Preview: Super Car GTC  -Thailand Super Series Buriram

Preview: Super Car GTC -Thailand Super Series Buriram

20.05.2016: Now assuming position as the second rung on the Super Car ladder, 'GTC

Now assuming position as the second rung on the Super Car ladder, 'GTC' is a category that is entering its third year and if the first two seasons are anything to go by the fight for the title is going to go all the way to the wire in Bangsaen.

But that seaside finale is a long way off yet and the season starts now, here in the North East. Gone from GTC is the Krating Daeng Racing Team, which swept up both Drivers' and Teams' titles last year, so that means the door is wide open for a new order to establish itself.

GTC has proved to be very even so far and that's unlikely to change as balancing is further refined and evenly applied. Picking a winner isn't going to be easy.

Probably it's best to start with the dark horse. Vattana Motorsport ran Khun Narasak Ittritpong last year in its venerable Mitsubishi Evo, but the car was ageing, unreliable and eclipsed by time and so too many DNFs stopped this driver from shining.

That's all about to change as Vattana Motorsport has acquired a Reiter Engineering-built KTM X-Bow GT4 allowing Khun Narasak to make a serious run at the title.

With shades of a ‘Batmobile’ about it the all carbon fibre X-Bow GT4 is a sensational looking machine, it feels like a 'mini LMP' car. If it goes as well as it looks then everyone else might as well not turn up.

 However it's very strictly BoP'd to fit into GT4 and its production engine has restricted revs, a raised ride height and lots of extra weight to carry around so should that even things up, but with the proved pace of Khun Narasak behind the wheel it's got to start as the favourite to win on Saturday afternoon.

The 2015 champion Khun Grant Supaphong has switched to TCR Thailand so the next best place to look from within the existing GTC ranks is last year’s runner up, Khun Pete Thongchua. His team really rose to the occasion in 2015 and after many years of experience in Super Car they took a step up and suddenly it no longer looked like the rotary powered car was just making up the numbers.

Khun Pete showed real pace on all three circuits on the calendar and if he can carry that form into this year he's got to be able to make a push at the title.

The RX-8 hasn’t stood still either, it’s fitted with a new aero package all round, so now he has to push onto greater glories.

In fact Rotary Revolution, which builds his RX-8, has embarked on a new run of racing RX-7s and two will be on the grid for Khun Narin Yensuk, who drove for the team over the second half of last year, and Khun U-tain Pongprapas who graduates from Super 1500.

No longer just out to prove the reliability of rotary power, this team has big ambitions and with three cars on the entry list its become the biggest team in GTC and has an eye on the Teams' title, that in itself shows just how far they have progressed over the last year.

Khun Sontaya Kunplome emerged from Buriram last year as the championship leader and with a new engine and an overhaul for his Porsche 997 GT3 Cup he will start the season looking to repeat that fine form.

Khun Sontaya is also competing in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia this year and he showed a useful uptick in pace at the season opener so he's looking sharp for the start of the GTC year.

The factory Toyotas will have plenty of menace emanating from a doubled up entry this year. Khun Manat Kulapalanont switches from GTM to GTC and his 86 has been rerated accordingly.

The car should be a much more competitive proposition for GTC and the driver is proven to be quick so he has to be thinking about the title.

Khun Suttipong Smittachartch starts his third year in GTC and he's a solid points scorer. If the 86s can run reliably all year then they have to be in with a very good shot at the Teams' title.

There will still be one Mitsubishi Evo X on the grid and it's a new face as Khun Prateep Tumprasert is joining the TSS programme for the first time. He knows the car well as he's raced it before, where he’s going to fit into the GTC pecking though still order remains to be seen.

B-Quik Racing joins GTC for the first time with a Porsche 996 GT3 Cup for Khun Attapot Sriprom. He is graduating from the team's Super Eco programme and with strictly limited cockpit time so far it represents a big step up for this driver and he will be primarily treating the weekend as an extended acclimatisation session.

- Edd Ellison - also photo


20.05.2016 / MaP

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