It was an incredible weekend in Singapore as Formula 1 returned to the nation after a 2-year break. The Singapore Grand Prix also staged the first ever GT3 race to be held around the iconic Marina Bay Street Circuit, an invitational non-championship round of TSS The Super Series. Despite constantly changing conditions, Craft-Bamboo Racing celebrated a podium in Race 1 and just missed out in Race 2 of TSS The Super Series with Darryl O’Young powering his #99 Mercedes-AMG GT3 to take P2 and P4 overall in the races respectively. Jeffrey Lee in the #88 Mercedes-AMG had a difficult Race 1, finishing P19 and P11 in Race 2.
The weekend started strong for the team, with both cars within the top 4 in the first and only 30-minute Practice session of the event. The Qualifying session was more challenging for Lee in his J-Fly Racing liveried Mercedes-AMG GT3, being blocked by slower moving cars from other classes eventually ending up with the 8th fastest time of the GT3s. O’Young matched his position from Practice to secure a place on the front row for Race 1 in P2.
Saturday was a challenging day for all teams, with heavy showers all morning. The rain subsided right before the race, leaving a damp but quickly drying track and putting the teams in a predicament, not knowing whether to opt for the dry tires or the wet tires. The team decided to start both cars on the slicks, which seemed like the unanimous choice. The 25-minute race started behind the Safety Car. Lee came into the box to put on the wet tires but was held up at the pit exit, dropping him an entire lap behind the field. Meanwhile, O’Young had a punchy start, immediately putting pressure on the leader and passing him on the first lap of green flag running. He held the lead for half race distance, before a chasing car on the wet tires quickly showed to the rest of the field that the track was still too slippery for the slicks and passed the Hong Kong driver. A late Safety Car neutralized the gap, leaving only 2 laps at the end, however the slick tire runners failed to match the speed of the leading car. O’Young eventually finished in P2, while Lee came home in P19 after battling hard after a difficult start.
Sunday brought clear sunny skies, and the grid was all set for Race 2 with the running order being decided by the fastest laps in Race 1. Lee was starting in P6 with O’Young in P4. The start of the race was very close with the top running within 2 seconds of each other. O’Young quickly put himself in P3 while Lee applied pressure to the Audi in P5. Lee managed to eventually make the pass promoting himself to P5. Meanwhile, O’Young put himself in P2 momentarily before dropping back down to P3 due to damage to his #99 Mercedes-AMG. Struggling to maintain pace, he was eventually passed again and ended the race in P4. Lee was handed a late penalty which demoted him from P5 to P11.
Overall, it was a tough weekend for the team, faced with uncertain weather conditions and limited track time, but the Hong Kong team came away with a podium. Craft-Bamboo Racing thanks TSS The Super Series for organizing the first ever GT3 race in the Lion City. We would also like to thank our partners J-Fly Racing, Z-Challenger, CarGaia, Rev to Vertex, Tarmac Works, MPlus Live, Hong Kong Asia Medical Group, Evisu, Kaze, FreeM and Gravity Partnership for their continued support.
Darryl O’Young | Driver, #99 Mercedes-AMG GT3
“It’s been a fun weekend here in Singapore. We had a bit of everything – a dry race and a wet race. It’s been a challenge with the limited sessions especially because our team is learning about the new tires. The first race was a tough one since we had to take a call on the tire choice and we chose the wrong one so that cost us the win. It’s unfortunate but at the same time it was a 50-50 gamble. Race 2 was a more complicated race for me. We had great pace early and we were fighting, even got into second but then we started having some issues. Not entirely sure what it is at this stage but we will investigate further. We were struggling to hold the pace and we just missed out on the podium. Overall, I’m really happy to compete here in Singapore.”
Jeffrey Lee | Driver, #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3
“It was a very challenging weekend for me. Both races I felt like I had the pace but was struggling to make inroads due to the tight nature of the circuit causing me to be stuck behind some cars. We made an early gamble in Race 1 that didn’t pay off and I dropped to the back of the grid. In Race 2, we finished P5 on track but received a late penalty due to unavoidable circumstances and ended up in P11. Overall, a tough weekend.”