TUNG IMPRESSES AT NURBURGRING Chinese ace Tung Ho Pin remains hopeful of joining Hong Kong's pioneering Le Mans team after an impressive sports car debut alongside project leader Matthew Marsh today (Sunday). Dutch-born Tung - who has done all...
TUNG IMPRESSES AT NURBURGRING
Chinese ace Tung Ho Pin remains hopeful of joining Hong Kong's pioneering Le Mans team after an impressive sports car debut alongside project leader Matthew Marsh today (Sunday).
Dutch-born Tung - who has done all his racing to date in single seaters - put on a scintillating display in the Maserati Trofeo race at Nurburgring in Germany.
Co-driving with Marsh for the first time, the would-be Formula One star made the transition to sports cars look easy, powering through the field from 11th on the grid to sixth by the time he handed over the wheel to Marsh 40 minutes into the hour-long race.
Marsh, Hong Kong's most high-profile driver, experienced braking problems that saw him lose three places, but both men felt the eventual ninth-place finish was less important than the fact they had learned a lot about each other's driving.
"I really enjoyed the race," said Tung, a test driver for the Williams F1 team and currently racing in Formula 3 in Germany. "I had only done 15 laps in the car prior to today, so I was very happy with my performance. I was half a second quicker than in qualifying and my lap times were very consistent."
The Maserati race was a support event to the main race later in the day, the 1,000km of Nurburgring, in which Hong Kong's Le Mans team, Noble Group-GruppeM Racing - led by co-drivers Marsh and Darryl O'Young - were taking part.
That gave Tung, 22, the opportunity to meet team personnel and watch them in action with a view to working together in the future.
Noble Group-GruppeM Racing, who are hoping to race in the Le Mans 24 Hours next June, already have Marsh and O'Young signed up for six-hour races like the one at Nurburgring but need a third driver for 12 and 24-hour events.
"It's an interesting project and one I'd like to be involved in, if my schedule next year allows," said Tung. "In that respect, it's been very useful to have the co-drive with Matthew, to learn more about driving sports cars and to meet the team. We will see what happens."
Marsh, 36, added: "It was slightly disappointing to end up ninth because we felt we could have finished higher, but in terms of the Le Mans project - driving with Ho Pin and introducing him to the team - the weekend's been a success. Hopefully we'll work together again."
Noble Group-GruppeM Racing are bidding to become the first Hong Kong team to take part at Le Mans, the world's greatest sports car race. Their Porsche GT3 RSR is owned and sponsored by SAR companies and both British-born Marsh and Chinese-Canadian O'Young are Hong Kong residents.