Round 3 of the MSS saw the Caterham 310R Asia race around Sepang for the first time in the Asia Classic Car Challenge, taking home two podiums. After many tests and demonstration runs during the year, Shirendra Lawrence from Sri Lanka had the honour of being the first driver to race the car that will make up the new Caterham 310R Asia series.
Starting from 7th in race one, Shirendra fought a tough race, making some exciting passing moves in the 140bhp machine, to cross the line for third position in class. Race two started on the same set of tyres which will be a staple requirement in the new Caterham 310R Asia Championship, with Shirendra storming off the line battling for third going into turn 1.
Being jostled out wide he had to settle for 5th before being hunted down by a fiercely fast Ian Geekie in a Datsun 240Z. The strength of the tyres and the reliability of the car enabled Shirendra to stay close to the front runners while pulling away from the cars behind. With two laps to go, one of the race leaders Simon Westbrook had to retire, giving Shirendra fourth place overall.
Driving a very solid race in the absurd heat with consistent laps within previous tests, Shirendra brought the Caterham home for third in class again. Shirendra was upbeat about the performance of the car. “First and foremost the car reliability was absolutely spot on. It didn’t miss a beat either through the first race or second, and we didn’t do any work in between either which meant the car had a consistent 45 minutes on track, which was really good.”
“As far as the second race went I had a better start and was able to move ahead of drivers I had battled in the first race which meant I had a little less pressure in the second race. But I managed to stay a lot closer to a couple of the faster cars in front of me, so that was fun. Car handling was impeccable and very, very good braking. I was able to comfortably pass the 100-metre mark before I braked, dropping down a few gears and turning in nice and crisp, so that made the driving a lot easier. It was a lot fun and a really good drive”.
Caterham Motorsport Asia CEO Campbell Tupling was very pleased with the race car’s first competition outing; “A big congratulations to Shirendra on scoring two podium positions. This weekend proved that the cars reliability is unquestionable and performed as expected, which means we are in for a very exciting series. To run consistently fast laps for the whole two races on the same set of tyres was very reassuring, and is further testament to affordability of the new series. We will be running the car in a few more races between now and the end of the year”.
The Caterham 310R Asia race car will be back in action for the MME, MSS and possibly the Sepang 1000 before starting the new championship in early 2015.