Tag Archives: Porsche GT3 Cup

Porsche GT3 Cup

Lechner sees bright future for Porsche GT3 Cup series after new three-year deal

Dubai. Walter Lechner, the driving force behind the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, is confident that the 12-round championship will go from strength to strength after signing a new three-year agreement to run the region’s headline race series.

The Austrian former racing star and head of Lechner Racing, who manages the one-make series on behalf of Porsche Middle East and Africa, said today: “I see a very bright future.”

“We’ve just signed a new agreement with Porsche Middle East and Africa to run the championship for another three years and I believe it will get stronger in the years ahead.

“We have a very good formula which appeals to drivers, particularly the arrive and drive nature of the series which allows competitors to compete at a very high, professional level, without taking up an enormous amount of their time.

“That’s very important as most of our drivers have jobs or run companies, and have a limited amount of time to devote to their passion for motor sport.”

Lechner added: “The GT3 Cup Challenge will remain attractive because it brings the best out of the drivers. As all the cars are identical, equally well-prepared GT3 Cup cars, the emphasis is on driver skill, with no-one having the advantage of a faster, superior vehicle”.

With the fourth season scheduled to start in November in Bahrain, Lechner is looking to attract more of the best young Arab drivers who will have opportunities to try out a GT3 Cup car at the home of the Middle East’s first F1 Grand Prix.

He says: “Just before the start of the new season we’ll be holding a number of track days at Bahrain International Circuit. We’re looking forward to welcoming some new faces who will have the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a GT3 Cup car for the first time, and we hope some will enter the championship.

“We’ve set a very high professional standard in the way the series is run. This is something that attracts drivers who want to compete at the highest level in the region, and gain the experience they need to go further in international GT and sports car racing.

“The series has also been promoted very professionally and the exposure it enjoys makes it stand out above other regional championships and attract the attention of drivers.

“We are very open to meet people interested in joining the championship and help them in any way we can. They can test the GT3 Cup car, see what a fantastic racing machine it is, and meet the current drivers in the championship as well as our mechanics and technicians.”

Lechner was lured to motor racing in the 1970s by the exploits of Jochen Rindt, the German driver who represented Austria throughout his career. Rindt is the only man to posthumously win the Formula One World Championship after being tragically killed in practice for the Italian Grand Prix in 1970.

As a racing driver Lechner won the European Formula Ford championship in 1979 and six

Interserie Sportscar European titles, and says racing the famous Porsche 956 and 962

Group C sportscars was the highlight of his career which ended in 1996.

By then he had already set up the Lechner Racing School, as well as the Lechner Racing team which has contested the Porsche Supercup Series since 2003, collecting countless race victories and four team titles

Motorsports Mondial

Abdulaziz treats Qatar to Porsche GT3 Cup champion’s display 

Doha.  The title race in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East has one more leg to run later this month, but Abdulaziz Al Faisal looks every inch a champion after proving again in Qatar that he is the man for the big occasion.

He made history as the first ever Porsche GT3 Cup race winner when the series was launched in Bahrain in December 2009, and his latest success, under the brilliant lights of Losail International Circuit, was equally significant.

It marked another milestone for the Porsche one-make series which has now united all five of the region’s top race circuits, having already become a familiar attraction in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain and Reem, Saudi Arabia.

The addition of Losail to the championship circuit has given it another dimension, creating a spectacular night time stage for the Porsche GT3 Cup Cars, a  record 18 of which went into dramatic action in Friday’s night’s Round 9 of the 2011-12 season.

It was the series’ first ever night race, and if any further proof was needed that the Porsche GT3 Cup is the pace setter in Middle East motor racing it was spotlighted at the impressive Losail circuit in the desert outside Doha.

This was GT racing at its best, as Nasser Khalifa Al Attiyah, President of Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation, became the latest senior Middle East motor racing official to acclaim the Porsche GT3 Cup series.

“It is very exciting and professional, and I hope we will have a long partnership with the Porsche GT3 Cup,” said Al Attiyah.

From the start of Round 9 there was drama, as triple race winner Clemens Schmid made a disastrous start from pole position, dropping to fifth place by the time he reached the first corner.

There were no such problems for Abdulaziz who powered his way ahead and produced an immaculate drive en route to his fourth victory of the season, his 19th GT3 Cup win overall, and a 24-point championship lead over Bandar Alesayi who could manage only fifth place.

Schmid had an eventful race, eventually winning a personal battle with Abdulaziz’s Saudi team-mate, Saeed Al Mouri, to claim second position. He was followed by the UAE’s jubilant Karim Al Azhari, marking only his third appearance in the series with Dubai’s Al Nabooda Racing by getting past Al Mouri on the final corner to record his first podium finish.

