Thailand Super Series revs up the Bangkok Auto Salon

Thailand Super Series revs up the Bangkok Auto Salon

04.07.2015: Thailand Super Series (TSS) is thinking big these days so it was no surprise that

Thailand Super Series (TSS) is thinking big these days so it was no surprise that its booth at the 3rd Bangkok International Auto Salon last week was packed out with ambition, menace and muscle. The biggest motorsport series in Thailand was right under the spotlights.

Leading out the display was the monstrous Camaro GT3 of Vattana Motorsport, the big machine raced by Czech former F1 driver Tomáš Enge to double victory last December in Bangsaen.

Next up was the unique ‘Australian V8 Supercar’ Holden that is raced by Craig Corliss. The New Zealander bagged a sensational win in the car (which was shipped to Australia at the end of last year for a total rebuild) at the season opener and he has his eye on the title.

Then there was the Porsche 997 GT3 Cup of Sarun Sereethoranakul, the drift star turned circuit racer is the joint Super Car championship leader after the first round thanks to two consistent drives and he’s another aiming for the title.

Not to be missed was the high-tech Audi R8 LMS Cup of Henk Kiks, the B-Quik Racing machine dazzling onlookers in its customary yellow and black colours, while the booth was wrapped up by the first car to be built for the series’ new ‘Racing Academy’ that aims to teach drivers the art of racing.
‘TCR Thailand’ promises to be one of the most exciting new categories to be introduced to Thai motorsport in recent years and the build up to the launch of the series in 2016 is well underway. In Buriram Khun David Sonenscher, CEO of Motorsport Asia, the promoter of TCR Asia Series, explained the exiting new concept in full detail during a well-attended Q&A session.

Super Car Class 2-GTM regular Khun Paul Kanjanapas has officially launched his team for the 2015 championship with a new title sponsor and a new supporting crew during a prestigious mall ceremony and he has ambitions to keep improving as he undertakes a full season of top level racing.
Finally, in amongst the many motorsport industry companies supporting the new breed of state-of-the-art racecars in TSS is MCS. Khun Jerome van Gool, President of Worldwide Operations, was in Buriram at the season opener to keep an eye on the Ferrari and Porsche entries from Singha Motorsport Team Thailand and A Motorsport, respectively.

TSS in the spotlights at the Auto Salon

TSS had an imposing presence at the 3rd Bangkok International Auto Salon, ASEAN’s biggest tuning and modified car show, which ran from Wednesday to Sunday last week at Muang Thong Thani’s Impact Exhibition Center.

The strategically located official TSS booth packed a real punch with four stunning ‘Super Car’ machines on display, each one residing at the top the horsepower stakes – as well as at the business end of the racing grids. The TSS display was certainly one of the most popular with visitors to the show over the five days.

VIP guest during the show’s official opening ceremony was TSS Vice President Khun Preeda Tantemsapya and he reckoned it was a natural ‘fit’ for the series to be seen at this glamorous event. “The reason for being here is that the Auto Salon is mainly about modification and all the cars in TSS are modified to a certain extent as far as the regulations allow them to,” he said.

“We bring the cars to show so people who are interested in high performance cars and parts see that we exist in Thailand we have top racecars from all over the world in TSS,” Khun Preeda explained. “As we can see we have an Australian V8 Super Car on show all the way to Porsche and Camaro GT3 cars. We hope our display will encourage people to learn more about what we are and become interested in TSS.”

Khun Preeda also reckoned that is was important for TSS to support this budding show, which is just three editions old but already growing rapidly in stature, not just here in Thailand, but right across the whole of South East Asia.

Leading out the power packed display was the monstrous Chevrolet Camaro GT3, which is entered in Super Car Class 1-GT3 by Reiter Vattana Motorsport.

Former F1 driver Khun Tomáš Enge raced to a superb double victory in the big black Reiter Engineering-built machine in Bangsaen last December and he was straight back onto the front running pace during the season opener in May. The Czech will be targeting more victories in the Camaro when TSS returns to Buriram for Round 3 & 4 at the end of this month.

