Franky Cheng and Adderly Fong sit second in the GT World Challenge Asia drivers’ championship after the rounds in Sepang and Buriram. Cheng told Asian Motorsport he thinks winning this year’s overall drivers’ title is possible.

By Steven Walton

Chinese silver-ranked drivers Franky Cheng and Adderly Fong are racing together this year in the silver class of GT World Challenge Asia.

Both drivers bring massive experience to the championship, having raced in the series before the COVID-19 pandemic when it was known as the Blancpain GT Series Asia.

This season, Cheng and Fong are driving an Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II under the FAW Audi Sport Asia Racing Team banner, though their car is part of the new Phantom Global Racing team.

The season could not have started better for the pair. They took pole position for the season-opener in Sepang, Malaysia and overcame changeable conditions in the race to convert that pole to an overall victory.

At last weekend’s round in Buriram, Thailand, the pair were back on the podium, finishing third overall in Saturday’s race. The result was hard-earned, with Fong fighting brilliantly in the final minutes to hold off Alessio Picariello and Leo Ye.

“To be honest, I’m more than happy because, I must say that we don’t have the ultimate pace this weekend,” Cheng told Asian Motorsport after the Buriram podium.

“So to actually achieve the third position, this added another 15 points to the championship, is very important,” he said.

Cheng and Fong depart Buriram with 46 points, putting them second in the overall drivers’ championship with four rounds to go.

The championship leader is Lu Wei, who has 56 points. Lu drives the #4 Origine Motorsport Porsche and has picked up two wins this season.

Asked whether winning the overall drivers’ championship was achievable, Cheng said: “I think it’s possible”.

“The goal is always try to win it and whether we can do it or not, requires the whole team’s effort, drivers, engineer, mechanics,” he said.

“So far everyone they are doing very well, doing maximum efforts to make the car faster and to be consistently good … I think the goal [will] never change, but whether by the end of season we can win, fingers crossed.”

Cheng said he was “really, really happy” with his start to the 2024 season.

Cheng and Fong are not only sitting second in the overall drivers’ standings – they are also tied for the lead of the silver class standings with Akash Nandy and James Yu Kuai.

Cheng said Phantom Global Racing’s team director Martin Young had helped massively with preparing their Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II this year.

Cheng also praised teammate Fong. “Myself and [Adderly] have been long-time friends already, so we got this trust [in] each other, Adderly is really, really doing maximum, he’s amazing.”

Cheng described GT World Challenge Asia as “an amazing championship”.

A field of 33 GT3 cars has been assembled for the full season and several Pro-Am entries feature Asian amateurs paired with European factory drivers.

“I don’t want to just only say the big pro from Europe, but also I must highlight the gentleman drivers, the am drivers in Asia [are] a really, really high level,” Cheng said.

“I certainly believe that [if] our best bronze drivers in Asia go to race in Europe, [they] will be as good as the top European bronze. This I have no doubt about it.”

“And also, with the heat, racing in Asia, the car tends to be more oversteery and more unbalanced, and the temperature is consistently really hot and the tyre deg is massive more than Europe, I think this is also bringing an extra challenge to the drivers.”

GT World Challenge Asia returns for its next round in Fuji on June 21-23.

Header image credit: GT World Challenge Asia

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