Making its Asian race debut at the first round of the 2019 China GT Championship at the Sepang International Circuit, the 2019-spec Porsche 911 GT3 R finished second in the hands of JRM’s Chris van der Drift and Li Chao.
Triple Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion van der Drift had already displayed the car’s capabilities in the first race of the weekend, where he launched off the line at the start to jump from sixth to third through the first two corners. He then made short work of getting up to second by the end of the first lap.
The New Zealander stayed there until an ill-timed safety car cost the team an opportunity for Chao in the second half of the race to consolidate the position, but still brought it home in a competitive fourth place.
Chao was on driving duties for the start of race two, as per the new sporting regulations for 2019. Running with success ballast from their race one result meant the second event had a calmer start than the previous, but Chao began working through the field from his eighth-place grid slot.
After the pit stop phase van der Drift took over driving duties and emerged in fourth. In the final 10 minutes he picked up two places to secure second and even challenge for the lead in the dying stages of the race.
YC Racing’s entry in the GT3 class, driven by Min Heng and Lin Nan, returned to China GT in the Porsche 911 GT3 R after a strong 2018 performance.
It was also a strong weekend for Porsche customers in the GTC field. YC Racing took second in class in both races with its Porsche 911 GT3 Cup driven by Zhang Da Sheng and Zhou Bihuang, while Kelvin Wong and Miguel Kong clocked two podiums in the Arrows-run car.
69 Racing picked up two fourth-place finishes in the GTC class with Jacky Wu and Porsche China Junior Daniel Lu.
Although the second 69 Racing entry in the GT4 class with the all-new 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport was unable to start race one, Simon Chan and Jeffrey Zee put in solid drives to finish inside the top 10 of Sunday’s race.
Chris van der Drift, JRM driver, said: “It was good to finish our first week with the new car and also race it. It was valuable for Li and I to see how the car progresses during the race compared to the previous generation Porsche 911 GT3 R. I think it’s a massive step forward and to drive it’s a lot of fun. I still can’t get over how good the braking system is compared to the last car, it’s a massive step forward so I’m looking forward to the next race. I think we’re really competitive.”
Daniel Lu, 69 Racing driver, said: “It was a great weekend overall. The car was awesome and the team was working hard and making efforts all weekend. I had a few good battles on the track. The first race was slightly unlucky but the second race was a better result for us.”
Alexandre Gibot, Head of Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific, said: “The first China GT race of the 2019 has been a success for Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific, not only for our new 2019-spec 911 GT3 R which has already shown great potential, but for those in the GTC class as well. We should be very proud with scoring four podiums in two races. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season holds for us.”
Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific will return to the China GT Championship on 3-5 May for rounds three and four from Ningbo.
Source. Porsche/Photo. China GT