Next up was the unique ‘Australian V8 Supercar’ Holden Commodore VE that is raced by Craig Khun Corliss. The New Zealander bagged a sensational Super Car Class 2-GTM win in the big lurid-green car (which was in fact shipped to Australia after Bangsaen for a total rebuild in time for 2015) at the season opener and he’s another driver that has his eye on the title.

Then there was the striking #55 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup of Khun Sarun Sereethoranakul. The ‘drifting’ star turned circuit racer is already the joint Super Car Class 2-GTM championship leader after the first rounds of the year thanks to two very consistent drives onto the podium and he’s another driver aiming for the title.

Then there was the high-tech #26 Audi R8 LMS Cup of Henk Kiks, the B-Quik Racing machine dazzling visitors to the booth in its customary standout yellow and black colours. The Dutchman had a tough start to the season in May but he’s ready to bounce back when racing resumes at the end of the month.

The booth, laid out in the form of a ‘racing grid’, was completed by a Honda Jazz, the car that will form the backbone of the new TSS Racing Academy (TRA). That was one of a batch of eight examples that have already arrived at the school and which will initially operate from the Pathum Thani Speedway. More ‘learner’ racecars are following. The show was an ideal way to raise the Academy’s profile and plenty of interest followed the Jazz’s public debut.

Khun Preeda reckoned the Auto Salon was the perfect event to use to bring the TRA to public attention for the first time. “We want people to learn about the TSS Racing Academy which we will launch [this coming weekend] with a soft opening,” he said.

“So by having the car on our booth now we have a very good sense that the Academy exists although we won’t fully promote it yet but will wait until we have had a run in, got the concept full honed and then in a few months time we will officially launch it. By carefully honing it we should be able to create a good and solid foundation.”

The presence of TSS racecars at the show didn’t stop with the official booth either; in fact there were machines from right across the series’ multiple categories on display throughout the Auto Salon. On the official Toyota booth, for example, was the Super Car Class 2-GTM ‘86’ of Khun Nattavude Charoensukhawatana. This car has a superb pedigree, winning the 2013 Drivers’ title while finishing runner up last year.

Next door on the Mazda booth the Innovation Motorsports-run cars from Super Production took pride of place. The new Mazda2 turbodiesel hatchback, which debuted at the season opener back in May, sat alongside the brand-new sedan version, which will be seen in TSS for the first time when the racing action resumes at the end of this month.

Joining them was the sleek Mazda RX-8 that Khun Michael Freeman ran in Super Car Class 2-GTM at Bangsaen last December.
Appearing in the big racing car display in the Challenger Hall was the Porsche 997 GT3 Cup of TSS President, Khun Sontaya Kunplome. He’s had a cracking start to the season and two strong results in Buriram in May have put him in command in the points’ standings in Super Car Class 3-GTC.

H.Drive Racing hosted the new Porsche 991 GT3 Cup that Khun Pitsanu Sirimongkolkasem is using for his graduation year in Super Car. It’s the first of the new ‘991 generation’ to arrive on the racetrack in Thailand and is quite unmistakable as it’s wrapped in a striking gold livery.

Alongside the #90 Porsche on the H.Drive stand was the Honda Civic FD that the same driver used to win Super 2000’s ultra-competitive Class B title last year; it was shown in the colours it ran in at Bangsaen last December where Khun Pitsanu wrapped up that title.

The official Singha booth showcased a real line up of winners from Super Car and Super 2000. Leading the charge were the two Ferrari 458 Challenge machines of reigning Super Car Class 2-GTM champion Khun Voravud Bhirombhakdi and Singha Motorsport Team Thailand’s newest signing, hotshot youngster Khun Kantasak Kusiri.

