Thailand Super Series - Six appeal

Thailand Super Series - Six appeal

11.05.2016: First came the Honda Civic TCR. There were just two of them but

First came the Honda Civic TCR. There were just two of them but they caused quite a stir. Then last Thursday morning came the SEAT Léon Cup Racer TCR. They also caused quite a stir – and there were no less than six of them.

The sight of half a dozen fully factory built ‘body in white’ touring car racing machines lined up next to each other in a dusty Lat Krabang shipping yard to a backdrop of 40-ft containers really signalled that the ‘TCR’ concept is now alive and kicking in Thailand and ready to burst onto the local scene in now just a week and a half’s time.

The six new Spanish machines have been split up between four teams; Krating Daeng has acquired three of the Léon Cup Racers, while Vattana Motorsport, Singha Motorsport Team Thailand and Racing Spirit have one apiece.

Last year TCR International Series delivered on its promise, close-up racing just the way touring car fans expect it, all wrapped in a cost effective and low maintenance package.

The Leon Cup Racer proved to the benchmark, comfortably winning the Drivers’ and Teams’ titles, while this year the MY2016 version been upgraded all round and it’s picked up where it left off at the end of last year, currently the SEAT Sport-built car is leading the Drivers’ and Teams’ points classifications.

So it’s the safe option, a proven winner and that quickly leads to the drivers. The six perfectly equally balanced cars will all have proven stars names behind the wheel and that’s going to lead to some sensational racing.

For the season opener Thai fans are set to enjoy a real treat as the gladiators go head-to-head in battle. And the first two names to leap out of the page are Khun Carlo Van Dam and Khun Jack Lemvard, who will line up for Singha Motorsport Team Thailand and Vattana Motorsport respectively.

 That clash already has set the tongues wagging before the cars have even turned a wheel. Separating those two in terms of skill and talent isn’t going to be easy, but there are rarely dead heats in motorsport.

Then come Khun Grant Supaphong and Khun Chen Jian Hong for Krating Daeng Racing Team, as well as a couple of scheduled outings this year for Khun ‘Kiki’ Sak Nana in the team’s third entry.

That’s three drivers that, just like Khun Carlo and Khun Jack, aren’t interested in second places.

It all means the SEATs will have a coterie of top drivers with top teams to support them when TCR Thailand kicks off the weekend after next and the ‘new generation’ of touring car racing seems set to live up to all the hype.

However, that ultra explosive mix of drivers that are getting ready to slip into the racing cockpits all seemed a pretty disconnected prospect when the six new SEAT racecars were one by one pushed out of their containers and lined up on the yard’s blisteringly hot asphalt apron ready to be taken away to their respective team’s bases. But on that sunny morning that’s exactly where the growing hype started.

- Edd Ellison - also photo


11.05.2016 / MaP

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