|10 November 2004
The battle to decide who will be crowned 2004 Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia Champion will go right down to the wire at the final race of the year, run as part of the Macau Grand Prix on November 21.
Macau’s demanding Guia street circuit will be the scene of the final showdown of an extraordinary 11-round season, as the awesome field of state-of-the-art Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racing machines line up on the grid for Sunday’s 10-lap grand finale.
Three drivers are in contention to take the title. Charoensukhawatana Nattavude of Thailand , in the Fuspeed Racing machine run by former racing driver Adrian Fu of Hong Kong , tops the leaderboard going into the final round. Briton Matthew Marsh of the A-Ha Racing team trails Nattavude by a single point, and comes to Macau on a winning streak having won four of the last five rounds. Reigning Champion, Charles Kwan of Hong Kong in the Team Infineon-Novellus machine, is also a hot contender for victory as one ofAsia’ s most successful racing drivers ever and with vast experience of the Guia Circuit, having won there on many occasions.
However, this will be as far from a three-car race as it’s possible to get. Malaysia’ s Rizal Ashram Ramli, a former Formula 3 racer in Europe and fourth in the championship with the Crest Jaseri Racing team, has been thrilling race fans all season with his no-nonsense, attacking style and it will be fascinating to see how quickly he adapts to a street circuit. Another newcomer to the series this year, Team Jebsen’s 24-year-old Darryl O’Young, has really made his mark in the region’s premier sportscar series. The PUMA and Blue Girl-backed youngster will be one to watch out for in Macau .
Added to the mix of regular series drivers made up of Asia’ s most skilled sportscar experts, fighting it out for the final championships standings, comes Malaysian-based Nigel Albon. Albon lost out on the championship title last year by just four points, and his return to the series this year for the final round could well play havoc with the odds.
In Class B, introduced this year for amateur drivers, the title has already been clinched by Max Chen of Chinese Taipei. The A1 Racing driver triumphed in the hotly-contested Class after beating off stiff competition in what has been a phenomenal season for the talented and tenacious driver. However, the fact Chen has taken the top spot won’t stop his fellow drivers fighting it out to the last for the final standings.
Commented Porsche Asia Pacific Regional Marketing Manager, Dr. Henrik Dreier: “This has been a tremendous season for the drivers, for our title sponsor Infineon Technologies, and for all the spectators who have watched the thrilling racing at race tracks around the region. With the Class A title in the balance,Macau promises to be the scene of a memorable competition!”
Said Kaye Lim, Senior Director, Corporate Communications, Infineon Technologies Asia Pacific: “The Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup continues to up the ante in professional motorsports in Asia , and Infineon is proud to play a central role in making racing history in Asia . The series, which exemplifies both technological and sporting excellence, enables us to demonstrate our dedication to developing leading edge automotive technologies to enhance the success of our motorsport partners in Asia Pacific.”
The highly successful Porsche Carrera Cup was conceived in 1990, and now runs in Asia , Australia ,France , Germany , Great Britain and Japan . It is widely recognised as the pinnacle of one-make GT racing, and the Asian series, backed this year by global semiconductor giant Infineon Technologies and now coming to the end of its second successful season, has set new benchmarks in professional motorsport in the region. All the drivers compete in identical Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machines, ensuring success depends on driver skill alone.
This year, the series has provided some of the best on-track action to be found anywhere in the world, opening the season as a support race to the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix in March, with two further rounds at the Sepang International Circuit before moving to Thailand and Beijing. The series became part of motorsport history as a support race for China’ s first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix in Shanghai in September, before two further rounds in South Korea .
As the season reaches its climax on Macau’s legendary street circuit, the stage is set for a battle of epic proportions.
Supporting the series are two of the most recognised names in international motorsport, Mobil1 and Michelin. Mobil and Porsche have been partners since 1996. Close co-operation in research and development has to led to every new Porsche engine being filled with Mobil1 high-performance lubricant. Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia drivers also have the advantage of high technology tyres, supplied by series partner Michelin, that have consistently improved the performance of many teams in international motorsport. The partnership between Michelin and the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia has emerged from a worldwide agreement signed between Porsche AG and the Michelin group in 2001.
The Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia runs as part of the Asian Festival of Speed, organised by Malaysian-based Motorsport Asia Limited.
Round 11 Provisional Entry List
*Non series registered.