Just a few weeks after sensationally winning the 24 Hours of Spa, unquestionably one of the most significant international motorsport victories by a Thai in recent decades, Pasin Lathouras was back right where it all started from, Pattaya’s Bira International Circuit, to meet the media and pay respects to the towering inspiration for all Thai drivers, Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh.
The 67th edition of the famous 24 Hours of Spa, held last month, turned out to be one of the toughest on record after the event was lashed by rain right from the moment the racecars lined up on the grid, resulting in no less than ten Safety Car periods.
Pasin Lathouras, sharing the #47 Ferrari 458 GT3 with Italians Alessandro Pier Guidi and Gianmaria Bruni as well as Belgian journalist-racer Stéphane Lémeret, battled non-stop for 24 hours. Combined with ultra-slick pitwork from the AF Corse team and a car that ran with clockwork reliably under extreme pressure they were able to pull off a stunning victory in the race’s highly competitive Pro-Am class.
Winning at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps Circuit, one of the world’s most demanding racetracks, is one of the toughest tests possible. For Pasin that represented his biggest career win to date, and one of the most important by a Thai driver in living memory. He’s still just 21-years-old too.
To further his racing career and compete in Europe Pasin switched his university studies from Bangkok to London at the beginning of last year, so he’s been away from Bira Circuit for quite sometime. But this is where his career started and quickly began to blossom, on the kart track, as a very raw youngster. He also drove here on the main circuit in 2013 when he raced a Ferrari 458 GT3 in Thailand Super Series, taking a victory and breaking the official track record.
“It’s great to be back, Bira is where it all began for me, coming here to learn to race in karts with my Dad. I won the 6-hour kart endurance race here very early on, in 2007, so that’s eight years ago now, and that really cemented my love for racing and the desire to succeed and become one of the best.
“I spent about four years racing karts and learning so I was continually here, I had many happy times at the Bira kart track and many successes. I also spent a year in Super Car and raced here on the main track, but that’s my only time on the circuit, I hope to be back though in the future. But it was a good year as I got a win here and set a new lap record.
“Winning the Spa 24 Hours was an amazing experience, my teammates and I pushed and pushed all race, the rain kept coming and early on we often really had no idea where we were as the Safety Car kept coming in and out. The team did an amazing job to turn the car around so quickly at every pitstop and really every second we gained helped an awful lot. Spa is an awesome track, it lives up to the legend, I certainly love the high-speed tracks but racing at night in fog is something else, something to experience and learn from.
“It’s certainly the high point of my career so far and it really confirms to me that I can keep pushing on towards the top, aim for Le Mans in two or three years, and most importantly that I can successfully fly the flag for Thailand. The support I have been getting from people in Thailand has been amazing and it helps push me on.”