Porsche Carrera Cup Asia set for First Class season as lid lifted on 2014 field
Thu 06.03.14, 12:12PM
Shanghai. As the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia revs up ahead of its 12th season as the leading light in regional sportscar competition, the First Class international field from 10 countries and territories was unveiled today, just prior to the official test at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit this weekend.
Twenty-eight of the stunning, all-new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991) racing cars will contest the prestigious 11-race, seven-meeting calendar. The more powerful 3.8-litre flat six engine produces 460 horsepower, 10 more than previously, and the six-speed sequential gearbox is operated by pneumatic paddle shift system, yet another first for the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.
The calendar includes support races at no fewer than three rounds of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship: in Malaysia, Shanghai and Singapore. Further strengthening its ties with Porsche motorsport activities across Asia, the series will race in Japan for the first time in 2014, heading to the legendary Fuji International Speedway in June. Double headers at China’s Pearl River Delta Region Zhuhai track, and at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit, see the region’s premier international sportscar championship cross the Tropic of Cancer four times as it thunders towards the season finale at the Sportscar Champions Festival in Shanghai in October.
The superb entry includes a record number of 10 Chinese Porsche dealer teams. Entering the glamorous and fiercely-competitive world of motorsport is Zheng Tong Auto, which fields exciting 21-year-old Chinese driver Zhang Da Sheng of Beijing, and Team Synsanly which has selected Porsche Carrera Cup Asia newcomer and reigning Scirocco Cup champion Bao Jin Long with whom to make its debut. They join the eight existing dealer teams: PICC Team StarChase with 2012 champion Alexandre Imperatori; Team Basetex and newcomer, 21-year-old Zhang Zhen Dong; Team Betterlife with last season’s Class B second runner-up Li Chao; Team C&D and the ultra-talented Jason Zhang Zhi Qiang, 20; newly-named Team Porsche Holding and 2013 championship runner-up Martin Ragginger of Austria; Team Jebsen, this year in its 10th full season with the championship, with Macau driver Rodolfo Avila, third in 2013; Team Kangshun and Singapore veteran Ringo Chong; and Team Yongda Dongfang with series newcomer Ro.C. Skyangel of Singapore.
Leading the charge in 2014 will be reigning champion Earl Bamber, who returns this time with LKM Racing Team. In a season which was nothing short of phenomenal, Bamber clinched the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia title, won the Porsche Motorsport International Cup scholarship, and secured himself a full season in 2014 in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. Proving just how high the quality of competition is in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia - and what a realistic benchmark of international standards it represents - Bamber proved just as competitive when he narrowly missed out on outright victory in only his second Supercup outing. At just 23-years-of-age, the young New Zealand talent is now racing for Porsche full-time and will defend his Asian title as well as competing at the highest level of Porsche one-make competition and a Carrera Cup Germany campaign.
Former Formula 1 test and reserve driver Tung Ho-Pin of China is back for his third Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season with backing from official series beer partner at Budweiser Team Absolute Racing, while reigning Class B champion, Egidio Perfetti of Mentos Racing Team will compete for the overall title for the first time.
While it has been proven beyond doubt that winning the overall Porsche Carrera Cup Asia title can propel a career into the international motorsport arena, the level of competition amongst the passionate and skilled drivers vying for the Class B title is just as intense. With Perfetti’s impressive performance now elevating him to race against the professionals, a hot favourite for the 2014 Class B title is Singapore’s Yuey Tan, second in the championship last season.
However, the Dorr Havelock Racing driver can expect to see his traditional rivals – plus a number of intriguing newcomers and series returnees – looming large in his mirrors. Li and OpenRoad Racing Team’s Francis Tjia of Hong Kong were close behind Tan every step of the way last year, while 23-year-old Malaysian hot shot Alif Hamdan was quickly finding his way to the front of the field, taking his first class victory in the final round. Tjia is joined at OpenRoad Racing Team by series newcomer Michael S. of Indonesia.
Modena Motorsports’ John Shen, LKM Racing Team’s Siu Yuk Lung, Samson Chan and Mak Hing Tak of Kamlung Racing, all of Hong Kong, also return, as does Shen’s brother and team mate Wayne, Class B champion in 2012 and now back in the category.
Amongst the seven new or returning drivers is Hong Kong’s Kenneth Lau, back for the first time since 2010 and racing with fellow returnee Michael Choi for Prince Racing Hong Kong, Clearwater Racing’s Mok Weng Sun, Class B champion in 2010, and Jacky Yeung, sharing driving duties at Tiger Racing Team with newcomer Bentley Yeung. US-based Frenchman Henri Richard makes a welcome return, this time with Silicon Tech Racing LLC for his first full season with the championship, while BC Racing Team’s Johnson Huang of Chinese Taipei will make his series debut in 2014.
The 12th season of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will get underway on March 28th at the second round of the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship. As the lights go out and the field of 28 new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racing cars rocket off the grid, the race will be on for the championship which can propel a racing career onto the international stage.