Last week the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia series held their media launch followed by a three day test at the Shanghai International Circuit, commentator Andrew Coley was on hand to check out the grid and see what is in store for 2018.
The new season features a record 28 competitors on the grid, all competing in the identical second generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, a mixture of regular and new names complete the line-up with the top three from last year leading the way.
“Initially I think you’ve got to look to the guys who were at the front last year; so Van Der Drift, Ragginger, Will Bamber and Hamprect.” say Coley, talking of who has the best chance in the championship.
“They’ve all got experience of most of the circuits which means a bit less stress for them, and they were at the top of the timesheets in most sessions.
“New Porsche China Junior Driver Daniel Lu is also up there, as was South African Jordan Pepper, who is hoping a good test will secure him a seat for 2018.
“The nice thing is they’re all in brand new latest generation GT3 Cup Cars this year, so the equipment is really equal; should be fun to watch!”
Looking at the returning grid, Coley identified two drivers that have the biggest potential to improve this year, “Tanart Sathientirakul and Yuan Bo had good pace in some races last year and were going well again at the test, so keep an eye out for them.
“I’m sure they’ll have one eye on the championship but a few good race results would be a decent step up in speed, the consistency for a title attempt comes later I think.”
As with all Carrera Cup series around the globe, Porsche China has a Junior driver taking on the challenge of the series, for 2018 it is sixteen-year-old Daniel Lu who steps up to the task.
“He’s a really nice lad, and showed great pace so far having not had much time in the car and no previous GT racing experience.
“He’s very confident but not in an arrogant way, and the Porsche China Junior Programme has some great driver coaches like Sascha Maasen and Earl Bamber, so he has everyone around him he needs to learn from.
“But all the circuits will be new, and of course there is pressure with support from the giant that is Porsche China.
“I look forward to seeing him develop; I’m sure he’ll get stuck in to the battles on track! And at 16 he won’t have any hangovers from after parties. Double edged sword that!”
A total of nine rounds make up the season calendar for the Carrera Cup Asia season, “It’s a great selection! A couple of F1 and a WEC support race, street race under lights at Singapore, bonkers street circuit on the beach at Bangsaen.
“Fuji which is stunning, ex F1 track at Sepang and the wonderful rollercoaster that is Sydney Motorsport Park.
“A really diverse set of tracks to race on, and whoever triumphs will need to master them all with their tricky different characters. Mega!”