AP: Champion gets call for Porsche Supercup

Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia Champion gets VIP Call Up for Porsche Michelin Supercup Reigning Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia champion, Matthew Marsh of Hong Kong, has been invited by the organisers to compete as a VIP driver in the ...

Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia Champion gets VIP Call Up for Porsche Michelin Supercup

Reigning Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia champion, Matthew Marsh of Hong Kong, has been invited by the organisers to compete as a VIP driver in the Monaco round of the Porsche Michelin Supercup, a support race to the Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend on May 21.

The invitation to the winner of Asia's premier sportscar series, extended as a reward for clinching the title, is testament to the high regard in which it is viewed in European racing circles, and is just one example of the countless opportunities Porsche can provide to Asian drivers.

Commented Christer Ekberg, Managing Director of Porsche Asia Pacific: "The invitation to our reigning Asian champion to take part in such a prestigious European race is a result of the close co-operation between the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia and the Porsche Michelin Supercup. We are sure that Matthew will be a credit to Asian motorsport and demonstrate the high standard of professional racing which is the hallmark of our series. The invitation is just one illustration of how Porsche can help drivers in Asia realize their aspirations anywhere in the world."

The Monaco outing will make Marsh the first Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia driver to get a taste of the exciting new 911 GT3 Cup (Type 997) racing machine, which was adopted by the Porsche Michelin Supercup at the start of this season but will not be seen in Asia until 2006.

Now in its 13th year, the Porsche Michelin Supercup is a regular support race to the European and U.S. Formula 1 rounds, and includes some of the most accomplished international sportscar drivers in the world today, such as four-time Porsche Supercup Champion and 2000 Macau Grand Prix Guia Race winner Patrick Huisman, and British Porsche Carrera Cup Champion Richard Westbrook.

At each of the 12 rounds of the series, Porsche invites journalists, motorsport personalities and other celebrities to take up the challenge in the two VIP cars against the Supercup specialists. Former Formula 1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen competed in two races in 1993, winning both, while Ralf Schumacher, Eddie Irvine, and former World Rally Champion Ari Vatanen have all tried their luck in the series. For the Monaco round, Marsh will be joined by Porsche Cup winner Stephane Ortelli in the second VIP car.

Similarly, the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia has seen several famous names join the highly-competitive field for VIP appearances. Hong Kong celebrity Aaron Kwok, Taiwanese actor and singer Jimmy Lin, XGames hero Travis Pastrana, former Formula 1 pilot Alex Yoong of Malaysia, China's most accomplished lady driver Rose Tan, and Hong Kong Formula 1 hopeful Marchy Lee, have all tried their hands at beating Asia's finest.

Marsh, 36, began racing in 1987, and has competed in a variety of categories including single seater, touring, saloon as well as sports cars. His experience around Macau's notorious Guia street circuit, on which he has raced several times since 1997, should come in useful when he takes to Monaco's famous and equally-unforgiving streets for the 16-lap race. Since its launch in 2003, the final round of the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia has been held in Macau -- often referred to as the "Monaco of the Far East" - and last year Marsh's podium finish there clinched the championship title for him.

Marsh has recently announced an ambitious campaign to put together a Hong Kong team for next year's Le Mans 24 Hours. The team, Noble Group-GruppeM Racing, intends to run a Porsche GT3 RSR in the legendary event, and an announcement on co-drivers is expected this month.

The 2005 Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia got underway as a support race to the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix in March, with Marsh taking victory, and this weekend returns to Sepang International Circuit for rounds 2 and 3 of the 11-round season. The series then travels to Thailand, China's capital Beijing, and South Korea before its second Formula 1 World Championship date in Shanghai for the Chinese Grand Prix, and the season grand finale in Macau.

The Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia field not only comprises some of Asia's most talented racers, such as 25-year-old Darryl O'Young of Hong Kong and Malaysia's Rizal Ramli, but also notable entries from Europe in the form of reigning British GT Champion, 18-year-old Jonathan Cocker and, making his second appearance in the series this season, British Formula 3 ace Danny Watts.

The series continues to attract enormous public and media attention across the Asian region and television coverage, which already runs in to hundreds of millions Asia-wide, was boosted further with the addition of a further 21 China broadcasters confirmed for the 2005 season, including China-wide CCTV5, Beijing TV, Shanghai TV and Guangdong TV.

Supporting the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia are two of the most recognised names in international motorsport, Mobil1 and Michelin. Mobil and Porsche have been partners since 1996. Close co-operation in research and development has to led to every new Porsche engine being filled with Mobil1 high-performance lubricant. Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia drivers also have the advantage of racing on cutting-edge tyres supplied by series partner Michelin. The consistent performance and leading technology of Michelin tyres constantly improve the performance of many teams in international motorsport. The partnership between Michelin and the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia has emerged from a worldwide agreement signed between Porsche AG and the Michelin group

The Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia runs as part of the Asian Festival of Speed, organised by Malaysian-based Motorsport Asia Limited.

About Infineon
Infineon Technologies AG, Munich, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions for automotive, industrial and multimarket sectors, for applications in communication, as well as memory products. With a global presence, Infineon operates through its subsidiaries in the US from San Jose, CA, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore and in Japan from Tokyo. In fiscal year 2004 (ending September), the company achieved sales of Euro 7.19 billion with about 35,600 employees worldwide. Infineon is listed on the DAX index of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX). Further information is available at www.infineon.com.

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Series Porsche
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Ralf Schumacher , Mika Hakkinen , Stéphane Ortelli , Alex Yoong , Patrick Huisman , Travis Pastrana , Rizal Ramli , Darryl O'Young , Jonathan Cocker , Matthew Marsh , Richard Westbrook , Marchy Lee , Aaron Kwok , Danny Watts