The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia kicked off its 2018 season with a bang at Shanghai International Circuit over the weekend, with Team StarChase’s Philip Hamprecht taking home the Overall win in Round 1 win after expertly defending his pole position and Modena Motorsports’ Wayne Shen grabbing the first place honours with a tough fight in Pro-Am class.
It was the first time the series’ 28 entries took to the grid in the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991 II) as they joined the Formula 1 Shanghai race weekend as a support race. The increased power and control
of the new and improved Porsche 911 GT3 Cup was apparent in the lightning fast lap times and strong performance seen over the course of the weekend.
Unshakeable Hamprecht fends off strong challenges in Overall
It was a hard-earned victory for Hamprecht, who began in the pole position after sealing a 2:07.301 lap
time during the previous day’s qualifiers. Hamprecht faced tough competition as soon as the lights turned green, with P2 starter Maxime Jousse of AAS MOTORSPORT Absolute Racing doggedly seeking an opening in the young driver’s defense as they raced side-by-side going into turn 1.
But with 2017 Champion Chris van der Drift of Team Formax in close pursuit from P3, Jousse was forced to defend, giving Hamprecht a clean pocket of space before the safety car was ushered out in Lap 6 after a collision further back in the field. With just three laps to go, both van der Drift and Jousse made a final push onto Hamprecht but were unable to see their opportunities realise, handing the first win of the season to the ambitious Talent Pool driver, with Jousse finishing in second and van der Drift in third.
Porsche China Junior Team driver Daniel Lu made a strong debut in Round 1 following misfortune during the qualifiers that saw him start at the back of the grid. Undeterred, the 16-year-old junior driver showed relentless spirit as he managed to overtake 19 positions to finish the race in 9th place.
“I think it’s the best way to start the season obviously, with a pole and a win. We had a good race. It was a little tricky at the start, but I managed to pull through. The safety car didn’t help me that much, because I had a nice gap before, but in the end I finished the race in first, so we’re quite happy,” Hamprecht said in the press conference after the race.
Team StarChase takes home Dealer Trophy
As a result of Hamprecht’s stunning performance, the first Porsche Carrera Cup Asia dealer trophy was awarded to Team StarChase, with COO Robby Niermann accepting the honour on the podium, while Kamlung Racing was a close runner-up after a hard fight by driver Jordan Pepper.
Solid Pro-Am victory for Modena Motorsport’s Wayne Shen
It was a return to the podium for the 2015 Pro-Am champion Wayne Shen of Modena Motorsports, who went into Round 1 starting from the advantageous P1 position after registering a 2:10.706 lap time in qualifiers. His advantage was short-lived, however, as a rocky start saw him immediately face challenges from OpenRoad Racing’s Francis Tjia, starting in P2 and Novu Racing’s Yuey Tan, starting in P3.
Battling away multiple attempts to overtake him, Shen was briefly passed by Tjia, but quickly recovered before Tjia dropped back several positions and Tan was forced to retire after contact with another driver, leaving space for True Visions Motorsport Thailand’s Suttiluck Buncharoen to pressure Shen from second place. Meanwhile, Zheng Tong Auto’s Bao Jinlong, starting from last place after being unable to finish qualifiers, made a courageous dash from the back to take 16 positions, with the final podium seeing Shen in first, Buncharoen in second and Bao in third.
“I’m feeling fantastic. The team did a very good job preparing and I think my pace is decent. I had a very poor start, and I think was passed by three cars. By T1 I noticed that I had regained two positions and [Francis] and I were having a good battle. I did notice he was having a little bit of a slide into a corner, and I managed to pass him back in T1 again,” Shen said in the press conference after the race.
Series returns to Japan in June
With the initial points on the board, the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will continue its season with Round 2 and 3 at Fuji international Speedway from June 15-17, where they will once more battle under Mount Fuji as they join in an invitational race with sister series Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Japan.