Darryl O’Young and Peter Li Zhi Cong will join forces in Blancpain GT Series Asia this season aboard the first of Craft-Bamboo Racing’s two Porsche 911 GT3 Rs.
The Hong Kong-based squad announced its Blancpain GT Series Asia entries two weeks ago but this is the first time that either of its driver crews have been named.
The partnership looks to be a potent one given the success both drivers have achieved in their respective GT racing careers. O’Young claimed the GT Asia crown in 2015, has won the Macau Grand Prix GT race three times and has secured two Bathurst 12 Hour victories. Li, meanwhile, made his name by winning both the GT Asia and AAMC GT Cup titles in 2013.
Their #99 Porsche will feature a striking new take on the classic VLT livery O’Young’s entries are known for, with the a-symmetrical design and angular patterns accentuating the Porsche’s classic lines.
O’Young won the GT Asia crown with an Aston Martin GT3 in 2015 but could only finish 13th last season after the team switched to running 911s. Now, with a year of experience under his belt, the Hong Kong native is eager to mount a championship challenge once again.
“I am really pleased that VLT has continued their partnership with the team,” he said. “They have been very supportive over the past few years and having achieved the championship in 2015 we are looking to bounce back from a tough season and go for the championship again this year. Craft-Bamboo Racing has delivered a strong car and we believe that we have made a lot of progress with development since last year.
“Peter Li is a driver I have known for many years and he is a past champion in GT Asia, so we know he has the ability to drive well. With his experience over the last few years in Europe, I am sure he has gained a lot of confidence and I look forward to working with him. Having two Chinese drivers together is something special and we will be trying hard to achieve good results for Hong Kong and China.”
Following his successful GT career Li switched his attention to single-seaters. However, the Chinese driver suffered a huge accident while racing in European Formula 3 last season that ruled him out for the rest of the year. Now fully recovered, he’s feeling refreshed ahead of his return to the GT ranks.
“I feel confident making my return to racing with Craft-Bamboo Racing and Porsche,” he said. “I will be aiming to build up my speed again and will work hard to learn as much as possible early in the season.
“I have a very good feeling that the Porsche 911 GT3 R will be a strong competitor this season, so combined with the experience of the team, I can really put my focus on driving. I know that Craft-Bamboo Racing is a professional outfit and a perfect partner to make my return to GT racing in Asia. It’s going to be an exciting year and it’s a bonus to be able to partner up with an experienced and successful team-mate like Darryl O’Young.”
Craft-Bamboo Racing CEO Richard Coleman added: “It is great to have the support of VLT once again for this year’s Blancpain GT Series Asia, and we welcome new sponsor Fishers Village that join us through the support of Peter Li Zhi Cong. I believe that the pairing of O’Young and Li will be strong and give us a good shot at the drivers’ championship title. Both drivers come from a strong GT background in Porsches and are familiar with the circuits on the calendar, which should help to give the team an edge in performance.”
Craft-Bamboo will announce its second GT3 driver crew ahead of Blancpain GT Series Asia’s opening round at Sepang in Malaysia, which is taking place on April 8/9.
2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia Schedule
April 8/9 - Sepang, Malaysia
May 20/21 - Chang International Circuit, Thailand
June 24/25 - Suzuka, Japan
August 19/20 - Fuji Speedway, Japan
September 23/24 - Shanghai, China
October 21/22 - Zhejiang, China