Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Makes History
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Makes History With First Flight
As the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia continues to expand its motorsport horizons, the first-ever air transportation of the impressive fleet of 19 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racing cars took place on November 2. Singapore Airlines Cargo flew the valuable freight to the Middle East for the season grand finale at the Bahrain International Circuit, the first time ever that racecars from a Carrera Cup series have been transported by air anywhere in the world.
On November 2, the cars departed Singapore’s Changi International Airport on a chartered Singapore Airlines Cargo Boeing 747-400 freighter, and arrived the following day in plenty of time for the November 7-8 double-header and championship title-decider.
Since its debut in 2003, the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia has sought to create and develop motorsport traditions across Asia, resulting in the series traveling right across the region to compete on some of the world’s finest circuits.
In 2008, the series raced in Malaysia, Indonesia and Southern and Eastern China and was a part of the inaugural Formula One night-race weekend in Singapore in September. After racing in support of the 2008 Formula 1 Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix, the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia makes its first foray into the Middle East with two races in Bahrain in support of the V8 Supercars Australia from November 6-8.
Though the race cars are usually transported by sea freight, the tight turnaround time of less than three weeks from the Formula One support event in Shanghai, to the season-closer and the distance to the Middle East, meant that the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia took to the air for the first time in its history.
“The season has been truly great this year and it is about to get even better. We were a part of the first-ever Formula One night race which had a fantastic atmosphere, and soon we will go to Bahrain for the first time, to introduce the irresistible Porsche Carrera Cup brand of motor racing to Middle East region. It is an exciting prospect for everyone involved,” said Porsche Asia Pacific’s Regional Manager Marketing Dr. Henrik Dreier.
Singapore Airlines Cargo was pleased to play an important part in the organisation.
“For the first time in the history of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, race cars were transported by air to Bahrain after the race in Shanghai,” Mr. Tan Tiow Kor, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Singapore Airlines Cargo said. “The Porsche brand is world-renowned for its technical and service excellence, and we are very pleased to know, that in selecting Singapore Airlines Cargo to transport their race cars, we have met Porsche’s exacting service requirements. We are proud of this association and look forward to growing our partnership with Porsche.”
It was a busy time for the crew from series partner Racing Logistics International (RLI) and Singapore Airlines Cargo, who had just two days to prepare all the cars and equipment for air transport.
On November 1st, the cars arrived by sea from Shanghai and were unloaded at Changi Airport in Singapore. The moment they finished, the team sprung into action to secure the cars on the loading palettes.
Each of the 19 cars had to be prepared for the flight to ensure that they fully complied with aviation safety regulations. All fuel was emptied from the cars and batteries disconnected.
The following day the cars were loaded through the front and side of the plane - with five double-decked car racks and the remaining nine cars and equipment on a single level - and checked to ensure they were all safely secured. Two operations executives from RLI traveled with the cargo to ensure all went well in-flight.
After the 7.5-hour direct flight to Bahrain, the cars were unloaded onto flat-bed trucks and transported to the track at 4 a.m. on November 3rd (local time).
Awaiting the cars in the paddock were the crack team of engineers and mechanics from Malaysia’s EKS Motorsport, who ensured all 19 cars will be in pristine race condition when the teams and drivers arrive.
“There were lots of things we needed to do in order to properly prepare the cars,” Racing Logistics International Operations Director Matt McLaughlin said. “From the time the cars arrive in Singapore from Shanghai, we basically had two days to do everything. We needed to build the palettes to properly maximise the space and of course, make sure that everything was secure.”
The 19 cars amounted to approximately 22 tonnes of cargo, while another 28 tonnes were allocated for spare parts and equipment.
“For so many cars, it’s relatively light because each car is so light,” Dr. Dreier said. “In the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, we have a fully-comprehensive ‘Arrive and Drive’ concept. Our spare parts are centrally managed as are all the logistics, including transportation of cars, parts and equipment. This allows us to maximise efficiency and costs.”
The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia drivers bid their cars farewell after the chequered flag fell in Shanghai and are now set to see them again more than 6,800 kilometres and just two weeks later, shining, in perfect technical condition and ready to race at the Bahrain International Circuit. Porsche just gave “arrive and drive” a whole new meaning!
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