May 2016. Shanghai International Circuit. Audi R8 LMS Cup. That was officially the very first time for Vincent Floirendo to take his #55 ENsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 out racing. Since then, this German-made machinery has racked up thousands of kilometers competing on some of the best circuits in the region, claiming several podium finishes and a number of race wins along the way. And now on it’s 8th year racing it’s taking another shot at the Thailand Super Series (TSS).
The Filipino driver has confirmed his return to the series’ top-tier Super GT3 class with his trusty Audi R8 LMS – the same car that took him to 4th overall in the Pro-Am Championship and 3 podium finishes last year. It’s also a chance for him to be reunited with ex-DTM and GT1 driver Markus Winkelhock who will share driving duties with Vincent in all 5 rounds.
“Learned a lot from Markus,” shared Vincent on his co-driver. “Very impressive driving style. Interestingly, he doesn’t have braking references on the race track. Everything is based on feel for him.”
This year’s calendar will see the TSS visit the Chang international Circuit on 3 occasions starting with the season opener on April 20/23. The famed Sepang International Circuit is also making a comeback, which the series will visit in August. But what Vincent is looking forward to the most are the ultra-exciting street circuit races, the Bangsaen Grand Prix and the Singapore Grand Prix support race, for obvious reasons.
2023 Thailand Super Series Race Calendar
Round 1 | April 20-23 (Chang International Circuit)
Round 2 | May 25-28 (Chang International Circuit)
Round 3 | June 27-July 2 (Bangsaen Grand Prix)
Round 4 | August 25-27 (Sepang International Circuit)
Invitational | September 15-17 (Singapore Grand Prix)
Round 5 | December 14-17 (Chang International Circuit)
Also worth noting is how his Audi R8 LMS GT3 has stayed competitive for this long. After a few outings in the Audi R8 LMS Cup in 2016/2017, Vincent took it racing in the 2018 GT Asia Series and shared the car with ex-Lotus F1 development driver Adderly Fong. The #55 machine then received its first EVO upgrade in 2019, which Vincent effectively used to win the Audi R8 LMS Cup Challenger Trophy that year. Unfortunately, both Vincent and his R8 LMS GT3 did not see action for 2 years because of the pandemic. But when it finally returned to the track in 2022, it came back with a bang sporting the latest EVO 2 update and a brand new Philippine flag-inspired livery for the Thailand Super Series.
Now that it’s back to its original red-white-and-silver livery, Vincent believes that the Audi R8 LMS GT3 will still prove to be an effective weapon for the next 3 years. This is a strong testament not only to its design and engineering, but also to the chassis’ longevity to withstand the rigorous demands of motorsports for so many years in active duty.
Vincent Floirendo: “Looking forward this season and perform better than 2022. The GT3 class will be interesting as there’ll be more entries in 2023 including a Mercedes AMG. We have a good team behind us through Absolute Racing and an excellent Pro driver with Markus, so I hope to have another great year racing in the Thailand Super Series.”
Ingo Matter, Team Director: “I am delighted to have Vicente and Markus back on the team. They had some good results last year, and I’m confident they will build on that in 2023. Vicente’s remarkable progress last season leaves us very confident for the season to come, while Markus’ unparalleled experience and race craft provide an invaluable asset to our team. The goal is to maximize every weekend and to go for the championship.”
[Photos courtesy of Audi Sport Asia]