The Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia is all set for a thrilling start to the 2004 season with a bumper entry of 20 cars for the opening round on March 21, which will be a support race for the Petronas Malaysian F1 Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit
Many of the superb sports car specialists who provided such tremendous on-track racing action last season return to the series, including defending champion Charles Kwan, one of Asia’s most successful racing drivers, with Team Infineon-Novellus, and 2003 title contender Charoensukhawatana Nattavude of Thailand with Fuspeed Racing.
In addition to a brand new title sponsor, global semiconductor giant Infineon Technologies AG, the series has attracted some exciting new competitors to the field.
Joining the series-registered drivers on the grid for Round 1 will be racing instructor and German endurance competitor Sven Herberger. Briton Brian Saunders makes a welcome return to racing and to Asia for the opening round, and hopes to be able to contest the full season. The talented 33-year-old was a McLaren-Autosport Young Driver of the Year finalist in 1992, and single seater Formula Asia International Series Champion in 1995. With the news of the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia spreading far and wide, Saunders hopes to make his motorsport comeback in the high profile series.
Another Briton, Mark Goddard, who has been involved in motorsport in Asia as a team boss, organiser and competitor for many years will be taking to the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car for the first time. Goddard was 2002 Asian Formula 3 Champion, and has European wins in Formula Ford, Formula 3, Formula Libre, GT and the British Touring Car Championship (Class D) to his credit.
Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia partner, Puma, has entered the world’s most popular freestyle and motocross rider, Travis Pastrana, in the series VIP car for Round 1. The 20-year-old American, who holds multiple motocross titles, is no stranger to four-wheel racing, having competed in a Porsche in his native USA.
Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia General Manager Ian Geekie is delighted with the rapid growth of the series which made its debut last year. “The fact that we are attracting more and more first class drivers shows just how successful this series has become in a very short time,” he said. “The on-track action was awesome last year and with the new additions for this season it’s going to be even more spectacular.”
Due to the ever-increasing levels of competition in the series, a special class has been introduced this year for experienced amateur and gentlemen drivers. This will ensure two levels of competition within the series, providing even greater rivalry between the drivers.
The opening round of the series follows a testing session held at Sepang International Circuit last month to enable the drivers to familiarize themselves with the 2004 specification Porsche Carrera 911 GT3 Cup machines and pick up some valuable tips from Porsche works driver Marc Lieb.
Following Round 1, the series returns to Sepang International Circuit for two further rounds and will then visit Thailand, South Korea, Beijing, Shanghai - where it is scheduled to be a support race for China’s first Formula 1 Grand Prix - with a grand finale as part of the Macau Grand Prix in November.
March 12, 2004
Report from 12/03/2004
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