Porsche Carrera Cup Asia drivers achieved wins across the board this week as they showcased the prowess of the Porsche 911 GT3 R and Porsche 911 GT3 Cup during the China GT finale on October 6 and 7, with another driver joining in the 2016 Suzuka Challenge Grand Prix in Japan over the weekend.
Utilizing a mix of clever tactics and pure power provided by the Porsche 911 GT3 R, Li Chao, normally driving for Team Betterlife, and Zhang Da Sheng, with Fun88 Team Sunfonda in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, played the hotseat during the first race on Thursday as they teamed up with the Just Racing Motorsport Team to partake in the race.
Starting the race, Li Chao battled with a tough competitive field of drivers from across the region, pushing to maintain his position while playing defense. The two team members switched places after a minor collision by another driver brought the safety car out halfway through the race. Bolstered by the pit stop crew’s expert work, Zhang Da Sheng commandeered the new Porsche model to retake the lead for much of the race until the last lap, finishing in first for the GT3 class and second in the overall.
With strong support from Porsche China, the JRM team also fielded Maxime Jousse of Kamlung Racing, who exhibited the rigorous talent required to compete in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, outracing all other competitors to win first in the GTC class race on Thursday while piloting the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car with his team mate.
Day 2 of the races proved equally compelling despite a rough P11 start after rains cut the qualifiers short before the JRM Porsche Team could clock its best time. Throughout the race, Li Chao and Zhang Da Sheng pushed toward the front, overtaking multiple racers to finish in P5 for overall and P3 for the GT3 class.
Supporting the drivers as they tested the track with the advanced Porsche 911 GT3 R during the China GT Finale was Porsche Motorsport Junior Coach Sascha Maassen, who provided expert advice to help the drivers achieve success.
“The JRM team represented Porsche very well this weekend. The first day was a real success. The second day we faced some difficult conditions, but I’m impressed with our two drivers Li Chao and Zhang Dasheng who made no mistakes in the race,” Maassen said after the race.
Congratulating the drivers on their successful races, Porsche China Motorsport Manager Alexandre Gibot said “It was great to see how competitive our drivers were for the China GT Finale. They put in a good fight, utilizing intelligence to show the pure power of the Porsche 911 GT3 R. We’re quite proud of them.”
Following the China GT Finale in Shanghai, Yuan Bo took to the hi-tech Suzuka Circuit in Japan for the first time from October 7 to 9 as he was awarded a fully sponsored entry by Porsche China into the 2016 Suzuka Grand Prix after achieving the highest number of championship points during the two invitationals hosted by the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in the 2016 season.
Bo, who currently leads the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Class-B Championship as a driver for Absolute Racing, was the only Chinese driver to participate in the race, joining the Porsche Carrera Cup Japan as a guest driver during the F1 weekend.
During the qualifiers on Saturday, he clocked a blazing lap time to secure a solid second place starting position for the Overall class race on Sunday in an amazing display of controlled driving.
He fought the clock once more during the race on Sunday after a stall at the start of the race dropped him from his advantageous P2 to last place. Bo quickly recovered and managed to claw his way from the back of the pack, going from P21 to P9 over the course of just 5 laps. But time ran out for Bo after an incident halfway through the race brought the safety car out for the rest of the remaining 5 laps, making it impossible for him to climb any more positions.
Still, the new track experience was memorable for Bo, who said: “Suzuka’s start is downhill, so I had to hold the brake and gas together with one foot – it’s my first time starting in this position. I made a mistake and stalled the car, dropping to last position at the start. The circuit was very challenging for me, but it’s a high-tech track that I really enjoyed racing.”