Craft-Bamboo Racing is looking to close the gap in the Blancpain GT Series Asia teams’ standings with their #88 and #99 Porsche 911 GT3 Rs at the Fuji Speedway this weekend. After taking their best results of the season so far in Suzuka for round three, the team is determined to go further in Fuji. With only 15 points separating them from second in the standings, both cars will be on the hunt for the podium this weekend and will be pushing to take that next step towards victory.
Nick Foster has re-signed with Craft-Bamboo and is eager to build on the second place podium that he and Devon Modell scored in race one at Suzuka. The #88 pair is new to Fuji but if their first competitive outing together is anything to go by, the #88 boys should have no trouble with getting to grips with the 4.563km circuit. With both drivers now settled into the team and comfortable with pushing the Porsche 911 GT3 R to its limits, Modell and Foster will dedicate the first practice sessions in Fuji to familiarizing themselves with the track. The pair will then challenge the 28 strong GT3 field in the two 15 minute qualifying sessions to secure the #88 Porsche a spot at the sharp end of the grid for both races.
Darryl O’Young and Peter Li Zhi Cong are looking for their first podium of the season and after scoring their highest placed finish so far in Suzuka with fourth, the #99 VLT duo are confident they can make further developments this weekend in Japan. Both drivers are fond of the Fuji Speedway after having scored podium results during their respective championship winning campaigns in the GT Asia Series. With expert knowledge of the circuit, O’Young and Li will be using their initial time on track to ensure the #99 VLT Porsche is dialled in and on the pace for Saturday’s qualifying sessions in the hopes of giving the #99 VLT Porsche its second pole position of the season.
Frank Yu and Jean-Marc Merlin are now third in the GT4 drivers’ championship but need only six points to close the gap to first. With the most wins of any GT4 pairing this season, Yu and Merlin will focus on adding to their haul of victories to jump their #17 and #10 Porsche rivals by the end of the weekend. Frank is certainly no stranger to the Fuji Speedway, having raced there numerous times over the last 10 years. His knowledge and experience will go a long way in helping the #77 pair challenge for the podium and will allow Merlin to get up to speed and learn the circuit in the early sessions. The pair will also have no success penalty to contend with for race one, giving them the ultimate opportunity at taking a win and jumping ahead of their opponents.
Fuji Speedway Schedule GMT +9
Friday 18th August
13.00 – 13.45 Blancpain GT Series Asia – Free Practice 1
15.45 – 16.30 Blancpain GT Series Asia – Free Practice 2
Saturday 19th August
08.40 – 09.10 Blancpain GT Series Asia – Official Practice
11.35 – 11.50 Blancpain GT Series Asia – Qualifying 1
12.00 – 12.15 Blancpain GT Series Asia – Qualifying 2
15.35 – 16.35 Blancpain GT Series Asia – Race 1
Sunday 20th August
14.25 – 15.25 Blancpain GT Series Asia – Race 2
Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing
“Our goal for Fuji will be to close the gap in the team standings with our #88 and #99 GT3 R lineups. I believe Fuji should suit the 911 GT3 R and with the continued development we saw in Suzuka that netted us our best results of the season so far, both cars will be aiming for the podium this weekend. Frank Yu and Jean-Marc Merlin have a six point gap to close to reclaim the lead in the GT4 drivers’ championship and with their record of success so far this year, I expect them to net another victory or two by the end of the weekend.”
#88 Porsche 911 GT3 R
“I am very much looking forward to the next round at Fuji as well as teaming up with Nick again. We had a good result last time out at Suzuka and I am hoping to build on that success with another strong weekend. The aim is to be on the podium again and go for the win!”
“We had strong results in Suzuka, so we want to take the momentum we had at Suzuka pace wise and take that to Fuji. It will be another new track for me but I’m not too stressed out about that, I know the team has been there before with GT Asia, so we will have a lot of information. Obviously, Fuji is a strange one in terms of weather and we will just have to wait and see how it all plays out during the week. If it rains we will be in a strong position with the Porsche and if it is dry then I think we should be quite strong as well. The goal for this weekend is to finish on the podium in both races and fight for the win and maximum points for the team.”
#99 VLT Porsche 911 GT3 R
“After having strong pace in Suzuka, we are looking to carry the momentum forward to the coming race as we enter the 2nd half of the season. Last year our Porsche proved strong in Fuji, so we will be aiming for nothing less than a race win. Peter is getting faster every time he gets in the car and our Porsche felt phenomenal last race, so we will be working hard this weekend to get our car’s first podium of the season.”
Peter Li Zhi Cong
“I am really happy to be back in the car and to return to Fuji. This is a special track that every driver likes to race on. We showed some improvements at Suzuka. I feel more and more confident in the car and I hope we can deliver a strong result for the team at Fuji.”
#77 Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR
“I am really looking forward to Fuji, our team has always done well there. I know the circuit quite well and it has been 10 years since the first time I raced at Fuji, so I have a bit of experience there and I hope that will turn into an advantage. Our focus this weekend is for Jean-Marc and I to regain the lead in the drivers’ championship but the competition is getting stronger and stronger and other teams have done testing before the race, so we are a little bit behind but I am confident that we can still be good enough for the fight. We will be pushing as hard as possible to get the lead back this weekend.”
“I am happy to be back with the team after the summer break and I am looking forward to taking on the new Mclaren 570 GT4 that will surely provide us with some very stiff competition this weekend. Frank and I have our sights set on reclaiming the championship lead and that will be our only focus in Fuji.”