ASIAN FERRARI READY FOR BATHURST DEBUTASIAN GT CHAMPIONS Clearwater Racing might just be flying under the radar ahead of this weekend’s Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour, despite it being their first visit down under.
The Malaysian – Singaporean Ferrari outfit has assembled a talented driving squad and the latest and greatest Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 racer to tackle the race this weekend; but have barely been mentioned by the tipsters to be in the reckoning for an outright place.
But their driving line up and experience suggests otherwise.
Reigning Porsche City Index Carrera Cup Champion Craig Baird switches his allegiance from Porsche to Ferrari for one weekend, whilst reining Asian GT Champion Mok Weng Sung will make his Australian racing debut this weekend.
Baird is the most successful one-make Porsche racer in the world and a three-time Australian Carrera Cup Champion, whilst Mok Weng has built an impressive CV in his role as the team owner-driver.
Baird also won the Asian Carrera Cup title in 2010 with the Clearwater team – racing under its previous guise as Porsche Club Singapore Racing.
Completing the trio will be one of the best credentialed yet little-known drivers to make a start at Bathurst in factory Ferrari driver Matt Griffin.
The Irish driver is the only Ferrari-contracted GT3 driver in the world and is coming off the back of a strong win with the AF Corse’ Ferrari team at the recent Abu Dhabi 12 hour race held in early February.
Team Manager Arjunan Kulasegaram said the team was excited to be making their first visit to Bathurst.
“We are happy to be here, it is our first time in Australia, full stop. It’s one of the most extreme tracks around and we are happy to be here. As a team we have made a big investment in long distance racing and we plan to be here for years to come.”
Kulasegaram said that having Baird along for the ride gave the team more confidence heading into first practice, tomorrow morning.
“We wouldn’t do this without someone with Craig’s experience in the team because our other drivers have never raced here at all,” he explained.
“He will be a big help to the team and to the other drivers because he has so much experience. We try and get Craig involved in everything we do because he’s so good to have around.
“Matt (Griffin) is the factory Ferrari GT3 driver and is very, very good. Mok Weng is right at the very top of the drivers in Asian GT. He is very capable and together the three make a good team.”
Clearwater refuses to talk up their own stocks this weekend, however – preferring the approach of flying under the radar ahead of the big race.
“To be honest, if we finish in the top eight it will be a pleasure. Top five and I’ll be over the moon... and I think if we finish top three I’ll pass out! I wouldn’t believe it!” Arjunan joked.
“We are coming here for the experience this year and plan to be back next year; we’re in for the long haul.”
The 2012 Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour will be broadcast live on SPEED – with Australia’s only 24/7 Motorsport network set to show the closing 90 minutes of the race live. The entire race will also be streamed live on the internet to a global audience via the Event website.
For more information head to the all new website – www.bathurst12hour.com.au or www.24hseries.com, or follow the race on Facebook (facebook.com/Bathurst12hour) or twitter (@bathurst12hour or @24hseries).
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