Bright new dawn in Bangsaen

Bright new dawn in Bangsaen

05.07.2017: The 11th running of the Bangsaen Grand Prix turned into something really special as the event made a huge leap forward in every

The 11th running of the Bangsaen Grand Prix turned into something really special as the event made a huge leap forward in every area and it emerged glittering onto the international stage in so many senses of the phrase.



The biggest news of the week was the awarding of the prestigious FIA Grade 3 licence allowing the event to join global motorsport calendars and get ready to welcome further big name series in the future. Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and TCR Asia Series came to town last week to herald the arrival of international series and an exciting new dawn beckoned.



Recently, Chonburi Province was designated a ‘Hub of Sports’ by the national government and the 11th edition couldn’t have been any neater a fit into this much bigger and highly ambitious picture. These were some the important points that were emphasised during the official opening ceremony by TSS President Sontaya Kunplome, the Governor of Chonburi, Mr. Pakkaratorn Tienchai, and a very special guest, the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Ms. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, as the event received the warm support of the Tourism Authority of Thailand as well as the Sport Authority of Thailand.



But when all the talking stopped and the track action got underway there was very little in the paddock that could match the brand new pinnacle of the Super Car pyramid in Thailand, Super Car GTM Plus. The biggest, loudest and most powerful beasts in the paddock wowed the crowds and provided thrills and spills over three explosive races.



When the dust had settled there were a trio of new winners to etch into the record books of Bangsaen. After valiantly leading the chase of pro driver Darryl O’Young over the last three editions of the Grand Prix, Voravud Bhirombhakdi in the Singha Motorsport Team Thailand Ferrari 458 GT3, finally claimed the top class win here that he so craved and he ran out a very worthy winner of the first race.



 The second race saw Narasak Ittritpong, who had claimed all three poles in Vattana’s Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 FL2, make up for the disappointment of his retirement while leading the first race to bag victory in the second. In the final race the defending Super Car GTM champion Sarun Sereethoranakul in the PSC Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo left everyone for dead as he romped away with the win to kick off his account on these streets.



Super Car GTM Plus is only just two events old but already it’s taken its place as the attention grabbing headline act of Thai motorsport and the three races over the long weekend at the seaside had the crowds enthralled and were wide open until the dying minutes.





‘A place of dreams’



The 11th edition of the Bangsaen Grand Prix was something a little bit special – the opening up of the second decade – truly a ‘second chapter’ in every sense of the phrase – saw the glamorous event taking its place on the international stage as the track was awarded an FIA Grade 3 licence allowing it to join the global calendars and welcome further big name series in the future. Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and TCR Asia Series came to town last week to herald the arrival of international series and an exciting new dawn beckoned.



Recently Chonburi Province was designated a ‘Hub of Sports’ by the national government and the 11th edition couldn’t have been any neater a fit to this much bigger and highly ambitious picture with the Grand Prix’s influx of the racing community, both Thai and international, as well as the tourists that come to watch the event and whom are made up of a broadly similar mix.



So the Bangsaen Grand Prix was very pleased to welcome warm support and input from the Tourism Authority of Thailand as well as the Sport Authority of Thailand as we aim to play our part in the ‘Hub of Sport’ initiative. Certainly the ‘Amazing Thailand’ branding was a pleasing and proud addition to the Bangsaen Grand Prix.



These were some of the points that TSS President Sontaya Kunplome was keen to emphasise during last Saturday’s Official Opening Ceremony for the 11th Bangsaen Grand Prix. He also pointed out that it’s been a long road over the last ten years, with a lot of hard work for the event to be where it’s is today, standing on the threshold of greatness.



We were also pleased to welcome the Governor of Chonburi, Mr. Pakkaratorn Tienchai, to the stage. He stated that they had been pleased to observe the government’s wishes to make Bangsaen a destination for motorsports that adheres to international standards.



Mr. Pakkaratorn pointed out that the event brings not just the motorsports world but many tourists and in turn familiarises them with the Province. He said the town comes together and join forces to create such an event in motorsports. “A diamond amongst motorsports and an example to the rest of Thailand,” he added.



Then it was over the just-appointed President of Toyota Motor Thailand Co., Ltd., Mr. Michinobu Sugata. He emphasised the company’s commitment to motorsport in Thailand, the Bangsaen Grand Prix and that – in something of a full circle – he had also been involved during the inaugural running of the event a decade ago. “It’s an honour for us to take part in this festival,” said Mr. Michinobu.




“In 2007, ten years ago when I worked at Toyota Motor Thailand for the first time, I was fortunate enough to witness for the first time the Bangsaen Thailand Speed Festival started with the 6-hour endurance race together with the Toyota Motorsport event.



“I was so excited to see many racing fans rejoiced and many racing fans came over to participate, not only from Thailand but also from Japan,” he continued. “During the decade Bangsaen Grand Prix has been organised as one of the most elevated racing series in Thailand and highly acclaimed in the international arena in representing the positive development of motorsport in Asia.



 In line with Toyota’s endeavour to promote motorsport we are committed to the advancement of motorsport in quite an active manner we have been organising Toyota Motorsports for more than thirty years, with such a long history its not surprise to know that Toyota Motorsports is considered the role model in the Asian region.



“Motorsports is one of my favourite sports, I want to give it a space to flourish in the form of a poplar racing festival where anyone can join,” Mr. Michinobu added. “I believe this racing programme will become a platform that inspires you to challenge yourself.”



Finally, it was over to the to a most special VIP guest, the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Ms. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, with TSS delighted that she was able to attend and lend her support to the event.



“I’m glad to see all of you here,” she started off. “On behalf of the Thai government I would like to thank you all for having the faith, confidence to do the challenge to be part of this Bangsaen Grand Prix series.



Ms. Kobkarn was keen to point out that the Bangsaen Grand Prix is part of the big picture of a ‘Hub of Sport’ in Chonburi Province and is already achieved its status as a hub for motorsports.



“You have made the right decision [to come here] because this is a place where they have been dreaming for the past ten years, to be the sport dream destination, to make sure that everyone who loves sport should come here, not only to excel in your skill in sport, but to make sure you live a happy life and return. This is a place where you find everything come true, why Thailand is called Amazing Thailand.”



She hopes that everyone will continue to play their part in building this event to its next level. “I do hope that you share your pictures, that you share your experiences, you share your happiness to your friends around the world,” said Ms. Kobkarn. “What you have found tell the world and help us to make sure that Bangsaen is on the map, that Chonburi is on the map, that Thailand is on the map. A sport dream destination, a sport hub of the world.



“We are only on the second stage, you will help us, to elevate us, to make sure we continue to grow together with you and all your friends around the world, that sport is for everyone and what you have experienced here will inspire the young generation in the future to do more sport activity, which is the mission of our government, so therefore enjoy Thailand and may the force be with you,” Ms. Kobkarn concluded. Then it was time to get the 11th edition of the Bangsaen Grand Prix underway.





- Edd Ellison - also photo

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/tss-bright-new-dawn-bangsaen---165704.html

05.07.2017 / MaP

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