Porsche GT3 Cup Trophy to debut alongside China GT season open in Beijing
Beijing. The first two rounds of the brand new Porsche GT3 Cup Trophy China are set to get underway as the China GT hosts its season opening race weekend with Round 1 and 2 at Goldenport Park Circuit in Beijing on Friday and Saturday.
With 12 one-hour rounds that will take drivers throughout some of China’s most notable tracks over the course of 6 weekends, the China GT is entering its second season as one of the prime GT competitions in China. The Beijing stop will see over 30 cars across the GT3, GTC and GT4 class on the grid, with plans to expand over the season.
One of the China GT’s latest additions, the Porsche GT3 Cup Trophy was launched with extensive backing from the newly opened Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific office, who will provide in-depth technical, parts and marketing support for the China GT and participating Porsche teams. Blending a competitive mix of seasoned professionals and aspiring amateurs, Porsche entries into China GT’s GTC class will be competing in the Porsche GT3 Cup Trophy in Beijing as 2 teams comprised of 6 drivers push to make Chinese racing history as the first ever to claim victory in the new Trophy driving the iconic Porsche 911 GT3 (Type 991).
“We’re thrilled to get the second season of the China GT started. Entering our second year, we’ve made several improvements to the competition, not the least of which is the addition of the Porsche GT3 Cup Trophy. As one of a handful of GT competitions, we’re incredibly grateful and pleased with the chance to work with Porsche. Their involvement in the China GT shows the importance of Asia’s motorsport scene and the dedicated effort by Porsche to see it flourish,” Jim Ye, President of Goldenport Enterprises, said.
Among those participating in the GTC class and contending for the Porsche GT3 Cup Trophy are two talented Chinese gentleman driver teams with JRM’s Haolian Xingzhong and Zhou Fan entering as a pair and Zheng Hui partnering with Min Heng for JRM.
Porsche China Juniors Andrew Tang and Zhang Dasheng, two of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia’s top young drivers, will also join the GTC class. Both young drivers have proven their talent on the track having raced in the 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, with Tang ending the season in 4th and Zhang Dasheng in 5th. Each will join the JRM team and be paired alongside local gentleman drivers, with Pan Chao joining Andrew Tang and Xiao Min teaming with Zhang Dasheng.
Rounding out Porsche’s GTC entries are two teams from the DMS Team, with one entry consisting of gentleman driver Chen Zhiwei, joined by pro driver Xie Xinzhe and a single entry for gentleman driver Yan Kai.
Joining their GTC counterparts will be 4 additional Porsche entries – bringing the total Porsche entries to 10 – into the China GT’s GT3 class with the Porsche 911 GT3 R. Several famous faces from the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia are making appearances with with PCCA amateur driver & Owner of Team JRM Li Chao teaming up with 2015 Champion Chris Van der Drift and local gentlemen driver Li Jia Qi pairing with 2016 runner-up Maxime Jousse for team JRM.
The final two Porsche entries into Round 1 and 2 will be fielded by FAW T2M and serviced by HubAuto. Their driver teams will consist of Morris Chen, notable as the first driver from Taiwan to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and Japanese driver Hiroki Yoshimoto, as well as strong Porsche Carrera Cup Asia competitors Martin Ragginger and Bao Jinlong.
A pre-season test session held mid-April gave a sneak peek into the fierce competition that awaits participants and spectators alike in the upcoming Round 1 and 2.
In the end, only fractions of a second separated the best times between GTC contestants in the Porsche GT3 Cup Trophy. Xiao Min and Zhang DaSheng made an early grab at the start of the test sessions, clocking the second fastest time in session two with 1.06.344s and steadily improving throughout the day. While JRM’s Pan Chao and teammate Andrew Tang hit their stride later on, clocking the third fastest lap time in the sixth test session
For Porsche’s GT3 competitors, Li Chao and Chris van der Drift put JRM’s GT3 class competitors on the map early on by jumping to the top of the timesheet with a 1:03.576s lap time. JRM entry Li Jiaqi and Maxime Jousse and brought drama at the end of the test day with a record-breaking fifth test session as the pair clocked a 1.02.823 lap – defeating all previous records for lap speeds and setting the bar high for fellow GT3 class competitors.
“The start of the China GT and debut of the Porsche GT3 Cup Trophy marks an exciting milestone for both Porsche drivers in China and Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific. We’re thrilled and honored to have the chance to provide technical, parts and marketing support for the series and participants, and are looking forward to seeing our drivers compete. With 8 confirmed entries backed by several talented drivers, Porsche will undoubtedly make a strong first showing in Round 1 and 2,” Alexandre Gibot, Head of Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific, said.
Both Round 1 and 2 of the GT3 Cup Trophy China can be watched via live stream by visiting China GT’s Facebook (China GT Championship) for English or turning into LeSports (http://chinagt.lesports.com) for Chinese, with the chance to tune in on Friday at 10:30 am (GMT+08:00) for Round 1 of the GTC and GT4, and 13:50 for GT3. Round 2 on Saturday will be broadcast at 13:00 (GMT+08:00) for GTC and GT4, and 15:20 for GT3.
China GT 2017 Season Calendar
May 13 –14 Round 1 and 2 Goldenport Park Circuit
July 8 –9 Round 3 and 4 Ordos International Circuit
July 29 – 30 Round 5 and 6 Zhuhai International Circuit
September 9 – 10 Round 7 and 8 Shanghai International Circuit
October 3 – 5 Round 9 and 10 Chengdu International Circuit
October 21- 22 Round 11 and 12 Zhejiang Circuit