Over the Formula 1 Shanghai Grand Prix weekend, the 2018 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season set off with an entertainingly intense race, with Philip Hamprecht taking an impressive overall win for Team StarChase and Modena Motorsports’ Wayne Shen winning the Pro-Am class after some tough battles. This marked the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991 II)’s series debut, with its increased power and better control coming into play with fast lap times and commendable performance. Hamprecht started on pole after setting a quick 2:07.301 lap time in qualifying, but had his work cut out for him right from the start as Absolute Racing AAS Motorsport’s Maxime Jousse fighting to take the lead as they went wheel-to-wheel entering turn 1.
However Jousse was forced to go defensive with Team Formax’s 2017 Champion Chris van der Drift on the hunt from third place, allowing Hamprecht some margin just before a collision further back afield brought the safety car out on lap 6. Both van der Drift and Jousse kept up their attacks on Hamprecht into the race’s closing stages but failed to pass him, with Jousse eventually taking second and van der Drift finishing third overall. 16-year-old Porsche China Junior Team driver Daniel Lu impressed with a commendable debut filled with solid driving, despite starting at the back of the grid after some misfortune in qualifying. He kept his head down and displayed a relentless fervor, charging through the pack and taking 19 places to finish 9th overall.
Hamprecht said, “I think it’s the best way to start the season obviously, with a pole and a win. We had a good race. It was a little tricky at the start, but I managed to pull through. The safety car didn’t help me that much, because I had a nice gap before, but in the end I finished the race in first, so we’re quite happy.” Thanks to his win, Team StarChase also bagged the first Porsche Carrera Cup Asia dealer trophy of 2018.
In the Pro-AM class, 2015 class champion Wayne Shen of Modena Motorsports managed to score a podium after starting Round 1 on pole thanks to his 2:10.706 qualifying lap time. Nevertheless, a less than optimum race start quickly brought him under pressure from OpenRoad Racing’s Francis Tjia in second and Novu Racing’s Yuey Tan who started third. Strongly defending against numerous overtaking lunges from the competition, Shen was briefly overtaken by Tjia but rapidly regained the lead as Tjia dropped a few places back. Contact with another driver then forced Tan to retire from the race, opening a window for Suttiluck Buncharoen of True Visions Motorsport Thailand to challenge Shen for the race lead. Bao Jinlong of Zheng Tong Auto put in another commendable drive; despite being forced to start last after failing to finish qualifying, he aggressively powered through the field and took 16 places to finish an impressive third overall, behind first placed Shen and second placed Buncharoen.
Shen commented after the race, “I’m feeling fantastic. The team did a very good job preparing and I think my pace is decent. I had a very poor start, and I think was passed by three cars. By T1 I noticed that I had regained two positions and [Francis] and I were having a good battle. I did notice he was having a little bit of a slide into a corner, and I managed to pass him back in T1 again.” The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will pick up again on June 15-17th at Fuji international Speedway in Japan, joining the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Japan sister series for a much anticipated invitational race.