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three reasons the porsche carrera cup asia is how you race like a sir

Three reasons the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia is how you race like a sir

Gentlemen, start your engines… and your adrenaline

Dinesh Appavu Photo

Dinesh Appavu

13 Apr 2018

What’s the one thing we picked up on watching the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia 911s whizz by against the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo race that followed? The 911s were a smidgen faster.

Yes, we know that’s a cheap shot because the Carrera Cup cars are more extensively engineered towards transforming them into proper racing machines while the Ferraris more closely resemble their road-going versions but with the necessary safety additions for a professional racing series because motorsports is dangerous and although going out behind the wheel in a blaze of glory is nice to tell the grandkids about, we rather you wouldn’t; given a choice.

Porsche’s Carrera Cup series was first held in Malaysia as the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (PCCA) in 2003 and since then it’s unsurprisingly grown by leaps and bounds as the professionalism of the series has attracted gentlemen racers from around the region and beyond to dip their toes in the world of professional racing.

What exactly is a “gentleman racer?” Well it mainly refers to car owners who maintained their cars themselves and amateur drivers who entered racing competitions with their own vehicles; unlike professional drivers hired by car manufacturers.

These days however, it applies to monetary disposition that allows them to throw their hat into the semi-professional racing series whose definition is increasingly blurred by the flurry of semi and professional drivers looking for a seat for the season.

PCCA has grown to be a support race for the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix since 2008 and we were given some time to explore the behind-the-scenes activities that goes into a double PCCA round that goes on during a Formula One weekend at Marina Bay.

Much like all one-make racing series’ the cars are identical with limited adjustments allowed. However, the difference with PCCA is the level of preparation that goes into the car for a truer racing experience.

The cars are identical Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars that are based on the 991-model 911 Porsche GT3; essentially the motorsport versions of said base model. Modifications were carried out in the aerodynamic and safety departments to adhere to the requirements.

Under the hood are 3.8-litre boxer-six engines good for 454hp primarily due to the freer-flowing, lightweight exhaust system that lets out some extra ponies for a total of 460hp at 7,500rpm.

Porsche Motorsport played a vital role in the design and development of the car. The six-speed dog-type transmission is their handiwork and delivers power to the race axle with a limited-slip differential via a competition clutch.

For the first time in a Porsche-make racecar, swapping cogs can be done via paddle shifters on the steering wheel; another Porsche Motorsports design. The rest of it I standard motorsports issue with centre-mount wheels and wider Michelin wheels that were stretched by 20mm at the front to 270mm and by 10mm at the rear to 310mm.

Braking is via vented and slotted steel rotors with aluminium six-piston calipers up front and four-piston units the aft.

Safety features include a new roll-cage design, bucket seats and an innovative rescue hatch in the roof for easy access and extraction.

Nonetheless, one-make racing series’ are plentiful but Porsche’s PCCA has managed to stand out above the rest and from just a couple of rounds during a weekend; the Singapore GP this particular time, it’s evident that when it comes to motorsports programmes and supporting efforts, Porsche has gone above and beyond.

So, after a round of rambling, we’re going to share the three things that impressed us during the PCCA round of the Singapore GP in 2017.

1. The Carreras are quicker than the Ferraris

Below the belt perhaps but as a paying, spectating fan of the race this is cardinal in your enjoyment of it. Faster cars do always equal more on-track action and the quality of racing is arguably one of the best you can catch short of the Formula One carnage.

We hate to say it but the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo doesn’t exactly put an emphasis on the “gentlemen’s” bit of the racing series as much as the professionalism exuded during the PCCA.

Support races do unfortunately come across as time-killers but to build up the hype you can’t do any better than the PCCA before a Formula One round.

2. Dogfights

Some classic dogfights are the best that PCCA dishes up. As the saying goes, “ If you ain’t rubbing, you ain’t racing” and this is where they serve up a healthy dose. Wheel-to-wheel racing and some exchanging of paint is all in a day’s work here and the driver’s knowing how t handle themselves is part of the spectacular spectating.

3. Cheering some local heroes

Neil Akash Nandy. Remember the name. He’s a Malaysian that’s been making waves in the PCCA and has dabbled in a plethora of racing series’ within the region.

He’s been behind the wheel of Formula Three cars. Formula Masters China Series, Formula Pilota, JK Racing Asia Series and the Rotax Max Challenge karting series.

The next logical step is tin-top racing and PCCA is the obvious choice to hone his skills.