Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific customer teams enjoyed a competitive weekend in the China GT Championship’s Beijing round, with Team JRM scoring an overall podium, alongside two further class podiums apiece for R+ Racing’s GT3 and GTC entries.
Qualifying on the 2.4km Goldenport Park Circuit saw the #911 Team JRM Porsche 911 GT3 R of Chris van der Drift and Li Chao take third position in the GT3 class. In the GTC category, R+ Racing’s #307 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, driven by Wang Tao and Zhang Dasheng, would also line-up third in class for the weekend’s first race.
R+ Racing’s brand new, 2018-spec #777 Porsche 911 GT3 R, which was making its series debut in the hands of Pan Chao and Li Jiaqi, would start from the back of the grid after missing qualifying.
In the early stages of the opening race, AM Gold driver Li Chao showed great pace in changeable conditions to hand the car over to Chris Van der Drift in second place overall. Following the intervention of the safety car, the New Zealander made his move for the overall lead, building a comfortable margin by the finish. Unfortunately, a pit-stop infringement for the duo saw the addition of a time-penalty, dropping them to third.
Despite having not raced the GT3-spec Porsche before this weekend, Pan Chao and team-mate Li Jiaqi made up ground, and were able to secure a second-place finish in the AM/AM class for the #777 entry. R+ Racing’s #307 GTC car also scored a podium, with a runners-up finish in the GTC category.
Starting race two from third, Li Chao maintained his position in the opening laps in the #911, before the Chinese driver was forced to retire, after a spin left the car stranded on the waterlogged infield of the track.
Li Jiaqi started the #777 car, running in fourth in GT3 and second in the AM/AM category early on. At the halfway stage, the Chinese driver handed the car over to Pan Chao, who continued to show impressive pace on his GT3 debut, the team’s efforts rewarded with another podium in class.
In the GTC class, Wang Tao got the R+ Racing’s #307 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race underway, continuing to show impressive form, running in the top three. After handing the car over to Dasheng at half distance, the former Carrera Cup Asia racer fought valiantly to bring the car home for its fourth podium finish of the season.
Pan Chao, R+ Racing #777 Porsche 911 GT3 R, said: “On Thursday I was so excited I couldn’t even sleep well! We went to customs with the team on Friday, to pick up the car. Once we arrived at the track, everyone was working hard to set everything up, before I finally had the chance to run a few laps in the evening. The GT3 is far more complicated than a Porsche 911 Cup, so we used the races as a test session for me to get used to it and build confidence. I still have a lot to learn from my perspective, therefore it was the right decision to be more conservative and not push too hard. Before the next race, we’ll work on the car with the engineer to find a better set-up, and making it more comfortable.”
Alexandre Gibot, Head of Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific, said: “Both teams running Porsche cars in the China GT Championship at Beijing did an excellent job. Chris van der Drift and Li Chao performed brilliantly on Saturday in difficult conditions, but were very unlucky with the penalty. Two more class podiums for the #307 in the GTC class is a very solid result for R+ Racing, as the team continues to progress. We’re also excited going forwards to see what Pan Chao will be able to achieve in his new Porsche 911 GT3 R, his pace was highly impressive given his lack of time with the car, so he’ll definitely be one to watch for the rest of the season.”