PICC Team StarChase celebrated not one but two podium finishes in Rounds 7&8 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand at the weekend, climbing to third place on the overall championship leaderboard with six races of the 2015 season still to go.
In what was a phenomenal weekend for the team, 17-year-old driver Nico Menzel took his maiden series podium finish in Round 7, crossing the line second, and followed it up with a repeat, wheel-perfect performance in Round 8, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process.
Said Menzel, who put the PICC Team StarChase Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991) on the front row of the grid for both 13-lap races: “Qualifying was key this weekend. I managed to get away cleanly and keep out of trouble in the races. While the first race was interrupted by Safety Car periods, in Round 8 we had really good speed over a long run. This is a big step forward and, for our championship campaign, it was an amazing weekend.”
Displaying razor-sharp focus during the twice-interrupted Round 7, Menzel made an excellent getaway off the grid, before executing two flawless restarts to claim the runner-up spot. In Round 8, he was forced to defend his position early on which gave the race leader the chance to pull a gap. Once he had shaken free from his challenger, Menzel stormed away in pursuit of the leader, setting the fastest lap of the race. Ultimately, however, there weren’t enough laps left to close the gap.
Unlike most of his fellow Porsche Carrera Cup Asia drivers, Menzel is new to all Asia’s race tracks. With the series making its debut at the new Thailand circuit, the weekend brought a chance for him to test his talent on a level playing field. With the formidable experience and expertise of three-time champions PICC Team StarChase, Menzel could not have asked for better support with which to mount his challenge.
StarChase Chief Operations Officer Mr. Robby Niermann added: “This is Nico’s first season of Porsche competition and this weekend we are delighted to see all the hard work he and PICC Team StarChase have put in starting to pay off. Learning a new car and new tracks is a very steep learning curve, and this was an opportunity to show just how competitive we are. There is definitely more to come as Nico will just keep getting quicker.”
Menzel, PICC Team StarChase and the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be back in action at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit from September 4-6. As the venue for the pre-season test, Menzel is familiar with the F1-standard circuit and will have another chance to show the 28-strong field that he is a young talent to be reckoned with.