(Hong Kong, July 1st, 2013) It was a thrilling race, which saw the Craft Racing Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3 in a battle right to the end against the McLaren 12C GT3 at Okayama International Circuit in Japan for rounds 3 and 4 of GT Asia.
In round 3 the Craft Racing Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3 was given an additional 30kg of ballast 30 minutes before the race start by the race organizing body, which made it challenging for Stefan Muecke (DR) who took first stint.
That extra 30 kg (making the ballast 100 kg overall) changed the handling characteristics and performance of the car, making it difficult to predict as the set up throughout the week did not account for the extra weight.
However, despite this sudden challenge, Stefan was able to build a generous gap of 14 seconds against the other cars. So when the car was handed to Frank Yu (HK) for the second stint, all that Frank had to do was maintain that gap, which was what he did leading to a first place victory for Craft Racing AMR.
In round 4, it was Frank’s turn to start the race and although rain was predicted he was able to drive under beautiful sunny weather starting in P2 at the front row behind the McLaren.
Although Frank was able to overtake the McLaren breaking into turn 1, the McLaren was very quick on the straight lines and they battled side by side for the first few laps.
As the race wore on the McLaren was able to consolidate its lead whilst the Porsche 997 GT3R overtook Frank at the third lap with the leader train less than 3 seconds apart.
“I did what was planned at the start, which was to be side by side with (the McLaren).. and the plan was to either be in front or stay behind the train with not more than a three second gap when I handed over to Stefan” said Frank (*AFOS)
“(The Porsche) overtook me at the hairpin because the 30 extra kilos started weighing the car down and I had to pull back on the braking so that I can give a good car to Stefan.” (*AFOS)
After the compulsory pit stop, the order shifted to the Porsche in the lead as the McLaren and Craft Racing’s Aston had longer pit stops from the added Compensation Times due to their podium finish in round 3.
“It was interesting,” said Stefan after his brilliant performance “I went back out behind the Audi in P4. I tried to push as hard to close the gap because that’s all that I can do. I managed to overtake the Audi quite quick then and saw the cars in front (Porsche & McLaren) fighting with each other, so that was my time. It slowed them down a little bit and I was able to catch up.” (*AFOS)
Stefan managed to pass the Porsche at the end of lap 20 and on lap 22 Stefan had managed to overtake the McLaren but quickly lost it again as the two cars bumped and veered off to the gravel and the McLaren once again took the lead after both cars recovered.
With only 2 laps to go, Stefan was able to take the McLaren yet again and this time powering on in Craft Racing’s Aston all the way to the chequered flag in pole position.
The Aston throughout the weekend was the quickest in qualifying, and both rounds setting the fastest laps in all runs.
“This was an enthralling race, a battle to the end, and obviously an excellent win for us. Everyone, including the other teams were in high spirits after what was a display of some spectacular competitive racing by all involved” concluded Craft Racing AMR team Principal Mark Goddard.
The excitement continues in GT Asia rounds 5 & 6 in Fuji International Circuit from 12th to 14th July.