After a thrilling season-opening double-header at the Chinese F1 Grand Prix in Shanghai last month, the 28-strong Porsche Carrera Cup Asia field makes its debut this week at the Korea International Circuit, host to that country’s own F1 showcase from 2010 to 2013.
Leading the charge into Rounds 3 and 4 will be Clearwater Racing’s Craig Baird, who has a single point advantage over Team Jebsen’s Rodolfo Avila as the region’s premier GT championship prepares to take on the 5.62km Hermann Tilke-designed track.
Five different drivers were on the podium after the first two races of the 2015 season – the series’ 13th – including Budweiser Team Absolute Racing’s Tung Ho-Pin who made a brilliant start to his title campaign in Shanghai. The Chinese star’s victory in Round 2 puts him third on the overall leaderboard, a single point behind Avila. However, the man currently tied with Tung in third, Team Porsche Holding’s Martin Ragginger, will be absent from Korea as he will be contesting the famous Nürburgring 24 Hours. Taking Ragginger’s place on the team will be Chinese driver Zhang Zhen Dong, who turns 23 on May 16, and who finished an impressive ninth overall on his series debut in 2014.
Fifth overall after a confident start to his second season is Team Yonda’s Ro Charlz Skyangel ahead of series newcomer and former A1GP team mate of new Porsche LMP1 driver Earl Bamber, Chris van der Drift. Van der Drift scored an impressive second place on his debut in the opening round, but disappointingly was not able to take the start of Round 2.
China’s Bao Jin Long was another driver to make a remarkable start to his second season, with the Zheng Tong Auto driver taking his best finish to-date in Round 2. There were fireworks in Shanghai between reigning Class B champion, 24-year-old Alif Hamdan of Malaysia, and series newcomer Nico Menzel of PICC Team StarChase who, at just 17, is the series’ youngest-ever driver. The pair came together more than once over the weekend and each will be looking to give the other a wide berth in Korea.
After an equally-dramatic opening to the season in Class B, Modena Motorsports’ Wayne Shen of Hong Kong tops the leaderboard thanks to a podium finish and victory in Shanghai, but Avila’s team mate, Yuey Tan, is in hot pursuit just three points behind despite more than his fair share of ill luck in Shanghai. Team BC Racing’s Johnson Huang took a podium in Round 2 to put him third in the standings ahead of Samson Chan.
Making their first appearances of the 2015 season in Korea will be Class B drivers Kenneth Lau of Prince Racing Hong Kong, Team Kangshun’s Ringo Chong of Singapore, and 2013 Class B champion Egidio Perfetti with Spark Motorsports. Making his series debut in the second OpenRoad Racing car, alongside Francis Tjia, is Gary Cheung of Hong Kong. Cheung is an experienced touring car driver who has competed in the Hong Kong Touring Car Championship and Touring Car Series in Asia, and this season contests the Clio Cup.
As well as going all-out to earn valuable championship points, all the drivers will have an added incentive to succeed on the Korea International Circuit. The overall and Class B championship leaders after Round 6, to be held next month in Fuji, will receive an invitation to compete on Belgium’s renowned Spa Francorchamps circuit. The entries to the Porsche Carrera Cup 24 Hours of Spa 2015, which will run in support of the 24 Hours of Spa, are fully supported by Porsche China and its partners, and will provide two of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia drivers with the exciting opportunity to fly the flag for regional motorsport competition, as well as their championship, on one of Europe’s most respected race tracks.
The latest innovation from the series which stands proudly at the pinnacle of regional GT competition adds yet more intensity to an already-compelling season. The international field represents an unrivalled level of competition, and it is already clear that any one of the drivers is capable of piloting their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991) racing cars to a podium finish.
As the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia heads towards Yeongam, 400km south of the Korean capital Seoul, and the latest challenge in its 13-year history, all eyes will be on its extraordinary field of sportscar heroes.
