They are the drivers with the longest way to travel to the TMG GT86 Cup: Arto Suttipong Smittachartch, president of the Toyota Racing Development in Thailand, and his team-mates Charoensukhawatana Nattavude and Hortongkam Nattapong enjoy the VLN and, above all, the Nordschleife challenge. After their debut in the second race this season, Toyota Team Thailand returns for round four, part of the 45th Adenauer ADAC Simfy Trophy on 17 May.
The GT86 CS-V3 race car for the three will again be operated by Leipert Motorsport from Mönchengladbach. On their debut at the Nürburgring in April, the Thai trio were not afraid of the ’Green Hell’ and drove their unfamiliar new car on this equally unfamiliar track well enough to finish eighth in class. “We were not the fastest team then, but as our drivers’ premiere on one of the toughest tracks on Earth it was a good performance,“ Ingo Leipert says.
But the experienced team boss was not really surprised: “At home, they drive GT3 racers and know how to drive a race car to the limit. On our debut, it was mostly about experience and familiarisation and crossing the finish line. Now we want to translate what we have learnt into fast lap times.” And his three drivers will drive a double shift of sorts too: the TMG GT86 CS-V3 car aside, Leipert Motorsport also uses a Toyota Corolla Altis in the SP3 class and this will be brought into action at the Nürburgring 24 Hours in June.
Toyota Team Thailand’s second start this season will, of course, takes place against the backdrop of an exciting fight for the top of the TMG GT86 Cup table. Three different winners in the first three races attest to a balanced field of drivers, as does the fact that none of these winning teams is in the overall lead. The best scorer yet has been the Toyota Swiss Racing Team, with one sixth and two seconds. Still, the Swiss lead only amounts to 0.66 points over Leutheuser Racing & Events, whose #545 car is driven by Jutta Beisiegel, Cup winner in 2013.
Nico Ehlert, Principal Engineer Customer Motorsport: “The field of drivers next weekend not only promises plenty of excitement but also shows how international the TMG GT86 Cup has become. With the British winners of the third race, Vantage Motorsport, and the leading Toyota Swiss Racing team and our Thai friends, the Cup is obviously popular on a global basis. This makes us at TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH very proud. In sporting terms, the revised GT86 CS-V3 has already exceeded our expectations, delivering better performance that has not only surprised us but the entire field. It still provides equal opportunities for all drivers, as you can tell from having had three different winners so far. All this promises a close and exciting fourth race of the TMG GT86 Cup.”
Interested teams and drivers will find detailed information on the TMG GT86 Cup, including the latest rules & regulations, at www.gt86-cup.com. Royalty-free, high-resolution images of the TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH and the TMG GT86 Cup can be found at: www.toyota-motorsport-photos.com (user name: TMGphotos / password: highperformance)