Thailand Super Series -Press Conference 2016

Thailand Super Series -Press Conference 2016

11.05.2016: When the season announcing Official Press Conference arrives that's

When the season announcing Official Press Conference arrives that's a sure sign that the new racing season is upon us. And that really is the case as the Press Conference 2016 took place last Wednesday and in fact the first race weekend of year is now just ten days away.

For this edition a new high profile venue was chosen, a setting that was not just conducive to the attending media but also able to connect TSS with the wider Bangkok public as well as passing international tourists so we could present exactly what we have to offer.

And from the setting on the banks of the Chao Phraya River it was clear that there are a lot of new and exciting new developments coming from TSS this year – on multiple fronts.

That was the overriding theme of the ‘Press Conference 2016’ as TSS Vice President Preeda Tantemsapya explains. “We wanted to get across the changes, especially for Bangsaen, as we will reach FIA Grade 3 this year, we have done so much work towards this now, and also we touched on the new circuit in Sri Racha.”

Probably the biggest attention-grabbing highlight of the Press Conference this year was the official presentation of our newest category, TCR Thailand, which is seeing rapidly growing interest.

The first TCR cars to arrive in Thailand, a pair of Honda Civics acquired by the TBN MK IHERE team have generated a lot of admiring glances since they were first pulled out of their shipping container back in March and now seen wrapped in the team's new metallic blue, silvers and red colours for the first time the two new cars looked striking and caught the imagination of passers by in front of the Press Conference venue.

Then there were the SEATs. Two to be precise. The first arrivals had barely been unloaded than it was straight to the Press Conference and these Spanish factory built machines are equally as visually stunning.

 They lined up next to the Civics in a four strong display that was a non-stop focal point all afternoon and evening on the riverbank.

Presented to the media for the first time, TCR announced its arrival in no uncertain fashion. “Interest [in TCR] is growing,” says Khun Preeda. “Our goal is to first have an exciting new series, one that is for a new generation of car, and at a good price.”

What he was also keen to emphasise is just how TCR will provide a platform for Thai drivers to learn and develop in a car that they can then go on to use to race across Asia, and indeed across the world, and it’s a car that will be identical in specification to the machines they will be up against wherever they race; that’s a first for Thailand.

“It’s an affordable car and drivers can use it to progress and join TCR Asia Series or TCR International Series, or indeed series in many other countries [as this year thirteen national TCR championships will be launched]," Khun Preeda continued.

"The car isn’t restricted to Thailand and you can take it out of Thailand and race without any modifications, even the tyres, so the experience learnt at home will set the drivers on their way to international level.

TCR is a very recognised series so if a driver wants to explore an international career outside Thailand in the future now they can as TCR has a big reputation.”

He was also clear that 'internationalisation' is a two way street, TSS wants to appeal to more drivers and teams abroad to come and race here just as it wants to help our drivers and teams to race abroad.

TCR will check those boxes off perfectly, he reckons, and the signs are already there that this strategy is going to flow.

The new world-class circuit in Sri Racha is going to play its part in the mix. “We didn’t focus on it too much as it’s not part of this year’s plans, but we hope that the new track as well as the FIA Grade 3 for Bangsaen will help the good momentum that is growing in Thai motorsport,” Khun Preeda says.

“We are getting a lot more recognition from international level drivers, not only are people becoming more aware of Thai motorsport, but with everything we’re doing they are becoming aware that we have a level playing field, especially with TCR adding to that mix, they see how we are balancing everything.”

He also pointed out the international series that have joined up with the TSS programme. “Porsche Carrera Cup Asia is coming for the second year, that’s a boost and it shows we are on the right track and can deliver a good partnership while the Caterham series will join us for the first time at the Bira round,” Khun Preeda notes.

 “With the new track and FIA Grade 3 for Bangsaen we can really push our international goals and these will both provide a very good foundation.”

Thailand's headlining category, Super Car Class 2-GTM (to be renamed Super Car GTM this year) is going from strength to strength and the cutting edge machines that fill out the grid resonate with everybody and that was the same story at the Press Conference.

The video presentation put in context its strength and also gave a nod towards this year when GTM will get bigger, better, brighter and stronger.

There is a real narrative to tell about GTM for 2016 with so many stars and stunning cars. Young hotshot Khun Kantasak Kusiri delivered on his promise last year and won the Drivers' title so he has to start as the favorite as Singha Motorsport Team Thailand seek out an unprecedented three crowns on the trot.

Looking to wrest away the youngster’s crown will be an array of top drivers such as Khun Craig Corliss, he was Vice Champion last year and has recently sent his unique Holden back to Australia for a complete rebuild, while don't count out Khun Kantasak's teammate Khun Voravud Bhirombhakdi, the 2014 champion, who made an impressive late run last year.

There are plenty of dark horses too, Khun Sarun Sereethoranakul has got his hands on a potent Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo LP620-2 and quite where that car will fit in is anyone's guess, B-Quik Racing will double its Audi R8 LMS Cup lineup with entries for Henk J. Kiks and Daniel Bilski, they're sure to be right in the mix, and look out for the factory Toyota team, they will field their top class drivers in improved cars.

Meanwhile there will be even more Porsche 991s arriving this year, Khun Aekarat Discharoen and Khun Pitsanu Sirimongkolkasem, who both have experience of the car behind them last year, will lead the charge of the Stuttgart cars.

There will also be split to create PRO-AM and AM classes and that's certainly going to help the new rookies coming into the series.

That the premier class is set to big bigger, more exciting and more spectacular this year was the clear message coming out of Tuesday's Press Conference.

_Edd Ellison- also photo


11.05.2016 / MaP

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