About Porsche Carrera Cup Asia 2015
Supporting the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia are two of the most recognised names in international motorsport, Mobil1 and Michelin. Mobil and Porsche have been partners since 1996. Close co-operation in research and development has led to every new Porsche engine being filled with Mobil1 high-performance lubricant. Porsche Carrera Cup Asia drivers also have the advantage of racing on cutting-edge tyres supplied by series partner Michelin. The consistent performance and leading technology of Michelin tyres constantly improve the performance of many teams in international motorsport. The partnership between Michelin and the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia has emerged from a worldwide agreement signed between Porsche AG and the Michelin group. The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia is organised and promoted by Malaysian based Motorsport Asia Ltd.
Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991)
The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is the motorsport version of the new 911 GT3 (Type 991). The near-standard race car, based on the seventh generation of the 911, made its debut in Asia in 2014, having previously run exclusively in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is powered by a 3.8-litre, six cylinder boxer engine which, due to the weight optimized modular race exhaust system, generates 460hp (338 KW) at 7,500 revs per minute, ten horsepower more than its predecessor. Power is delivered to the rear axle via a race clutch and a Porsche
Motorsport designed six-speed dog-type gearbox with a mechanical limited slip differential. For the first time in a Porsche makes cup race car, gear shifting is activated with paddle shifts on the steering wheel. The single piece race wheels with centre mount were also newly designed by Porsche Motorsport. The width of the Michelin race slicks was increased by two centimetres to 27 centimetres at the front and by ten millimetres at the rear axle to now measure 31 centimetres.
Compared to its predecessor, the wheelbase has grown by 100 millimetres, improving handling at the limit, while Porsche Motorsport newly designed the forged single-piece 18 inch race rims with central locking.
The new racing brake system improves the endurance qualities of the 911 GT3 Cup, and the internally vented and slotted steel brake discs are operated by aluminium six-piston racing calipers in the front, and four-piston units at the rear.
Safety features have also been further enhanced, and drivers are protected by a newly calculated safety cage and newly designed race seat, while a rescue hatch in the roof enables easy access and extrication. Like the road going version, the body of the new 911 GT3 Cup combines maximum rigidity with low weight thanks to its aluminium-steel construction, and weighs in at just 1,175 kilograms.
About Porsche Carrera Cup Asia
Preparing for its 13th season in 2015, the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia blasted off the starting grid in 2003 and has never looked back. Joining the family of hugely successful Porsche “one make” series, it is now firmly established as the Number One racing series in Asia. The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia offers sporting competition at the highest level across the region and is truly international, with competitors from all over Asia as well as Europe and the Pacific. The field is made up of a combination of professional racing drivers and ambitious and talented gentlemen drivers.
About Porsche China
Porsche was founded by Prof. Ferdinand Porsche in Stuttgart, Germany in 1931 and was then transformed into a sports car manufacturer by Ferry Porsche in 1948. Porsche has been known as one of the most prestigious automobile brands in the world for decades. Under the guiding credo of “Intelligent Performance”, Porsche leads the way in providing a new generation of sports cars that prove performance and efficiency can be perfectly combined.
Since entering the Chinese market in 2001, Porsche China has been dedicated to bringing the sporty genes and innovative spirit of the marque to Porsche enthusiasts in this dynamic market. In Porsche’s network in China, customers can experience the unlimited appeal of Porsche’s iconic sports cars: the legendary 911 series, the renowned Boxster and Cayman mid-engine sports cars, the luxurious Cayenne premium SUV, the dynamic and pioneering Macan SUV, the sleek four-door Panamera Gran Turismo and the futuristic 918 Spyder super sports car. Each demonstrates excellence in performance, exquisite design, and consistent commitment to perfect quality that Porsche embodies. Across Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, there are now 80 Porsche Centres in operation, ensuring that Porsche customers across the country receive the hallmark personalised care that sets Porsche apart around the world.
In 2014, Porsche has delivered a spectacular sales record of 46,931 deliveries across Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. In 2015, Porsche China expects to continue another year of outstanding performance in the Chinese market.