Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific customer team Absolute Racing go into the second round of the 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia Championship in Buriram with the teams’ and drivers’ championship lead, with a total of five Porsche squads aiming for success in Thailand across the GT3 and GT4 classes.
After scoring victory at the season opener in Sepang, Tanart Sathienthirakul will utilise his prior knowledge of the 4.554km circuit, with his Absolute Racing team-mate Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific Young Professional Philip Hamprecht looking to continue the strong start to his GT3 career aboard the #911 Porsche 911 GT3 R. They currently hold the lead of the overall championship.
Yuan Bo is now joined by former Porsche GT3 Cup New Zealand racer Jono Lester, making his return to the series in the sister #912 car in what is now a Silver entry. The China GT and Thailand Super Series race winner will get his first experience of the 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 R, having driven the previous generation car at the 2018 Suzuka 10 Hours and in the 2017 Super GT season.
The #918 Panther/AAS Motorsport line-up remains unchanged, with Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak also returning to home soil. He and team-mate Alexandre Imperatori will aim to continue the intense battle they had with the Absolute Racing #911 car for the lead in Sepang and stretch their lead in the GT3 Pro-Am standings.
Just behind them in the championship is JRM, with triple Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion Chris van der Drift teaming up once again with long-time Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and triple overall China GT runner-up Li Chao. Both are aiming to return to the front of the field at the Chang International Circuit.
After taking the 991 class win at the 12 Hours of Spa, Modena Motorsports makes its final entry for the season as it plans to move to European races for the summer. Long-standing Porsche Carrera Cup Asia driver John Shen is alongside Bathurst 12 Hour podium finisher and GT3 ace Benny Simonsen in the #16 Pro-Am entry.
Its OpenRoad Racing-branded #21 Am Cup entry is once again piloted by long-time Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Pro-Am racers Francis Tjia and Michael S.
Japanese squad ARN Racing continues with its new-for-2019 Porsche programme in the Pro-Am field with its line-up of 2017 Super Taikyu champion Hiroaki Nagai and 2018 Porsche Japan Junior Yuta Kamimura behind the wheel.
The Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport (981) will return to the series with Porsche Sprint Trophy Thailand and Porsche Carrera Cup Asia team Racing Spirit Thailand in the GT4 class. Preeda Tantemsapya will be behind the wheel with Munkong Sathienthirakul, just one week after his Thailand Super Series victory alongside brother Tanart.
Qualifying starts at 11.15 (local) on Saturday 11 May, with Race 1 at 15.30 and Race 2 on Sunday at 11.45. All three sessions will be livestreamed on Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific’s website and Facebook page.
Jono Lester, Absolute Racing: “I’ve always admired the professionalism of Absolute Racing, and believe they are one of – if not the best – GT3 team in Asia currently. It’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to join them in their new chapter, driving the all-new Porsche 911 GT3 R which by all accounts is a spectacular bit of kit. The speed of the new car at round one was super impressive, and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do.”
Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak, Panther/AAS Motorsport: “We’re looking forward to racing in Thailand this weekend. This is my home race and everyone in the team wants to put on a good show after a promising season-opener in Sepang. We know the level in this championship is very high and we have to serve a 10-second Pitstop Success Penalty in race one, but I am determined to get a good result here.”
Alexandre Imperatori, Panther/AAS Motorsport: “I’m looking forward to our home race this weekend in Buriram. The season started well in Sepang but I think we have the potential to do even better. We will be working hard to win on home ground. It will be nice to go back to Buriram where I first drove with Vutthikorn back in 2014. We are looking forward to seeing all the Thai fans this weekend.”
Francis Tjia, OpenRoad Racing: “Sepang was a good debut for Michael and me. We could’ve and should’ve won both races, but in the end finished second in the Am class. This weekend in Buriram we definitely aim to finish on the top step of the podium. I have only been to Buriram twice, but my familiarity with the car is considerably better now than last time at Sepang, so we are confident of a good result. Ultimately, this is all additional experience for us before we ship the cars to Europe. The Porsche 911 GT3 R has been brilliant, so now it is just us drivers who have to learn to get the maximum out of the car.”
Alexandre Gibot, Head of Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific: “We had an encouraging start to our 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia campaign in Sepang, and we hope to continue that as we go to Buriram. We are also very happy to welcome our Thailand Super Series customers who join this round in the first-generation Cayman GT4 Clubsport.”