This year the Pattaya based Unixx TR-Motorsport Racing team is competing in the highly competitive GTM Supercar Class, a major step up from last year’s GTC Class with more high-powered cars on the grid.
The team travelled to Malaysia for the first round of the Thailand Super Series 2018, scheduled for March 30 – April 1, and a very hot and humid Sepang Circuit greeted the team as they arrived early in the week to begin preparations.
With the new 2018 Porsche still being prepared in Bangkok, the team rented a 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car which was in prime in condition, but the team had no prior setup information to benchmark against nor did they have any experience racing this type of Porsche.
The first two races of the season were each one hour long with two team drivers for each race. TR-Motorsport hired New Zealander Shaun Varney to co-drive with team owner Thomas Raldorf, and as Shaun had not raced at Sepang before he was given the task of taking the car out for the first practice sessions on Thursday.
Friday’s sessions were shared between Varney and Raldorf who both struggled to find the best setup, and it wasn’t until the Saturday morning session that the improvements started to come.
Before the qualifying session, the team sat down with Porsche Academy driver and friend of TR-Motorsport, Will Bamber, who reviewed the onboard footage and gave his insight into where the drivers could improve and gain a few more tenths. The advice proved invaluable as the drivers set their best time with a 2.11:5, which was enough to secure fifth place on the grid for Race 1 and fourth on the grid for Race 2.
Varney took control of the Porsche for the opening stint in Race 1 and when the mandatory pit stop and driver change was over the team sat in fourth place, but quickly moved up to third as Raldorf began his charge around the 5.5km circuit.
The B-Quik Racing Porsche was in second place when it suffered a mechanical failure and retired from the race, moving the TR-Motorsport car into second place. The lead Toyota also had an unlucky first race as they were penalised twice for speeding in the pit lane, and after serving both penalties they were out of contention, leaving Raldorf with an open track ahead of him and a comfortable stroll across the finish line to take maximum points.
For Race 2 the team began in fourth and made a steady start, consolidating their position but due to the previous day’s success penalty time was added to the mandatory pit stop and driver change, which amounted to over two minutes that the Porsche had to remain stationary in the pits. This made a challenge for first place nigh on impossible but Varney, who was in the car for stint two, did not give up the chase and pushed all the way to bring the car home in a very commendable second place, just 0.3 seconds ahead of the B-Quik Racing Porsche in third.
It proved to be a great start to the new season for Unixx TR-Motorsport team who will be next on track for Round 2 of the Thailand Super Series at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram on the weekend of 2nd & 3rd June.
For more information visit website: www.tr-motorsport.com.