The two Prancing Horse machines were complimented by a trio of the team’s Honda Civic FDs, including the examples of Khun Kittipol Pramoj Na Ayudhya and Khun Thamrong Mahadumrongkul, two fast-emerging front-runners in the highly competitive world of Super 2000.

Finally, the Ginetta G55 of Khun Naputt Assakul made a piece of history at the season opener when it gave the tiny British marque its first ever win in Thailand, the victory coming in Super Car Class 3-GTC. That noteworthy achievement was celebrated at the show as the black and gold car, with its long sweeping bonnet and its compact low-slung glasshouse, was on display in front of visitors.

'TCR Thailand' moving towards reality


TCR is currently one of the buzzwords across the motorsport world. The new concept promises to do nothing less than revolutionise touring car racing, which has suffered falling grids and unsustainably high running costs for many years in almost every country across the word.

The plan is to change all that that with a new foundation of closely matched domestic touring car series spread across the world that then climb upwards. Racing Spirit Co. Ltd., organiser of TSS, was quick to see the potential of TCR and has already joined the ‘revolution’, thus ‘TCR Thailand’ will arrive next year. That announcement has caused a lot of anticipation here, where touring car racing continues to command strong interest from competitors and fans alike.

As Racing Spirit puts the foundations in place for the launch of ‘TCR Thailand’ in 2016 a Q&A forum was held during the opening round of TSS 2015, in Buriram, where Khun Preeda Tantemsapya, Vice President of TSS, and Khun Paritat Bulbon, Managing Director of Racing Spirit Co. Ltd., were joined by Khun David Sonenscher, Chief Executive Officer of Motorsport Asia, the leading Asian motorsports organiser that will also promote the new TCR Asia Series, in answering questions from potential Thai competitors.
The Q&A session was very well attended and interest is growing fast, car orders have already been placed and a strong future of TCR here looks assured. On the sidelines of the session Khun David explained how Motorsport Asia became involved at the core of the TCR programme – and how it’s a perfect solution to the quandary that touring car racing has found itself in.

“We started the TCR concept because we’re looking to restore the pyramid of touring car racing so it’s aimed very much at national championships and then regional and international championships,” he said.

Motorsport Asia already has a strong working relationship with Racing Spirit so Khun David said was logical that the two sides came together quickly over TCR and with a working relationship having already been well established the implementation of the new series, despite being a big challenge, should be relatively smooth.
“Obviously part of our objective is to get as many national championships as possible to adopt the regulations and we’re very happy that Racing Spirit have adopted TCR Thailand to start next year,” he said. “As we already have a relationship with them through Super Car and we do consultancy and technical services and different things, when TCR started I spoke to Khun Paritat and said this is perfect for Thailand and he agreed and he started to get involved.

“So we’re very happy that Thailand’s involved and we will be supporting them in the same way as we support in the GT category by helping with the BoP, by helping with the technical advice and we will be on the ground a lot,” he added.
With this being a brand new series starting from a fresh sheet of paper and being run by people with vast knowledge of the world of touring car racing, the potential really is limitless, and Khun David says that they are evaluating ideas that will give TCR Thailand competitors additional advantages.

“We will be looking into doing things like joint races together going forward between the Asian championship and Thailand and possibly they can visit one round somewhere else with us,” he said. “So there will be a whole load of cooperation plus we’re looking at when we have multiple national championships, which won’t be too far from now, the winners will get to move up or we will do some kind of world final.”

Khun David also notes that in evolving the TCR concept the aim is to create a worldwide platform that interlocks to bring many advantages as well as cost savings for all stakeholders. “We have a promoters association for all the championships,” he explains.

 “This forum is for all the national promoters and us to come together and share ideas and resources and so there is a lot of cooperation planned, even in terms of things like social media we’re looking into having a joint media channel for all the TCR championships around the world so you can have a one stop where you can see everything that’s going on everywhere. The idea is to have a very close tie in and assist the national promoters.”

