Craft-Bamboo Racing claims a commanding victory in Zhuhai after a faultless team effort all weekend. It began with a strong start to the practice sessions on Friday claiming P2 and P1. The #95 of James Winslow and Jake Parsons followed that up by delivering a P2 qualifying for Saturday’s opening race. Winslow was quick to gain the lead at the start of Race 1, and solid stints by both Winslow and Parsons during the race ensured that the victory was within grasp from the moment the flag dropped, with the #95 taking outright victory at the end.
The #96 car driven by Nathan Kumar and Neale Muston also showed good pace, working their way up through the time sheets with every session progressing. After a solid qualifying, the #96 crew found themselves starting the race in 8th. Kumar fought his way through the field, setting personal best times just before the driver change. Due to Kumar’s earlier efforts, the #96 car emerged in 2nd place after the stops. Muston then valiantly fought off tough competition from the faster Pro cars, using his experience to position his car perfectly to defend and managed to finish 6th overall, whilst taking a fine victory in the Am class. This gave Craft-Bamboo Racing two wins in two contested classes.
Unfortunately, the weekend’s activities had to be curtailed, with race 2 on Sunday being cancelled due to the inbound super typhoon Mangkhut, which threatened to put the safety of the event at risk.
Q1: James Winslow – P2 – 1:33:232
Q2: Jake Parsons – P7 – 1:33.423
Q1: Nathan Kumar – P8 – 1:35.345
Q2: Neale Muston – P8 – 1:34.592
#95 Ligier JS P3 [James Winslow and Jake Parsons]
After starting P2, Winslow made swift work of gaining the lead with a bold overtake for the lead into turn 1 on the opening lap, and thereafter sought to control the race from the front. Despite being hounded by the 2nd place competitor for most of his stint, Winslow soaked up the pressure up front and drove flawlessly, maintaining the gap as well as saving his tyres for the end of his stint. He then proceeded to punch in a string of fastest laps before diving into the pits to hand the car over to Parsons. When Parsons emerged from the pit-lane, it was clear that Winslow’s driving before the stop had paid dividends, giving the #95 an 8 second lead over 2nd place. Parsons then resumed status quo up front, setting consistent lap-times whilst preserving the tyres over his stint to maintain the gap of about 8 seconds till the fall of the chequered flag at the end. A fine showing of good teamwork and front-running pace for both drivers; Winslow showed his consistency and ability throughout the weekend and newcomer Jake Parsons adapted well to a new car and drove impeccably whilst soaking up information from his more experienced teammate. Winslow moves up the drivers’ standings in the 2018 FRD LMP3 China Endurance Series to 4th, 31 points behind the leader with 2 races to go.
#96 Ligier JS P3 [Nathan Kumar and Neale Muston]
Starting from 8th on the grid meant that the #96 was always going to be in the mix with the other cars funnelling into turn 1. The ensuing scrap with the competitors around him resulted in Nathan Kumar being bundled down to the back of the field. After pushing hard to regain the positions lost, Kumar battled his way through the slower traffic and pitted with just over 25 minutes to go in the race. When Neale Muston took over driving duties, he came out of the pit in P2 overall due to the shorter pit time for the Am class. Muston then drove a smart race against the faster Pro entries, picking the right battles and defended admirably. Muston and Kumar’s efforts were rewarded when the #96 crossed the line P6 overall and Am class winner. Both Kumar and Muston showed their potential during the weekend to constantly progress up the field and achieve the class win.
It was a shame to have a race cancellation on a weekend where both cars showed winning pace, but Craft-Bamboo Racing are confident that the good form will carry onto the last round of the 2018 FRD LMP3 China Endurance Series. The season finale takes place on the 19-21st October 2018 at the newly constructed V1 Autoworld in Tianjin.
Darryl O’Young –Director of Craft-Bamboo Racing
“I’m really proud of the team, as we have clawed back from a tough start to the season to deliver this win here in Zhuhai. Right from the start of the weekend the car has been quick, and to see all our drivers maximize the car was fantastic to watch. Both 95 and 96 drivers and crews delivered a flawless race, which is all the team can ask for after a weekend of hard racing. Shame about the cancelled 2nd race as I am sure we could have capitalised on our excellent pace here in Zhuhai.”
Jake Parsons – Driver #95 Craft-Bamboo Racing Ligier JS P3
“I would say I’m incredibly proud of the team and my team-mate James. Such a good feeling to win my debut LMP3 race and continue the streak of finishing on the podium in every race this year from F3 to LMP2 and now this.”
James Winslow – Driver #95 Craft-Bamboo Racing Ligier JS P3
“Returning to Zhuhai had good memories after winning there last year, again we were strong & we topped the practice timing sheets. My new co-driver Jake Parsons & I worked extremely well together with our engineer Bruce & we moved the car forward each session. We knew we were strong heading into the race & very effectively activated a strategy which saw us lead the whole race from start to finish. The start was extremely close & 3-a-breast into T1 & once I passed Nigel Moore on lap 1 we controlled the pace of the race from the front & pulled a gap. Jake held our lead through his amazing stint. Jakes’s debut in LMP3 with a victory & our fifth victory as a team in this series. Very proud of the whole team after a perfect weekend.”
Neale Muston – Driver #96 Craft-Bamboo Racing Ligier JS P3
“Despite eyes turned skyward as Typhoon warnings abound, it was with great focus that co-driver Nathan Kumar and I built up speed and consistency during practice. My qualifying time was the best Amateur lap of the Round. During the race we made no mistakes and finished 6th outright however took victory in the full Am category. Many thanks to the Craft-Bamboo Racing team with great car preparation and professional driver support and Expansive Construction Group in making my trip possible.”
Nathan Kumar – Driver #96 Craft-Bamboo Racing Ligier JS P3
“Saturday was a good day for us; I struggled a bit in qualifying throwing my best lap away when I understeered coming onto the straight because I didn’t quite get the front tyres into their window which would’ve seen us up another spot on the grid. In the race on the opening lap I was involved in some drama on a few separate occasions getting pushed off the track. Fell back into last place and had to fight back forward, but the team had given me a great car which enabled me to come back and even gain a spot. This saw us cross the finish line as the first bronze-bronze car with my co-driver Neale Muston taking the chequered after running p2 for a while holding off some of the pro drivers. It also should be noted he did drive faultlessly all weekend and did not put a wheel wrong which made this all possible. The driver changes and pit-stop ran smoothly like clockwork too and I feel for the cards we were dealt with we came out with the best possible outcome. Thanks to everyone in the Craft-Bamboo Racing garage for making this all possible, and I am already thinking about the next round and cannot wait to get back in the car and do it all again!”