Cayman GT4 Clubsport unveiled in Asia as two star-studded Porsche Factory teams make official debut in Sepang 12 Hours
Shanghai/Malaysia. Porsche will officially showcase the Cayman GT4 Clubsport, a GT car with easier driving requirements and maintenance costs than its counterparts such as the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, in Asia on Friday as a line-up of star drivers prepare for the brand’s last endurance race of 2016.
The Cayman GT4 Clubsport has already proven a hit among amateurs, gentleman drivers and young drivers entering GT series across the US and Europe. It is expected to become a regular competitor in regional races, with Porsche providing extensive support to customer racers using the new vehicle on the track beginning next year.
The event comes as Porsche makes its debut entry into the Intercontinental GT Challenge, fielding two highly-talented Porsche factory teams in the Sepang 12 Hour race in Malaysia from December 8 to 10. The factory drivers will test the Cayman GT4 Clubsport on the Sepang International Race Track over the weekend.
Joining the Manthey Racing team to represent Porsche, the #911 car will be piloted by factory drivers Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy, both members of the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans champion team, as well as Patrick Pilet. Richard Lietz, Michael Christensen and Fred Makowiecki will take the wheel of the #912 car.
Both teams will be driving the Porsche 911 GT3 R, as they join a 26-car line-up of international teams at the 5.543-km Sepang International Circuit, a Herman Tilke-designed track characterized by two long straights divided by a sharp hairpin turn.
This will be Porsche’s first official entry into the Intercontinental GT Challenge, which began its inaugural year in 2016 with three rounds that included the Bathurst 12 Hours, the 24 Hours of Spa and will conclude with the Sepang 12 Hours.
“I’m always excited to see new events like the Intercontinental GT Challenge include Asia in their calendar as it’s a clear indicator of the growing importance of the region in motorsport – something we’ve been working very hard to support. With the Asia release of the Cayman GT4 Clubsport, a car really geared to make it easier to compete at the entry level, Porsche is helping build Asia’s motorsport culture from the ground up,” Porsche China Motorsport Manager Alexandre Gibot said.
Earl Bamber goes into the race with the most experience racing in Asia among his teammates. In addition to recently racing in the 63rd Macau Grand Prix where he took 4th after a stop-and-start race, the 26-year-old New Zealander lived in Malaysia for several years and is a two-time champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, one of the region’s top one-make racing series that regularly includes Sepang in its annual race calendar. He is joined by regular teammate 32-year-old Brit Nick Tandy, who was recently selected to join Porsche’s LMP1 team in the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) along with Bamber, and Patrick Pilet, part of Porsche AG Team Manthey’s LMGTE Pro squad in the WEC.
“Sepang is virtually a home race for me. I’ve turned countless laps on this racetrack. Our 911 GT3 R performed very well in Macau and that’s promising for Sepang. Hopefully we’ll score the victory there that we deserved in Macau. The big challenges will be the heat and tyre wear,” Earl Bamber said.
The drivers of the #912 car should prove equally mettlesome as Richard Lietz, GT-class winner for the 2015 WEC, and Mark Christenen enter the race after completing the 6 Hours of Bahrain World Endurance Championship season finale, finishing the season in 8th among the LMGTE Pro class. They are joined by Manthey Racing’s WEC LMGTE Pro regular Fred Makowiecki to form a top squad.
“The 911 GT3 R ran very well in Macau, which makes me very confident for Sepang. Tackling a long distance race with two teammates like Fred and Michael is perfect. It would be fantastic if we could finish up the season with a win,” Richard Lietz said.