Fittingly, there were celebrations also for the host country, as Saadon Al Kuwari came out on top in the intermediate class Michelin Silver Trophy while fellow-Qatari Abdul Rahman Al Thani headed the bronze category Mobil 1 Trophy standings on his GT3 Cup debut.

Veteran Al Kuwari danced with delight on the podium and sang his country’s national anthem with pride. He now has one hand on the silver title ahead of Round 10 tonight (Saturday) at Losail, and the remaining two rounds on March 30-31 at Bahrain International Circuit. Meanwhile, at the age of 20 and in only his first race season, Al Thani already has the look of a future champion.

F1Weekly podcast # 542

Schools award top marks for drive to teach children road rules

Dubai. School heads and teachers in Dubai have given top marks to a new programme that teaches hundreds of children about the importance of road safety.

The Porsche Kids Driving School – an inititiave from Porsche Centre Dubai, Al Nabooda Automobiles – has visited eight Dubai schools in the last two months, raising children’s awareness of road rules, traffic signs and safety.

School Principals say the plan to build lasting awareness of road rules among five to eight-year olds is a vital part of their education, and can influence parents, as well as future drivers.

“The children will, without doubt, become more aware of the possible dangers on the roads, as well as understanding more about the rules of the road and what particular signs mean,” said Chris McDermott, Principal and CEO at Jumeirah Primary School.

 “It’s an excellent idea, an extremely worthwhile initiative, as well as being lots of fun for the children. They really enjoyed it. They learnt a lot and really seemed very enthusiastic.

Added McDermott: “What we learn from the Porsche Kids Driving School is that you are never too young to develop a sense of road safety. The children discover that learning is fun, but road safety is a serious business.”

 “It is of absolute importance that children of this age are taught basic road rules and safety. Child safety and security is probably the most important issue that we, as adults caring for children, deal with.

FIA Vice President Mohammed Ben Sulayem gave his full backing to the programme after witnessing the response of children during a recent visit to Dubai National School in Al Barsha.

Omar Abo Lael, the school’s Head of Department for Activities, said: “It was a new experience for the kids, and they all got the chance to learn about different safety aspects on the roads, such as traffic signals and different safety elements of driving.

 “The idea is fantastic. Because it was so different and new for them, the children really absorbed all the information and were quite fascinated about the whole course.

 “As a parent of one of the children who took part, I can say the kids learnt a lot from the experience. My own child was constantly asking me questions or giving me advice on proper driving safety that night. He was constantly speaking about it, and that is why the programme is so unique.

 “To be able to instill proper driving safety culture at such a young age, even long before they can actually drive themselves, is a great thing.

 “It is a very important issue here at our school, because as a private school, we focus a lot on different safety topics, such as healthcare and food, and now driving is also a very crucial element of this.”

At the Porsche Kids Driving School programme, friendly instructors outline key traffic rules even youngsters should know, such as how to use a pedestrian crossing safely and how to react at the traffic

In the second part of the exercise, children get the chance to enjoy showing what they have learned while riding Porsche pedal cars on a mini track.

They also earn their first driver’s licence, and a few weeks later are tested by the schools on their knowledge to assess the programme’s effectiveness. As part of the programme they also enter a sketching competition to design the “Car of the future”.

Vijay Rao, General Manager at Porsche Centre Dubai, said: “We have had a tremendously encouraging response all round, from school heads and teachers, from the children, and from parents.

 “The Porsche Kids Driving School will be visiting more schools in Dubai and the Northern Emirates over the coming months, and depending on feedback and evaluation of test results, we hope that the programme can be developed into a long term initiative.“

 “It is one of our corporate social responsibility initiatives and the ultimate goal of the programme is to make better drivers for tomorrow. So we will be working hard to

develop it and enhance its effectiveness so that it has an increasingly positive effect on more and more schoolchildren.“


F1Weekly podcast # 541

Schmid tastes victory but Abdulaziz stretches lead in Porsche GT3 Cup title race

Abu Dhabi.  Austrian Clemens Schmid won Round 6 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at Yas Marina Circuit today after a great battle with Saudi Arabia’s Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal who extended his lead in the championship for the second day running.

Starting from pole position as he had done 24 hours earlier, Schmid immediately lost the lead in the race to the first corner and spent the next ten laps desperately trying to find a way past Prince Abdulaziz.

He finally made it with four of the 14 laps remaining and held on for a slender victory, although second place for the Saudi driver still saw him stretch his advantage in the title race to eight points over Bandar Alesayi who finished third.