At the heart of the TCR programme are the racecars and they really are the ‘jewels in the crown’ as they tick all the boxes that need to be ticked to make this touring car racing platform a future success.

Leveraging their knowledge of the format the organisers’ have specified that cars are highly competent racing machines, that also look the part but, also importantly, strict cost controls have been implemented.
In fact the interest from car manufacturers, which started well before the series even took to the track for its first races at the end of March, demonstrates not just their confidence in the format but that TCR is just what motorsport has been waiting for.

Khun David is quick to point out that they have put the racecar concept at the core of the global TCR platform to ensure cost effectiveness for competitors. “One of the key concepts of TCR is that you can use the same car to race anywhere in the world, so the car is eligible, the car is the same car,” he says.

“This is why we were very careful selecting the tuners, which is either the manufacturer or a company authorised by the manufacturer to make the car and then they supply them globally.” That means a real market place will be created – especially relevant with the long running life of both the cars and their powertrain components.

“The cars are built to an identical standard and you can move between every championship so we will create a market where you can sell secondhand cars to another championship. So we’ll be relevant to drivers in national championships who don’t have quite so much budget but will be able to buy cars on the secondhand market.”
The ‘blueprint’ for this new generation of racecars has been very well thought out, the organisers using their knowledge of touring car racing to come up with a formula that will carefully control costs. “We have a guide price, which is 70,000-90,000 euros,” says Khun David.

“We don’t really have a solid cap, but market forces will determine that no one can really step outside that. We are encouraging people to make cars for that [price] and everybody is doing so. The idea is volumes so the manufacturers competing against each other [for sales] is also a kind of cost control. So from that point of view we are very determined to keep a lid on that and make sure the cars continue to be affordable.”

That cost control will expand beyond the main product to the supporting structure for component supply. “Beyond that things like spare parts will also be competitive,” Khun David notes. “People have been saying that it will be expensive as you can’t make them locally but because of the global market there will be volumes and by producing volumes you get prices that are way cheaper than producing one-offs or small volumes wherever you make them.
“So there are a lot of savings to be made, for instance if you buy the complete engine for the SEAT [Leon Cup Car] with all the peripherals, you are talking about under 9,000 euros and the engine should last easily two or three seasons,” he continues.

“There was a Leon Cup Car that won the [SEAT] World Final a couple of years ago that had done 45,000 kilometres. I’m not suggesting every car will do that, but the engines aren’t stressed, they’re production engines built for a long life and the idea is that a lot of parts on the car are production or they are designed to be cost effective, there is nothing really expensive on the car. All the manufacturers have gone about building cars with this in mind.

“And so we are getting very good performance from a very cost effective package with very low running costs,” Khun David adds. “[TCR CEO] Marcello [Lotti] likes to use the expression that after each race you just need to wash the car and it’s not much of an exaggeration, you are just talking about brake pads and consumables, beyond that the car should run without problems.”
The clock is ticking down fast. Already TCR International Series is up and running, and, significantly, several of its events are supporting F1 Grands Prix this year. Meanwhile TCR Asia Series kicks off next month and, in a big coup, it has replaced the FIA World Touring Car Championship at the Macau Grand Prix. At the same time TCR Thailand is steadily building towards its 2016 launch.

Importantly though, TCR International Series and TCR Asia Series will jointly head to Buriram later this year and that’s going to put the concept right in the shop window for interested Thai teams and drivers. Khun David explains that they plan to take full advantage of the presence of the Asia series.

“In October we will bring both the Asian and the International championship here so were planning to do promotions around that in partnership with Khun [Paritat] and Racing Spirit,” he reveals. “So I think we can offer very good opportunities for people to get up close and touch and feel and drive and do whatever they need to do.”
Finally, Khun David admits that he’s confident that with the TCR concept they’re onto a winner. “There is very good response already and people recognise what we are trying to do,” he notes.

“I’ve never had a championship in the 20 years I’ve been doing this where there has been so much interest on the ground so quickly and I have people approach me everywhere about this so were very encouraged by the response and I think we are onto a good thing.

