The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia returned for its 19th season in 2022, with a four stop, eight round season of non-stop racing action. The team at Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific Ltd. once more pulled out all the stops and, against all odds, were able to host the most number of races possible given the circumstances.
22 competitors joined the series this year, including seven drivers making their series debut, 15 returning drivers, and 12 Dealer Teams, with a good spread of drivers across the three categories – 9 Pro drivers, 8 Pro-Am and 5 Am – to keep the series competitive throughout the grid. The Porsche Talent Pool returned once again, with four Pro drivers gaining the benefits of Porsche coaching, training on and off track, and much more.
The season began at Zhuzhou International Circuit in July, following the Official Test Days at the same circuit. Starting the first race as he meant to go on, JUNJIE Racing’s Leo Ye – who finished fourth in the 2021 championship – secured pole position, fastest lap and a race win. Leo had a strong start to the race, developing a 6-second lead over P2 by the time the safety car came out. In his debut Carrera Cup Asia race, TORO Racing’s Luo Kailuo started in P3 and finished in the same position, following a furious on-the-track battle with P2 starter Ling Kang driving for BD Group, with the two switching positions a number of times before Ling Kang eventually came out on top. The second race of the weekend saw Leo Ye once again secure pole position, fastest lap, and a lights-to-flag victory, hungrily devouring every available point at the stop. With Ling Kang and Luo Kailuo also starting in the same positions as the previous day, reigning Carrera Cup Asia overall champion Daniel Lu Wenlong, this year racing for Meidong Racing, started in P4 and joined his fellow Talent Pool drivers for a three-way battle for P2. Daniel eventually came out on top, gaining a podium finish, while Luo Kailuo took home a third-place win.
Reigning three-time Carrera Cup Asia Pro-Am champion Bao Jinlong, driving for Team Shanghai Yonda, started in Pro-Am P3 for the first race, potentially a sign that he would be facing some stiff competition this year. Claiming the first Pro-Am pole of the season was series newcomer Lu Wei, driving for R&B Racing, with Porsche Beijing Central & Goldenport’s Zhou Bihuang starting in P2 – Zhou would go on to claim his first Pro-Am win of the season, with Lu Wei coming in second and Bao Jinlong in third. The second race of the season saw Lu Wei’s rise begin in earnest. Taking home points for pole position, fastest lap and his Pro-Am victory, Lu Wei was followed over the finish line by Bao Jinlong, with Zhou Bihuang coming in third. This sent Lu Wei to the top of the points table, with an on-the-track rivalry already developing between the newcomer and reigning champion Bao Jinlong.
The Am category returned in 2022 following its debut in the 2021 season, with reigning champion Eric K returning once again with KiddyWorld Racing, along with Triple Ace Racing’s Henry Kwong and Shanghai Pudong & Waigaoqiao 69 Racing’s Jacky Wu who both made their series debuts in 2021. The first race didn’t go as planned for our returning drivers however, with all three spinning out at some point during the race, and leaving the field open for newcomer Climax Racing’s Tang Ruobin and Team KRC’s Zhu Zhiyao, with Tang finishing a respectable 2 seconds ahead of Zhu, while Jacky Wu finished in third. Having had a disappointing first race, Eric K found his mojo in Round 2, winning the race a clear 20-seconds ahead of Henry Kwong, with Tang finishing in a respectable third.
The second stop of the season saw the series make its debut at V1 Tianjin International Circuit. This was the point in the season where Leo Ye began to seem unstoppable. Once again claiming both pole positions and two lights-to-flag victories over the weekend, Leo earned a point for fastest lap in the first race, yet dropped his first point of the season by failing to claim fastest lap during Round 4 due to the safety car being out for most of the race. Following his first podium of the season in Round 2, Daniel Lu took home second-place in Round 3. However the back half of Daniel’s season saw a succession of disappointments, and Round 3 would be the final podium the reigning champion saw all season. The big star of the season continued to be Leo Ye. The third stop saw the series return to Zhuzhou International Circuit, where Leo Ye took home another perfect weekend, two pole positions, two victories, and fastest lap. This brought Leo Ye equal with Chris Van der Drift’s 2015 record of six consecutive Carrera Cup Asia wins. Going into the final stop of the season – once again in Zhuzhou, following COVID outbreaks at other circuits – Leo Ye was already the mathematical champion. His lead of 54 points was insurmountable, given the total of 53 points available at the last stop. The final two races ended up not being Leo’s best of the season, taking home a single secondplace podium finish. Despite this, Leo Ye was already the 2022 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Champion, having had the most dominant start in the series’history.
With Leo typically way out in front all season, the battle for second place was fiercely fought between Ling Kang and Luo Kailuo. Going into the final stop of the season, Ling Kang was ahead of Luo Kailuo by a daunting 19 points. With Leo Ye finally slowing down somewhat at the last stop – his championship already secured – Luo Kailuo won the final two races outright. The season ended with Ling Kang in third, just 5 points behind Luo Kailuo who finished in second overall. As the best performing Talent Pool driver of the class of 2022, Luo Kailuo won the opportunity to join the 2022 Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme Shootout on behalf of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.
The Pro-Am category saw a more fierce fight for first place throughout the season. Lu Wei had a fantastic stop in Tianjin, taking home every point available but one. Bao Jinlong was on Lu Wei’s heels the whole time, finishing second behind Lu Wei in five races throughout the season. With a single DNF result marring his record in Round 5, Lu Wei saw a podium in every other race of the season, coming in third in the final race, where Bao Jinlong finished second and TORO Racing’s Min Heng came in first. Bao Jinlong finished out a frustrating season without a single first-place finish, eventually coming in second in the championship. Thanks to his last-minute flourish, Min Heng snuck into third place in the Pro-Am championship, having seen a total of four podiums throughout the season.
The Am category was fairly dominated in 2021 by Eric K. Having returned this year, Eric frequently found himself staring at Henry Kwong’s brake lights, only managing to score two victories in Rounds 2 and 8. Henry took home five victories across the season, securing him the season championship 10 points clear of Eric. One of the most impressive newcomers out on the track this year was Tang Ruobin, who stayed in contention with Eric and Henry throughout the season, claiming a victory in the first race and seeing podiums in every other, eventually finishing in third.
The final results of the season saw new champions in each category. Leo Ye took home the overall championship, following his fourth-place finish in his 2021 debut season. Lu Wei, racing for the first time ever in the Carrera Cup, took home the Pro-Am championship, ending Bao Jinlong’s domination of the Pro-Am category. While Henry Kwong took home the Am trophy, having made his series debut in 2021.