Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Blasts into Second DecadePorsche Carrera Cup Asia - 2013 Season Review
Shanghai. The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia powered into its second decade as the region’s leading sportscar championship, ending its 11th season in spectacular style with a glittering prize-giving gala in Shanghai followed by a thunderous return to the prestigious Macau Grand Prix.
The culmination of its most dazzling season to-date was celebrated by the drivers, teams and Porsche China, organiser of the championship, in a memorable evening during which the two 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champions – overall champion Earl Bamber of Nexus GSH Racing and Class B champion, Mentos Racing’s Egidio Perfetti, were feted by their fellow drivers.
As well as crowning the two new Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champions, the drivers, teams, organisers and series partners hailed 50 years of the iconic Porsche 911.
In addition to their trophies, the top three drivers in both the overall and Class B Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship were also rewarded with an invitation to the Porsche China Snow Force 2014 in February.
In a season finale like no other, the teams and drivers were joined by competitors from the Porsche Carrera Cup Japan for the first time in the Porsche 911 50th Anniversary Carrera Cup Asia 2013 at the Macau Grand Prix. Joining the field for the race, held on Macau’s iconic Guia Circuit, was none other than nine-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb.
The 2013 season got underway with an official pre-season test at Malaysia’s Formula 1 Grand Prix track, followed by a high-profile launch in Hong Kong. Amongst the 25-strong field were eight Porsche dealer teams from China fielding an intriguing line-up of drivers from China and across the world. Reigning champions PICC Team StarChase were back with Alexandre Imperatori, who made his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut during the season, while the potent pairing of Team Eagle and Austria’s Martin Ragginger returned for another crack at the title. Team Jebsen returned with Macau driver Rodolfo Avila, while exciting Chinese youngster Zhang Da Sheng was back with Team Basetex.
Team Kangshun once again fielded veteran Singapore racer Ringo Chong and Team Yongda Dongfang returned with Frenchman Benjamin Rouget for a second season. Former Class B champion, Wang Jian Wei of China, competed with Team Betterlife for the first half of the season, before series newcomer Mario Farnbacher took the wheel. Team C&D introduced the talented Jason Zhang Zhi Qiang who, at just 19 years-of-age, was the youngest driver amongst the 2013 field.
Returning to the fray for a second season was China’s Tung Ho-Pin once again backed by Budweiser, also an official partner to the championship. Budweiser’s multifaceted marketing programme around its Porsche Carrera Cup Asia involvement saw the series gain an even greater following of avid fans through the season, and demonstrated the unique commercial opportunities Asia’s premier sportscar championship offers.
Newcomer Bamber, meanwhile, demonstrated how the championship continues to attract the brightest and the best in young talent. The 23-year-old thrived in the professional surroundings of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, his extraordinary talent flourishing and his enormous potential realised.
One of the most closely-fought seasons in its history saw the battle for the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia title go right down to the wire in the final meeting of the season, with three drivers arriving at the Sports Car Champions Festival in Shanghai all in contention for the title. However, Bamber sealed the title with victory in the penultimate race, while the final win of the season went to worthy title rival Ragginger. So dominant was Perfetti throughout 2013 that he had sealed the Class B championship title in a month earlier at the Porsche SC Global Carrera Cup Asia – Singapore 2013.
The newly-crowned champion arrived in Macau in strong form, but it was his LKM Racing team mate that weekend, Keita Sawa, who took pole for the race with Bamber lining up alongside. After a truly thrilling battle, the Porsche 911 50th Anniversary Carrera Cup Asia podium saw Bamber on the top step joined by Loeb in second and Ragginger third.
The weekend could not have been better for scorching talent Bamber when Porsche Motorsport announced him as the winner of the Porsche Motorsport International Cup Scholarship challenge. That will see him receive 200,000 Euro for his 2014 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign.
Plans are already in place for the 12th season of the region’s leading and most established GT championship, which will see the introduction of a new car. In another new development, discussions underway which could see the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia make its debut in Japan.
Having demonstrated yet again the power of Porsche Motorsport in developing new racing talent and continually revolutionizing the world of Asian motorsport scene, and proving the talent amongst its field is of a truly world-class standard, the 12th season of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will see it further strengthen its position at the summit of sporting excellence.