The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia is set to continue its truly remarkable ascent in the world of top-flight international sportscar competition as it prepares to embark upon its 13th season. With reigning and two-time Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Champion Earl Bamber confirmed as a full Porsche Motorsport works driver for 2015, and his promotion to the Porsche Team LMP1 squad for the Le Mans 24 Hours, the series’ reputation as a showcase for exceptional talent is now firmly established, and is further evidenced by its impressive 28-car entry.
The line-up for the 2015 season of Asia’s premier sportscar championship includes drivers from four continents and 12 countries and territories, all of whom will drive identical Weissach-prepared Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991) racing cars. The field will compete for two, closely-contested titles; the overall championship, and Class B for non-professional drivers.
Leading the charge into the 14-round season is two-time runner-up Martin Ragginger of Team Porsche Holding. The enormously talented 27-year-old Austrian will start as a hot favourite to clinch the overall title this year, but he will face fierce competition from the highly competitive field.
For the first time in its history, and as part of its celebrations marking 60 years as a Porsche dealership, Team Jebsen will field two cars: one for Macau’s Rodolfo Avila, fourth overall last season; and a second for Singapore’s Yuey Tan, runner-up in Class B last year and determined to take the title in his sixth full Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season.
Also returning is China’s Tung Ho-Pin with Budweiser Team Absolute Racing. Tung, a former F1 test and reserve driver, is both a regular LMP2 endurance competitor as well as contesting the FIA Formula E Championship, continuing a successful career in both sportscars and single seaters.
Following his phenomenal performance last season, which saw him dominate the Class B category, taking eight victories on his way to clinching the title, Malaysia’s Alif Hamdan returns to do battle for the overall championship this year. Hamdan, entered with Alif Hamdan Motorsports, finished an impressive eighth overall last year, with a memorable second place podium finish at the series’ debut in Japan.
Back for a second season in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in the overall category is Ro Charlz Skyangel with Porsche dealer Team Yonda Dongfang, tenth overall on his debut last season, and former Scirocco R Cup China Champion, Bao Jin Long of China, this time competing with another dealer team, Zheng Tong Auto.
The fascinating combination of successful professionals and exciting young talent which has become a signature of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia is perfectly illustrated by three extraordinary additions to the 2015 entry: the man who has won more Porsche Cup victories than any other in history – an astonishing tally of more than 130 wins – New Zealand’s Craig Baird, competing with Clearwater Racing; 29-year-old New Zealand driver Chris van der Drift with Kamlung Racing, a former International Formula Masters Champion and GP2, A1GP and Superleague Formula driver; and intriguing newcomer and the series’ youngest-ever entry, 17-year-old Nico Menzel, entered by three-time champions PICC Team StarChase.
Baird, a five-time Porsche Carrera Cup Australia champion is no stranger to the Asian series having contested a full season in 2010, where he finished third despite missing the final two races, and has been a regular at the series’ showcase event at the Singapore F1 Grand Prix, which he won in 2012.
In a career which began in karts at the age of seven, and saw him become multiple domestic champion at home in New Zealand, van der Drift went on to climb the single seater career ladder. He took on the challenge of GT3 racing in 2013, when he made his debut in the International GT Open championship, taking his team’s maiden win which he followed up with another six podium finishes.
Menzel, meanwhile, is the son of two-time Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion Christian, and has in his father both a valuable mentor and a mighty reputation to live up to. With an impressive career in karting, Menzel graduated to single seaters and makes his Porsche competition debut this season.
While there is no doubt the fight for overall honours will be fierce, the Class B entry will guarantee a no-holds-barred contest of formidable ferocity. Tan, runner-up in both 2013 and 2014, and his new Team Jebsen have made no secret of their quest to capture both the overall and Class B titles this season. However, with the strongest and the largest Class B field in the series history, the form book is wide open.
OpenRoad Racing’s Francis Tjia, who took seven podium finishes last year on his way to third in the standings, is a strong favourite. A second OpenRoad Racing car will be shared by Tjia’s brothers, Marcel Tjia and Christian Chia, both of whom are no strangers to the series. Another title contender is Modena Motorsports’ Wayne Shen, Class B Champion in 2012. Team mate and brother John, who finished fifth last year, is back with the series, as is Silicon Tech Racing LLP driver Henri Richard of the USA who took two podium finishes in 2014.
