Team NZ Motorsport will be at Sepang International Circuit this weekend to contest the final round of the inaugural Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup with the destiny of the championship title poised on a knife-edge.
With just one weekend and two races now remaining before the season concludes there is all to play for and we will be doing our absolute best to win the title.
The Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup is a bold new initiative from the ACO and comprises of three rounds, each featuring two ‘sprint’ races of 1-hour duration. All are taking place at Sepang International Circuit and are exclusively reserved for ‘bronze’ and ‘silver’ level drivers in LMP3, CN or GT Cup cars.
Running our #77 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup in the GT class we have enjoyed a superb campaign winning 3 of the 4 races held so far. However in the other race, the first of the season, a late race DNF proved very costly and that’s meant we have been fighting back into title contention ever since. With three straight wins coming into this weekend we have however narrowed the gap to the top of the classification down to just 6 points and with potentially a maximum of 52 points on offer from the final two races the title fight is open again.
Our drivers, Graeme Dowsett and John Curran, have really raised their game to lead the fight back, significantly improving their PB times at Sepang over the first two rounds of the Sprint Cup when compared to our previous race here, the Sepang 12 Hours last December, which netted us a superb podium finish. In fact our two entries in ASEAN’s most prestigious endurance race so far, in 2014 and 2015, have earned us a victory and the runners up spot respectively.
We regard Sepang as our ‘home’ track and the primary objective in joining the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup was for John and Graeme, as well as the whole team, to continue the learning curve and make all round improvements – so we’ve certainly achieved that. But while we’ve already ticked all the boxes we wanted to tick we still really want to win the inaugural GT class title and we will be pushing very hard this weekend and giving it 110% to achieve that objective.
We will have a slight tweak to the supporting lineup this weekend as our usual Team Manager, Will Bamber, will be absent due to a racing commitment in China. However we’re very pleased that Andrew Tang, currently a strong championship contender in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia 2016 (he’s just 6 points off the top to the classification), will capably step into his shoes. Will is the irreplaceable backbone of our engineering but Andrew, who already has two wins so far this year in PCCA, is a superb substitute as we make a big final push towards the title.
Also, as the inaugural Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup season draws to a close, we must congratulate the ACO on putting together a superbly organised series and we certainly have thoroughly enjoyed participating.
Team NZ Motorsport is being supported in the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup 2016 by Nakd Water, Completion Products, Asia Pacific Spiral, Motosure and Pioneer Consultants.
John Curran: “The hunt for the top spot is on. Graeme and I along with the entire team will have to bring our A game for the final and deciding round. Unfortunately, I will be arriving from overseas at the last minute so hoping the jetlag holds off until the racing is done. Our resident race engineer Will Bamber is unavailable as he is racing in China and we wish him every success there. We have mobilised the back-up plan with Andrew Tang standing in. Andrew will certainly bring a lot of experience to the team on race weekend. Truly looking forward to the weekend and yet sad as it is the last race weekend of Asia Le Mans Sprint Cup, a truly professional run event.”
Graeme Dowsett: “I am really looking forward to the weekend and doing my best for the team, supporters and sponsors. It will be a tough job to clinch the championship however momentum is in our favour and we will be giving it everything this weekend.”
The schedule for the final round of the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup 2016 will see Qualifying take place late on Friday afternoon (2 Aug); Q1 is scheduled for 1815-1830 with Q2 following it almost immediately at 1835-1850. Race 1 of the weekend (Race 5 of the season) will be on Saturday morning (3 Aug) at 1035 and is scheduled for 1 hour duration while Race 2 (Race 6 of the season) starts at 1215 on Sunday (4 Aug) and is also 1 hour long. The weekend programme will also include the Sepang 1000 km race.
About Team NZ Motorsport
Team NZ Motorsport was formed in 2013 to support young developing drivers in karting and junior categories before it quickly evolved and acquired a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup. In 2014 Graeme Dowsett and John Curran began racing the Porsche throughout Asia.
Team NZ Motorsport is a family orientated concern that is growing steadily with robust resources, knowledge and connections. The team has contested two endurance races so far, both successfully, winning GTC at the Sepang 12 Hours in 2014 and following that up finishing runner up in 2015. In 2014 Team NZ Motorsport completed a part season in Malaysian Super Series (MSS) and in 2015 a part season in Thailand Super Series (TSS). In 2016 the team took part in the Bathurst 12 Hour in February where it kept up its podium record in major endurance races and is currently contesting the three round Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup.
Team NZ Motorsport’s strategic ambition is to continue to develop, support promising young drivers and to enjoy the sport.