Another Saudi, Saeed Al Mouri, took fourth place ahead of Belgian driver Stephane Lemeret who fought his up from the back of the field after spinning off on the first corner.

Swiss driver Armin Schmid just managed to hold off Saddon Al Kuwari to complete the top six, although the Qatari driver finished the race as the comfortable leader in the new Michelin Silver Trophy standings for the intermediate class.

Oman’s Ahmad Al Harthy went out of the race when he slid into a barrier on lap six in an incident which also saw Al Mouri spin out and lose third place to Alesayi.


Motorsports Mondial

Bandar sends warning to Porsche GT3 Cup title rivals

Abu Dhabi.  Title-chasing Bandar Alesayi has warned his rivals in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East that he is targeting a double race victory as the series returns to action at Yas Marina Circuit over the next two days.

The 12-round Porsche one-make series reaches the half way point in the 2011-12 season as the headline event in Abu Dhabi, and Alesayi plans an all-out attack in an effort to catch or overhaul the championship leader, fellow-Saudi Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal.

 “My target now is to win every race,” said Alesayi, who tasted victory on the same circuit during last month’s big Formula One weekend race programme and wants a double helping of the same in Round 5 tomorrow (Thursday) and 24 hours later in Round 6.

 “I’m definitely quicker this season. I’m driving with a lot more confidence and pushing the car to the limit. It’s all about experience really. As well as that, I had a long break in the summer and did a lot of thinking. This season I’m handling the car a lot better, braking later, and overall performing much better than I did last year.”

Pursuing a second Porsche GT3 Cup crown in three years, Prince Abdulaziz remains the title favourite but faces intense pressure this weekend from Alesayi, Oman’s Ahmad Al Harthy, Belgian Stephane Lemeret and Austrian Clemens Schmid.

After grabbing pole position for rounds 3 and 4 and winning the second race, Al Harthy is not content with third position in his first season in the series, while Lemeret is anxious to present Dubai-based Al Nabooda Racing with their first Porsche GT3 Cup victory.

Schmid is not contesting the championship in full but will be on the starting grid tomorrow (Thursday) looking for a repeat of his opening round success in Dubai last month.

 “We’ve got five drivers all capable of winning and there’s very little between us,” said Alesayi. “Qualifying will be crucial, but if you start from the front you can’t afford to make any mistakes.

 “Based on his performances over the last two years, Abdulaziz is the one to beat and he knows how to win. But we’re all at the same level and in every race now there is very little to separate the driver who wins and whoever finishes fifth.”

Competition is also expected to be tough in the Mobil 1 Trophy for drivers over 45, and Qatar’s Saddon Al Kuwari will be under growing pressure as he tries to carry his 100 per cent winning record through a third double race weekend.

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: GT3cup media

Abdulaziz cruises to Porsche GT3 Cup victory

Dubai.Saudi Arabia’s Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal scored a commanding victory in Round 2 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at Dubai Autodrome today to take the lead in the one-make series.

After claiming pole position by setting the fastest time in the morning qualifying session, Prince Anbdulaziz led from start to finish and eventually won by almost ten seconds from fellow-Saudi Bandar Alesayi.

Making his debut in the Porsche GT3 Cup series this season, Oman’s Ahmad Al Harthy grabbed the other podium position after Belgian driver Stephane Lemeret collected a time penalty for an infringement at the start, dropping him from second to fourth place.

Another Saudi driver, Saeed Al Mouri, and Austrian Andreas Mayerl, completed the top six.    Just as he did in the first round, Qatar’s Saadon Al Kuwari won the Mobil 1 Trophy for drivers over the age of 45 after finishing eighth overall.

The Porsche GT3 Cup series now moves on to the UAE capital next weekend for Rounds   3-4 which are part of the official race support programme for the 2011 Formula 1TM Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit.

Round 2 results

1. Abdulaziz Al Faisal (KSA) Saudi Falcons                          23:45.228

2. Bandar Alesayi (KSA) Alesayi Racing                               23:55.217

3. Ahmad Al Harthy (OM) Oman Air Racing                          23:55.475

4. Stephane Lemeret (UAE) Al Nabooda Racing                  24:04.072

5. Saeed Al Mouri KSA) Saudi Falcons                                 24:05.159

6. Andreas Mayerl (AUT)                                                     24:05.311

7. Mark Thomas (CAN)                                                        24:22.230

8. Saadon Al Kuwari (QA)                                                    24:35.177

9. Hannes Waimer (GER)                                                    24:49.007

10. Fawaz Algosaibi (KSA) ClassicArabia Racing                 24:49.257