We need a bit of time to develop as we need manufacturers to get up to speed, to develop cars, but it’s all moving in the right direction so we’re very happy with where we are at the moment.”

Paul takes a big bite at Super Car


This year Khun Paul Kanjanapas has been stepping up the gears; he’s undertaking a full season in Super Car Class 2-GTM in his familiar #60 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup which is in the hands of a new support team in the garage that has been put together over the winter. Driver and team have moved forward together.

Certainly in the quick gentleman driver category, Khun Paul has been making steady progress with his career and that trend has continued into this year as he improved his personal best laptimes in Buriram during the opening rounds in May and that was also after he had come to the track for a couple of days of pre-season testing.

Those efforts certainly paid off as he scored championship points in both races in the North East and with a full year in the cockpit ahead that should also give him valuable track time after a couple of intermittent seasons of racing.

The Porsche is also wearing new colours this year, a striking blend of pink and black. That’s because Dunkin’ Donuts, which has been supporting Khun Paul’s racing for a few years now, has stepped up it’s involvement to take over as the team’s title sponsor.

Last weekend Dunkin’ Donuts Painkiller Racing enjoyed its official public launch, which took place at The Nine, an upscale mall located in Bangkok’s Rama 9 district. The Porsche was displayed over a full week at the mall and attracted non-stop attention from shoppers who were able to pose with the car due to its accessibility.

During the team’s official preview, Khun Nadim Salhani, CEO of MudMan Group, which operates the Dunkin’ Donuts brand in Thailand, was present. He explained that it had been logical for them to raise their support for Painkiller Racing in Super Car Class 2-GTM this year as they already had a growing working relationship.

So when the opportunity to title sponsor the #60 Porsche in Super Car Class 2-GTM arose it clearly presented opportunities to be explored. “So we thought number one was that it’s good to continue the relationship, and number two, it’s interesting to get a new channel of business for us,” said Khun Nadim.

“It’s an untapped channel of business for us, so when we started the racing, I think it’s the third or fourth year now, we found out we get a lot of PR out of this, so it’s interesting to us, it’s well spent marketing funds for us,” he added.

The promotional opportunities offered by the TSS platform, Thailand’s biggest, most professional and most glamorous motorsport championship, fits very well with the direction being taken by Dunkin’ Donuts. That’s one of constant evolution, explained Khun Nadim.
“Definitely, that’s what we’ve been trying to do for the last six years, to keep upgrading the brand,” he said. “So this is a channel of business where you have a specific market segment and it’s related to new projects coming up in the future and we will upgrade and have some new products so it fits everything that we’re trying to do for the future.”

So expect to see the eye catching pink-and-black #60 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup commanding plenty of attention both on and off the track this year as in the latter category it will make further promotional appearances for its title sponsor.

No bumpy ride

Following in the wake of the state-of-the-art European racecars coming into Super Car is a broad based supporting structure that brings with it knowledge and experience of every area of these advanced machines as local teams race to extract their full potential in the pursuit of victory.

One company with a perch in the global motorsport support structure is U.S.-based suspension specialist, Motion Control Systems (MCS), and Khun Jerome van Gool, President of Worldwide Operations, has become a regular, if low-key, member of the TSS paddock over the last couple of seasons.

During the 2015 season opener in Buriram back in May, where he was supporting the Ferraris of Khun Voravud Bhirombhakdi and Khun Kantasak Kusiri as well as the Porsche of Khun Aekarat Discharoen, Khun Jerome explained that his introduction to TSS actually came about through Singha Motorsport Team Thailand race engineer Khun Don Chiewcharnvlichkij, who has since become responsible for MCS activities in Thailand.

