SHANGHAI, China, 27 October 2014 —— The 12th season of the region’s premier sportscar championship, the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, reached its electrifying climax at the Sports Car Champions Festival at the Shanghai International Circuit on 19 October. The battle for both, the overall and Class B championship titles went right down to the wire at the grand finale of its 2014, 11-round season, with international sportscar sensation Earl Bamber clinching his second consecutive title, and talented protégé Alif Hamdan earning the Class B honours in the very last race of the year.
The memorable season was marked by a number of firsts for the championship. The spectacular Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991) made its Asian debut with the championship, the 28-strong field showcasing the extraordinary handling and power of the newest edition of this most iconic race car. 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 prestigious calendar included support races at no fewer than three rounds of the Formula 1 world championship: in Malaysia, Shanghai and Singapore. As a result of strengthening ties with Porsche Japan, the series made its debut there at a memorable weekend at the Fuji International Speedway. Double headers at China’s Pearl River Delta Region Zhuhai track, at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit, and at the Shanghai season finale ensured plenty of track time in which to battle for the titles.
Another first was the introduction of the China Junior Driver Programme. Porsche China harnessed the full power of more than six decades of Porsche racing success to nurture the skills of four young Chinese drivers, each competing with one of the ten Chinese Porsche dealer teams: Series newcomer and 2013 Scirocco-R Cup China champion Bao Jin Long, 27, of new Team Synsanly; another Porsche Carrera Cup Asia rookie, Zhang Zhen Dong, 22, of Team Basetex; 22-year-old Zhang Da Sheng with new team Zheng Tong Auto; and Jason Zhang Zhi Qiang, 20, of Team C&D.
With the remarkable Bamber setting the benchmark with LKM Racing, the entire field raised its game lap after lap, race after race, with the front-runners determined to keep the 24-year-old wunderkind within reach. Led by Team Porsche Holding’s Martin Ragginger of Austria, PICC Team StarChase driver Alexandre Imperatori, Team Jebsen’s Rodolfo Avila, and Budweiser Team Absolute Racing’s Tung Ho-Pin of China, the field gave chase across the region’s race tracks.
Further down, Hamdan was dominating Class B and closing in on the leaders, becoming only the second category driver to reach the overall podium in Japan, where he crossed the line second behind his mentor Bamber. The China Junior Development Programme drivers too were benefitting from the expert tuition of two-time Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and former Carrera Cup German champion Christian Menzel, with three of the four finishing the season in the top 10 overall standings.
Nexus Racing’s Hamdan may have taken eight Class B wins in 11 races, but his rivals made him work for every single championship point. Dorr Havelock Racing’s Yuey Tan of Singapore and OpenRoad Racing’s Francis Tjia kept the fight very much alive all the way down to the season finale. With Hamdan’s title meaning he’ll be racing for overall honours in 2015, the battle between Tan, Tjia and Modena Motorsport brothers Wayne and John Shen next season is a mouthwatering prospect.
With the drivers and teams feted at a glamourous gala prize giving in Shanghai, thoughts were already turning to next season. The provisional calendar again includes three rounds of the F1 world championship, where the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia stars will share the tarmac with their single seater counterparts. The series will make its debut at Korea’s Yeongam International Circuit, host to that country’s F1 Grand Prix from 2010 to 2013, make a welcome return to the Fuji International Speedway, and support the Shanghai round of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the first time.
For the 2014 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Champion, the most successful driver ever in the series 12-year history, the final round of the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup beckons. Leading the fastest Porsche makes cup in the world in his debut season, Bamber will be looking to cap what has been a truly stratospheric rise with a second title in 2014.
Meanwhile, Asia’s most talented – from within the ranks of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and beyond – will join the legions of fans to witness just how far, and how fast, Porsche can thrust a driver’s career into the international spotlight.
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia 2014
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, makes 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 optimised 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 kilogrammes.
About Porsche Carrera Cup Asia
Preparing for its 12th season in 2014, 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
Founded by Prof. Ferdinand Porsche in Stuttgart, Germany in 1931, and further developed to 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 pioneers to provide a new generation of sports cars that prove performance and efficiency can be perfectly combined.
Since 2001, Porsche China has been importing the full range of iconic Porsche sports cars that are imbued with the sporting spirit of the marque: the legendary 911 series, the renowned Boxster and Cayman mid-engine sports cars, the superb Cayenne premium SUV, and the exceptional four-door Panamera Gran Turismo. Across Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, there are now 69 Porsche Centres in operation, ensuring that Porsche customers across the country receive the hallmark personalised care that differentiates Porsche around the world.
In 2013, Porsche has delivered a spectacular sales record of 37,425 deliveries across Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. In 2014, Porsche China expects to continue another year of outstanding performance in the Chinese market.
[Source : Porsche Carrera Cup Asia]