Craft-Bamboo Racing welcomes Naiyanobh Bhirombhakdi and Chris van der Drift to the #88 Porsche 911 GT3 R for the Thailand round of the Blancpain GT Series Asia, which will be held on the 19th – 21st May. Bhirombhakdi returns to Craft-Bamboo Racing and the Porsche 911 GT3 R after his first season with the team in 2016, which marked his first ever full season campaign and debut in a GT car.
Chris van der Drift is a highly experienced open-wheel and GT driver from New Zealand who will pair with Bhirombhakdi for the Thai driver’s home race at the Chang International Circuit. With Toy’s competitive experience at the Buriram circuit and time behind the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 R, combined with van der Drift’s top level Porsche motorsport expertise, the pair will certainly be in with a shot at the podium in Thailand.
Bhirombhakdi started competing at the age of fifteen in selected rounds of the Toyota Vios one make championship in Thailand. Although having a fairly late start to motorsport, he quickly found himself winning races and moving up the national touring car ladder, whilst developing his driving skill in his home country. However, after taking a break from motorsport for several years to pursue his university studies, his passion never let him stray too far and he soon found himself back behind the wheel in 2014.
“I have not been behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 R with Craft-Bamboo Racing since the end of last year,” said the young Thai driver. “So it will be interesting and exciting to get back to racing this car in Buriram for the Thailand round of the Blancpain GT Series Asia. With the new series the team is competing in and the development during the off season, I hope for a strong and satisfying result in Buriram this time around, which will certainly help with my decision regarding any other races for this year if my work schedule allows.”
During Bhirombhakdi’s inaugural season with Craft-Bamboo in 2016, the Thai driver showed great development with each race as he quickly got to grips with the Porsche 911 GT3 R, taking a best result of fourth place in race one at Fuji. Unfortunately, due to Bhirombhakdi’s business commitments, he was unable to contest another season with Craft-Bamboo Racing, but with a year of competition now behind him, Bhirombhakdi is prepared to return to the Chang International Circuit in search of success.
Van der Drift has an extensive and successful career in motorsport, competing in a wide variety of championships in open-wheel and GT categories. He is a Formula Renault 2.0, Formula BMW and International Formula champion and has also raced in the GP2 Series, World Series by Renault and the A1 GP.
After finding success in the formula category, van der Drift made the switch to GT racing in 2012, and in 2013 took a win in the International GT Open. In 2015, van der Drift got behind the wheel of a Porsche in the Carrera Cup Asia and was crowned drivers’ champion with seven victories, six pole positions and ten podiums from 14 races. The New Zealander kept with Porsche for 2016, joining the ADAC GT Masters where he would gain crucial wheel time in the 911 GT3 R. Van der Drift will now put that experience to good use as he joins Craft-Bamboo and steps into the #88 Porsche 911 GT3 R to fight for Blancpain GT Series Asia glory.
“I’d like to thank Craft-Bamboo Racing for giving me the opportunity to race with the team,” said Van der Drift. “It is my first time driving for the team but I know them well. They know the Porsche well after running them last year in the GT Asia Series, so that is a positive knowing that they know the car. I also know the Porsche myself, so that’s handy and I am really looking forward to getting to Buriram. It will be my first time meeting Naiyanobh so that will be great and thanks to Porsche as well for this opportunity and all of their technical support. I look forward to the race and I look forward to seeing how we get on and I am sure we will have a good result and that we can take it to the rest of the guys in the championship.”