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- Rockingham Weekend Notebook
Craft-Bamboo Set for Two-Class Blancpain GT Asia Entry
- Updated: March 20, 2017
Porsche’s official Asian technical partner team, Craft-Bamboo Racing, will enter two of the German marque’s 911 GT3 Rs and a Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR in Blancpain GT Series Asia this season.
The Hong Kong-based squad claimed the TCR International Teams’ title in 2016, a year after also winning GT Asia’s Drivers’ championship with Darryl O’Young, and sealing outright podium finishes at the Bathurst 12 Hour and FIA GT World Cup races in Australia and Macau.
The team now turns its attention to the new Blancpain GT Asia series, with a three-car Porsche entry. Its pair of 911 GT3 Rs are the first such cars confirmed for the series, while it joins several other teams in entering a Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
While both of the team’s GT3 crews and fresh 911 liveries will be revealed soon, Craft-Bamboo has named a familiar driver pairing for its sole GT4 entry: Frank Yu and Jean-Marc Merlin.
Hong Kong racer Yu was part of the line-up that helped Craft-Bamboo finish fourth in last season’s GT Asia GT3 Teams’ standings, but makes the move to GT4 aboard the same car with which he claimed third in last season’s Dubai 24 Hours.
The 53-year-old, who began racing in 2007, is also a former Malaysian Super Series GT champion and has been a GT Asia and Asian Le Mans Series GTC class runner-up.
“I am very excited to join the Blancpain GT Series Asia this year in the GT4 class,” he said. “I think the GT4 category will become a great success and it is a perfect platform for Bronze drivers.
“I have a lot of faith in this series and I believe we will put forth a very competitive package that should give us a shot at the championship.”
Meanwhile, Singapore-based Frenchman Merlin partnered Yu in a Craft-Bamboo-prepared Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 at the 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour.
But he is perhaps best known for his Porsche exploits, having competed in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and Le Mans 24 Hours aboard a Porsche 911 RSR. Last season he raced in the European Le Mans Series’ LMP3 class.
“I am really looking forward to racing once again with Craft-Bamboo Racing and Frank Yu. We will be taking the competition very seriously but we aim to have fun while doing so,” he said.
“I have wanted to compete in the Blancpain GT Series for a long time and I am happy to be participating in what is promising to be a very successful Asian series.
“I will be making the move back to Porsches again after having competed in the PCCA and 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as many historic races.
“The biggest challenge for me will be forgetting prototype race techniques after competing in WEC and ELMS in LMP2 and LMP3 Ligiers.”