PICC Team StarChase and exciting young talent, 17-year-old Nico Menzel, celebrated their debut outright victory together in the regions premier international sportscar championship, the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.
Having taken a pair of podium finishes in Rounds 7 and 8 of the championship in Thailand last month, PICC Team StarChase and their brilliant young GT protégé went one better in Round 9 at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit. Menzel, contesting the first season of sportscar racing in his fledgling career, beat some of the most respected sportscar professionals in Asia and Europe to take the win with an impressive margin of 1.455 seconds.
There was more to celebrate when the team followed up their maiden victory together with a fourth podium finish in the final race of the weekend, putting PICC Team StarChase and Menzel firmly in championship contention with four races of the 2016 season remaining.
Having impressed from the start of the weekend, Menzel put in a sterling performance in qualifying, securing PICC Team StarChase a front row starting position with a lap which was just 0.032 seconds off pole position. In the gruelling 10-lap race in the searing heat of Malaysia, where temperatures in the cockpit were estimated to be in the region of 60 degrees Celsius, he showcased extraordinary talent by defending from his rivals while simultaneously – and successfully – challenging for the race lead after a Safety Car period.
After taking victory in only the ninth Porsche Carrera Cup Asia race of his career, a rightly thrilled Menzel said: “This is just fantastic! It was really tight going in to Turn 1 after the restart, but when I saw my chance, I took it to take the lead. After our two podiums in Thailand, it is just fantastic to follow that with a victory.”
PICC Team StarChase’s tyre strategy saw Menzel start Round 10 on used rubber, but the experienced team adjusted the set-up on the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991) to ensure their driver had a highly competitive car. Once again, Menzel fended off strong challenges from his rivals to climb onto the Porsche Carrera Cup podium in front of his enthusiastic fans and supporters.
StarChase Chief Operations Officer Mr. Robby Niermann added: “Congratulations to Nico on his first sportscar victory, and we are delighted he achieved this career milestone with PICC Team StarChase. We carried the momentum from our two podium finishes in Thailand on to Malaysia where we were able to show that the combination of Nico’s talent and the team’s Porsche motorsport expertise are indeed a winning combination.”
PICC Team StarChase and Menzel will be back in action later this month on Singapore’s Marina Bay street circuit, where Rounds 11 and 12 will support the F1 Grand Prix. There, Menzel will take on the unforgiving city track and compete on a street circuit for the first time in his career. With the formidable expertise of PICC Team StarChase behind him though, sportscar racing’s newest young talent could not wish for more formidable support.