PICC Team StarChase has announced exciting newcomer, 17-year-old Nico Menzel, will spearhead its campaign for the 2015 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship title in the most competitive and professional international GT series in the region.
Joining the team as it begins its quest for an unprecedented fourth championship, Menzel is the youngest driver ever to enter the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in its 13-year history. The youngster has both big shoes to fill and an ideal role model in the form of his father, Christian, who took two Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Championships with the team in 2009 and 2010, and whose impressive CV also includes the 2005 Porsche Carrera Cup Germany Championship, victory in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, and runner-up in the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup in 2004.
Nico impressed in the official pre-season Porsche Carrera Cup Asia test at the weekend, his best lap just over a second off the fastest time of the weekend amongst his highly-experienced rivals at Malaysia’s 5.543km Sepang International Circuit.
Having helped propel the career of its former driver Alexandre Imperatori into the international spotlight, PICC Team StarChase has earned a reputation for identifying and nurturing young talent to its full potential.
Like both his father and his predecessor Imperatori, Nico Menzel began his career in go-karts. He took to the track for the first time at the age of eight at the celebrated German karting facility at Kerpen, where legends Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel both began their stellar careers.
Nico earned numerous karting titles prior to contesting an entry-point single seater driver development series in 2013, where he excelled. Last season he competed in the ADAC Formula Masters in Germany, and now turns his formidable talent to Porsche competition with a team which has won three Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship titles in seven seasons, having joined the series in 2008.
Said StarChase Chief Operations Officer Mr. Robby Niermann: “We are extremely excited to have Nico on board for the 2015 PICC Team StarChase championship campaign, and extremely encouraged by what was an impressive first outing during the test. Nico has tremendous potential, is a fast learner, and we are confident he will quickly master both the 460 horsepower Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991) as well as the race tracks of Asia. He is young, hungry for success, intelligent and incredibly competitive. We believe these qualities, combined with the support of PICC, the team’s experience and its professional, nurturing environment, will make for a winning combination.”
For Nico Menzel, the opportunity to make his sportscar debut with a championship-winning team at the highest level of international GT race is one he intends to take full advantage of: “I’m looking forward to the championship and working with my PICC Team StarChase team mates. I am a newcomer and first I have a lot to learn, so that is where the focus is. It is my very first time in Asia and I’m looking forward to getting to know countries like China, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore and Japan. It is just awesome to have this opportunity!”
After an official pre-season test in Malaysia this weekend, the 13th Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season gets underway in support of the Chinese F1 Grand Prix in Shanghai in April. The 13-race championship visits South Korea, Japan, and Malaysia, and supports the Singapore F1 Grand Prix in September, before coming full circle to end the season in Shanghai, this time in support of the FIA World Endurance Championship.