 “Our agent here is Don and I met him ten years ago and one day he called me and said I think you should come to Thailand most people think we drive elephants here but times are changing,” he said.
“So I decided one day to come here and Don showed me around and I was pretty impressed with what’s going on with TSS so since then I try to come over more often,” he continued. “You can see how things are developing, so I’m working very closely with Don and trying to support the teams and our operation as we try to develop and with the setting up a service centre over here so everything can be rebuilt and repaired [locally].”

Khun Jerome explains the scope of MCS and how he fits into the TSS paddock. “We build shock absorbers and we have several versions, two way three way, adjustable with reservoir, without reservoir,” says the Dutchman.

“Basically it’s a complete suspension system so we can combine it for Bangsaen where it’s really bumpy and over here [in Buriram] it’s really flat so the same damper can handle a wide range of surfaces and a wide range of springs. I’m here trying to help people if there are handling problems, trying to teach them what to do and how to improve.”

He also reckons that as the Super Car category continues to grow in every area there are varied supporting requirements as teams are developing at different paces. “You can see that there are some difference in the teams, some are already more developed, have a better understanding about vehicle dynamics and handling in general,” he says.

“Some teams have the engineers and can do it themselves so I’m really here if they have questions to help, while other teams they really need to understand the basic things, so it all depends what they need.”

The rapid growth of TSS and the robust motorsports platform it provides is now opening up the opportunity for support industry companies to start looking at establishing bases in the region and that’s the same story for MCS.

“The next step is to have an Asian location over here with an operation, so that’s planned for this year,” Khun Jerome adds.


- Edd Ellison, photos TSS


04.07.2015 / MaP

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  Photo caption:  Audi Q7 e-tron 3.0 TDI quattro       Three Audi presentations on innovations in drive technology    Focus on e-tron drive and world premiere of the new 2.0 T more >>
Latin Auto Parts Expo in Panama June 2015
The LATIN AUTO PARTS EXPO (June 18-20, 2015) in Panama, Rep. of Panama is over 95% sold with more than 340+ companies!   The U.S. Department of Commerce recently granted Trade Fair Certif more >>
Opel und GM sagen 500 Millionen Mal Danke
Besonderes Jubiläum: Photo:  Stolze Zahl: Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann spricht auf der Feierstunde zu 500 Millionen bei GM gebauten Fahrzeugen – 68 Millionen davon made by Opel.•    Ei more >>
Lotus Cars erweitert einzigartiges Portfolio der Dörr Group in Frankfurt und Stuttgart
Zu McLaren und Lamborghini an den Standorten Frankfurt, Stuttgart und München kommt ab sofort die britische Marke Lotus hinzu und schafft einen optimalen Einstieg in die Klasse der Supersportwagen•    Nicole Kösters und Andrew Skey fun more >>
Gary Paffett takes on ambassadorial role for Laureus Sport for Good Foundation
    Mercedes-AMG DTM driver Gary Paffett to support the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation as one of its ambassadors    Gary Paffett: “I am very proud to have been nominated as a more >>
Lotus validates Evora 400 at Hethel
•        Hethel Lap Time of 1:32 (six seconds faster than previous Evora S)•        Increased power, reduced weight and improved handling contribute to faster lap time more >>
Rolls-Royce Technology and Logistics Centre on track for successful launch
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars confirmed today that construction of the company’s new Technology and Logistics Centre at Bognor Regis, close to the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood, West Sussex, is well underway and on track for a successful launch in early 2016. In c more >>
BMW Performance Center to contest the 2015 One Lap Of America with new BMW X6 M.
BMW Performance Center X6M One Lap of America 2015. The BMW Performance Center, with partners BMW Manufacturing, BMW Performance Parts and IHG Rewards Club today announced that it will compete in the 2015 One Lap of America with the all-new 567 more >>
YOKOHAMA auf der Tuning World Bodensee
Neuer Zentralstand bietet Information und InteraktionVom ersten Tag der Tuning World Bodensee an ist YOKOHAMA als Partner und Aussteller fester Bestandteil des Messegeschehens. Vom 30. April bis zum 3. Ma more >>
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