11 Jan 2021 Incidents aplenty as TORO Racing #7 takes Circuit Hero 700km Endurance Race win comfortably
On 9-10 January, Circuit Hero 700km Endurance Race is held at Zhuhai International Circuit. The race is incident filled and in the end, TORO Racing #7 Eric Zang/Mak Hu Kong team takes overall victory by a comfortable margin.
In the qualifying session held on 9 January, TORO Racing #27 managed a 1:41.695 lap time to take pole position. At 12 pm on 10 January, Circuit Hero 700km Endurance Race officially begins with 22 cars taking part. The race utilizes a rolling start. All race cars get through T1 safetly, #27 is overtaken by sister car #7 and loses its advantage. The lead group are running tightly together, fight over the top 3 positions.
On lap 2, #56 goes off into the gravel at T11, prompting the use of the safety car. Under the safety car, #3 catches fire and it has to stop at the pit lane entrance, while #55 loses control and goes into the gravel at T12.
3 laps later the safety car returns to the pit lane, the race is resumed. #18 goes off into the gravel at T14, the race officials show the yellow flag but the race continues. At this time the top 2 are still fighting fiercely and the gap is just 0.471 second. #68 and #8, running second and third in class A, are also fighting. On lap 12, the top 2 overall have formed a lead group, exchanging the lead at T7 and T9. At the end #7 takes the provisional lead.
On lap 26, the race arrives at the 1 hour mark and the driver change window. All the teams begin to go through the refuel and driver change process. #31 and #99 take their drive through penalties. After 7 laps, the order after the pit stops are becoming steady. The order of the top 3 have changed, they are #27, #7 and #8. #81 and #68 have dropped to second and third in class A. At this time #88 stops by the left side of the track at T5. The race officials show the yellow flag and deploy the safety car. 6 minutes later the race is resumed.
On lap 42, class C leader #22 pits. After that #33 gets ahead. #31 has not taken its drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane and therefore a 60 seconds penalty will be added to its race time, while #48 is also given a drive through penalty. 5 laps later, the teams begin another round of driver changes. At this time #88 stops at T7 due to mechanical problems, the race officials send out the safety car again. The race resumes 6 minutes later.
On lap 64, #8 suffers a left front tyre puncture and drives back to the pits for a tyre change, sadly losing its class A lead.#68 takes over the class lead and third overall. 4 laps later, #18 goes off into the gravel at T4, then #88 stops at the T10 corner exit. #99 is unable to avoid it and hits it in the back. The safety car is deployed once again.
12 minutes later the race resumes, by now the race has reached half distance, all the teams compete for the class win once again. The top 2 overall, #27 and #7 are running nose to tail, #68 has a tight grip on third place overall. Soon all the teams go through their third refueling and driver change processes.
At 3pm, the race has reached 84 laps. #3 runs into the gravel trap, the race officials show the yellow flag. At this time #27, #7 and #68 are the top 3 overall. In class A, #8 keeps pushing and tries to put pressure on #81. They finally moves ahead and takes second place in class A. But they are still a lap behind #68.
On lap 110, #97 goes off into the T9 gravel. Once more yellow flags are shown. By now there is no doubt the top 2 overall are #27 and #7. #68 enters the pit lane for a driver change, while #8 makes a pass and moves up to 1st place in class A, but soon it goes into the gravel at T9, forfeiting its hard earned position.
In the final hour, #27 spends too long in the pits and is overtaken by #7, losing the overall lead. In class C, #55 begins to close in on #33, the two are going into final battle for the class win. In class A, #8 is back in the pits for repairs and sadly out of contention for a podium finish. In the end, TORO Racing #7 Eric Zang/Mak Hui-Kong takes the overall victory with 151 laps completed. Their teammate #27 Chen Zhuan-Cheng/Deng Zhi-Bin, Xing-Hai TPR Racing #68 Wu Wen-Fa/Lv Zheng-Ming/Huang Zi-Jun are second and third respectively.
Top 3 of all classes
In the various classes, the top 3 in class A are Xing-Hai TPR Racing #68 Wu Wen-Fa/Lv Zheng-Ming/Huang Zi-Jun, NewFaster Racing #81 Lai Jing-Wen/Huang Chu Han and Rubber Craft Champ Motorsports #97 Pu Shu/Liu Han-Qing/Gong Wei. Class B top 3 are PCT Racing #66 Hu Jia-Xin/Wang Wen-Bin/Ou Yang Zhen-Wei/Huang Zhi-Cong, PCT Racing #77 Zhang Han-Biao/Deng Bao-Wei/Jiang Wei/Li Xiao-Wei, Tianshi Racing #18 Liu Hui/Guo Hai-Sheng/Liang Xiao-Ming/Wang Jia-Wen. Class C top 3 are PCT Racing #55 Liang Xue-Bin/Feng Wei-Jun/Chen Cong-Wen/Chen Jian-Wei, #33 Huang Tao/Lai Ying-Xi/Chen Da-Xing/Deng He-Song, Zijiren Racing #32 Ji Gang-Yi/Li Jing-Feng. Class D top 2 are TORO Racing #7 Eric Zang/Mak Hui-Kong, TORO Racing #27 Chen Chuan-Cheng/Deng Zhi-Bin.
Post Race Interviews
After the race, overall race winner TORO Racing #7 team said, “This is motor racing, teammates competing with each other. Our team has been rather lucky, we were not much affected by the safety car. Overall, the strategy was successful. We are very happy to have won.”
Class A winner Xing Hai TPR Racing #68 team says, “Overall we felt good, we are not tired after the race. The team and the drivers gelled together well. Apart from the wrong choice of tyres for the first stint, we ran smoothly for the rest of the race and in our own rhythm. We were very happy.”
Class B winner PCT Racing #66 team said, “10 minutes before the race it was still quite chaotic, but we managed to avoid the accidents, the car and the drivers had no problems. We have had a lot of fun over the whole weekend.”
Class C winner PCT Racing #55 said, “We took the win at the last minute, it was great and very exciting. The teammates worked well together, the team gave us very good support. We would like to thank Zhuhai International Circuit for letting us take part in such a good race. We are very happy to win our class.”