Joining the strong Hong Kong contingent is LKM Racing’s Siu Yuk Lung who, along with brother Siu Tit Lung generously supported Bamber on his meteoric rise, will be back on the grid for selected rounds. Kenneth Lau is entered for his third full Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season with Prince Hong Kong Racing.
Singapore’s Ringo Chong is back in Class B with Team Kangshun, as is China’s Li Chao with dealer team, Team Betterlife. Johnson Huang of Chinese Taipei returns for a second season with Team BC Racing.
The series welcomes back two returning Class B drivers, popular Australian driver Paul Tresidder and Spark Motorsport’s Hugues Ripert – who will share driving duties with 2013 Class B Champion Egidio Perfetti – plus Thai sensation, Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak with Chang Racing Team. Vutthikorn’s fellow countryman Sontaya Kunplome is another returnee, this time with Racing Spirit Thailand. Vutthikorn last competed with the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in 2005, when he was fifth overall, while Kunplome was third in Class B that year.
The third entry from Thailand is newcomer Suttiluck Buncharoen of True Visions Motorsports Thailand, a Thailand Super Series Regular and 2013 Touring Car Class Champion. Other newcomers to the series and competing in Class B are Arrows Racing’s Billy Fung of Hong Kong and China’s Zhu Jun Han with Absolute Racing.
The 2015 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season will roar off the grid in support of the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, before cutting a swathe across the race tracks of Asia. In South Korea the series makes its debut at the country’s Formula 1 circuit in Yeongam, while June sees a return to Japan’s spectacular Fuji International Speedway. Two events in Malaysia will precede September’s highlight of the season at the glittering Singapore F1 Grand Prix. The season finale will be marked in suitably prestigious style in Shanghai at the FIA World Endurance Championship.
With its impressive international line-up of drivers, a challenging calendar, and 28 mighty Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racing cars, the 13th season of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia is ready to set the world’s most dynamic region alight.
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia 2015 Series Registered Entry List
|Comp No.||Entrant NameDriver||Cls||Nat||Comp No.||Entrant NameDriver||Cls||Nat|
|2||Prince Hong Kong RacingKenneth LAU||B||HKGHKG||28||Modena MotorsportsJohn SHEN||B||HKGHKG|
|3||OpenRoad RacingMichael S.||B||HKGINA||51||Team BC RacingJohnson HUANG||B||TPETPE|
|5||Team JebsenYuey TAN Yu Hian||B||HKGSIN||55||Zheng Tong AutoBAO Jin Long||CHNCHN|
|8||Team Yonda DongfangRo Charlz SKYANGEL||CHNSIN||58||Budweiser Team Absolute RacingHo-Pin TUNG||HKGCHN|
|9||Team BetterlifeLI Chao||B||CHNCHN||60/69||OpenRoad Racing60 Marcel TJIA/69 Christian CHIA||B||HKGHKG/
|11||Team KangshunRingo CHONG||B||CHNSIN||65||Absolute RacingZHU Jun Han||B||HKGCHN|
|12||Clearwater RacingCraig BAIRD||SINNZL||68||Kamlung RacingChristopher van der DRIFT||HKGNZL|
|16||Modena MotorsportsWayne SHEN||B||HKGHKG||72||Alif Hamdan MotorsportsAlif HAMDAN||MASMAS|
|17||Arrows RacingFUNG Yui Sum||B||HKGHKG||78||True Visions Motorsports ThailandSuttiluck BUNCHAROEN||B||THATHA|
|18||Chang Racing TeamVutthikorn INTHRAPHUVASAK||B||THATHA||80||Racing Spirit ThailandSontaya KUNPLOME||B||THATHA|
|20||Team JebsenRodolfo AVILA||HKGMAC||86||Team Porsche HoldingMartin RAGGINGER||CHNAUT|
|21||OpenRoad RacingFrancis TJIA||B||HKGHKG||88||Spark MotorsportHugues RIPERT||B||HKGHKG|
|22||LKM Racing*SIU Yuk Lung||B||HKGHKG||98||Silicon Tech Racing LLPHenri RICHARD||B||USAUSA|
|23||Paul TRESIDDERPaul TRESIDDER||B||AUSAUS||99||PICC Team StarChaseNico MENZEL||CHNGER|