstrates that the high standards that we demand off our technician at every point in the B-Quik chain provides a great platform that staff can then use to go onto working in such a competitive and pressurised environment as international motorsport.”

Last word to Daniel. “To win the AM Cup Driver’s title in B-Quik’s first venture into the Audi Cup was a glowing testament to the team’s ability to adapt to a new environment and the speed with which everybody learned,” he says. “It was also an endorsement for the series, which didn’t hold back with opportunities for the team to learn and grow.

“I am extremely proud to have won the title last year, and equally proud to have done it with the first-ever independent team,” Daniel concludes.