Absolute Racing has won the 2023 Sepang 12 Hours, taking the chequered flag at the return of international endurance racing in Southeast Asia, and led a one two for the team!
Fine weather conditions saw the field make a clean start which saw the #15 AAI Motorsports BMW M4 GT3 take the lead from GT from pole sitter #18 Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II. The #488 Harmony Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo made a jump in the opening corners and almost made it to the front of the field before they settled in fifth.
The battle between the #18 Audi and #15 BMW continued into the second hour, with the lead being taken back by the Sepang-based outfit. The #16 EBM Giga Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R joined the fight for first place and took charge until the sixth hour. Five teams running
four different manufacturers were in the battle for victory with 2.5 hours remaining.
A dominant performance by Andrew Haryanto, Yu Kuai and Markus Winkelhock in the #18 Audi handed them line honours, but behind them, the combat continued.
In the final 30 minutes of the race there was less than 30 seconds between the top three, and only four seconds between #16 Porsche in second and #26 B-Quik Absolute Racing in third. Christopher Haase hunted Reid Harker’s Porsche down for second place with a late
race charge in the #26 Audi to seal a one two for the team with only ten minutes to go.
In GT Am, polesitters #91 AAI Motorsports BMW M6 GT3 of Betty Chen, Piti Bhirombhakdi and Tanart Sathienthirakul led not only their class, but also overall in the first hour. The #216 Modena Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R challenged the #91 BMW, before the latter took back the lead to seal class honours, and fifth overall.
Another late race battle for second between #216 Porsche and #51 AMAC Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R, had only. 0.3s between them in the dying minutes, before Andre Heimgartner moved the Australian-based team into second place.
Chan Sye Wai, Li Jia and Shaun Thong in the #101 FM Motorsport x Silver Rocket Porsche 911 GT3 Cup completed the 2023 Sepang 12 Hours and took GT Cup class honours.
Not only did the return of Sepang 12 Hours and international endurance racing in Southeast Asia see an entire field made of teams only from the Asia Pacific, but the race itself saw no safety cars, accidents, red flags or interruptions from beginning to chequered flag to complete a faultless return for the iconic event.
The starting grid was packed with guests from both supporting partners, Motul and Hankook, and team guests. Over 100 journalists and photographers from around the region and world were also in attendance.
General Manager of Top Speed, Mr. Davide de Gobbi said, “
We could not have asked for a better return of the Sepang 12 Hours. With teams all from the Asia Pacific region and seven different manufacturers, the race was faultless, with no interruption, and hard clean racing with such a high standard of driving from all the entries.
We have been lucky to have such wonderful support from our partners, Hankook and Motul, on and off the track. We cannot wait to welcome teams back to Sepang Internaaonal Circuit again next year.”