Author Archives: Gerald Tan

2015 Sepang 12 Hours Race Report

2015 Sepang 12 Hours Race Report
Fresh off the podium from the Sepang 1000km, I wanted to carry on the momentum into the 12 Hours of Sepang. With only two weeks before the 12 hour-long race, I was approached with a last minute deal to drive with experienced French team, Sport Garage in their Ferrari 458 GT3.
It was a glorious opportunity as it has always been a dream of mine to race a Ferrari. It will be my first time in a Ferrari 458 GT3 and my first time in a GT3 car on Sepang. I know that the leap from my usual touring front wheel drive cars to a 550bhp rear-wheel drive mid-engined car is not going to be easy but I welcomed the challenge!
Free Practice
The race weekend began on a Thursday the 10th of December where the usual driver license and equipment checks were the first order of the day. It was the first time this race is being organised by the Stephane Ratel Organisation (SRO) and the level of organisation was nothing short of world class, everything was well laid out and we even had to do a driver test for safety codes and FIA flags.
Meeting the Sport Garage team for the first time, we exchanged pleasantries and the engineer, Matthieu LaLisse quickly gave me a tour of the car. He explained the myriad of buttons that were in the car and on the steering wheel. I am not used to seeing so many buttons! I am just used to a standard steering wheel, a gear knob and three pedals. I had to learn fast and remember the function and location of each button. I also took the opportunity to pass the team Liqui Moly Race Tech Oil and Ceratec Engine Additives to be used for the gruelling 12 hour race.
I had three French team mates, Romain Brandela has the most racing experience within the team as he has competed and placed well in many GT races and even completed the 24 hours of Le Mans in a LMP2 category car twice! Georges Cabbane and Jean Paul Buffin were seasoned endurance racers in the Blancpain Endurance Series and 24H series races so I knew that I was in good company.
The team was not ready for the first paid practice in the morning and early afternoon so we could only have a go in the car at 5.50pm. It is the monsoon season in December at Sepang and afternoon showers were a common place. It poured in the afternoon just before the start of the free practice session making conditions extremely tricky for the drivers.
Matthieu asked me to start the session even though I did not have experience in the 458 GT3, I had local knowledge of the track. I was sent out to access the track conditions on wet slicks. The track was damp, not wet enough for full slicks and not dry enough for slicks. It was a stressful time as I did not want to mess up in my first few laps. After 3 laps, as more cars were circling the track, conditions got better and I told the team to get ready the slick tires. After the slicks were put on the car, I went out for another 2 laps in the damp conditions. I could not really push the car as the track was very slick and I did not want to damage the car.
By the time the other three drivers had a chance to drive the car, it was already the end of the first free practice session and the next session was at night. It was a dry but slippery track, without having driven a lap in the dry, it was very tough for me to get any type of rhythm in the car as it was very hard to get the brake and turn in markers right at night.
My three French team mates had a worse time as it was their first time racing in Sepang and to drive at night in a fast car is not easy at all. We did not have a great Free Practice and Night Practice session as the car was not handling well and suffered from huge understeer. Matthieu and the mechanics made a few changes for the Free Practice session on the following day.
The heavens opened again on Friday morning and I was selected to start the last Free Practice session again. Now I know how the professionals feel when they are thrown in the car during the worst conditions. My race engineer told me to access the conditions again and make the call when to change from wet slicks to full slicks. I drove a couple of laps and as the track was drying, I brought the car back to change tyres. I had a few more laps in the car and handed it over to my team mates with the track drying all the time.
Unfortunately I only got to drive the car in damp conditions and still have not gotten a chance to drive the car in the day with dry conditions. I knew that Qualifying later will be a challenge as I had no idea how the car will react in the dry.
The drivers’ photo taking followed after the final Free Practice session. It was a tradition for all SRO events to have the drivers of the race line up on track for a photoshoot. It was a great privilege and honour to be sharing the track with the top works factory drivers like Ferrari’s Gianmaria Bruni, James Calado, Audi’s Laurens Vanthoor, Stephane Ortelli and Bentley’s Guy Smith , Andy Soucek and a whole list of world class drivers like famous Japan GT driver Nobuteru Taniguchi.
Qualifying
Qualifying was in the late afternoon and Romain Brandela was put in the car with used tyres to test out some setup changes after Free Practice. He was in the car for a good 40 minutes testing and was given a fresh set of tyres to set a qualifying time. It was my turn next, it will also be my first dry lap in daylight. I was only given one timed lap as the other drivers had to clock their laps before the end of the session. I drove the best I could with five lap-old tyres from Brandela, the car was understeering very badly on the slow and right-hand corners. All the drivers had the same feel and our race engineer had a job on his hands to change the setup again for the race.
Race Day
The team had a discussion and I was selected to start the race as I have started many endurance races at Sepang before. However, this is my first time driving such a fast car and in a full field of top professionals, I knew I was going to have a tough time. I looked forward to the challenge and got myself ready for the race.
Race day started with clear blue skies and a blazing hot sun. Track temperatures were high in the 50 degrees Celsius with humidity at over 90%. It was a hot and sweaty affair to be the starting driver as I will be in the race suit and car for the longest. The pit lane opened at 1110hrs and race will start at 12 noon meaning by the time I finished my first stint I would have been in the car for a good two over hours. I knew that I had to stay hydrated and drank several bottles of water before the race.
At the grid, I got a lot of attention with spectators and supporters coming to take pictures with me and the Ferrari race car. There is something magical about the Ferrari, it just has this ability to draw crowds and capture fans. After the grid parade was over, it was time to put on my helmet and get down to business. I got into the cockpit with the mechanic strapping me in, asking me if I was alright and then gave me the usual “All the best” note with a clenched fist. My heart was racing as I closed my eyes and said a prayer as I always do before a race.
The 30 seconds board was shown and I fired the prancing horse’s V8 engine. Every single car ahead of me was driven by a professional, I knew that it will be a challenging first stint and I had to drive within my abilities and not try anything foolish. My goal was to find a good rhythm and to drive a consistent error free stint. The Malaysian flag waved, signalling the start of the formation lap, cars were accelerating and braking, weaving left and right to warm up the tyres. There were butterflies in my stomach and adrenalin pumping through my body, I was all ready for the race start.
After the last turn, the lights turned green and it was pedal to the metal, I set my fastest lap of the car in the opening laps as it was my first time on brand new tyres but I also had a full tank of gas in the car. In the first few laps, I was battling with Peter Kox in the Audi R8 LMS Cup and another professional in the Lamborghini Huracan. I managed to overtake the Huracan as he made an error and tried to close the gap with Peter Kox, however after five laps I experienced a huge drop off in pace from the tyres and the car was understeering badly again. I then maintained a consistent pace and completed my full 65 minute stint. My physical training leading up to the race paid off as I was not fatigued even in the Sepang heat and humidity.
After handing the car over to my other team mates, I went to shower to cool off. I think the heavens decided to give Sepang a shower to cool things off too as after three hours of racing, the heavens opened and it quickly brought out the red flag as there were rivers on the track making racing impossible. The race was red flagged for more than an hour.
Ten minutes before the red flag session was over, I was sent out in the wet conditions for my second stint as I had a good feel for wet racing. All suited up, I climbed into the car and started the engine. A driver’s nightmare before a wet stint, the display screen showed “TC OFF/TC FAILURE”. We had no time to rectify the fault, I had to deal with so many uncertainties as I had no reference lap in my database for wet racing in a 458 GT3 and this was my first time racing with wet slicks in a full wet Sepang. I have always enjoyed racing in the wet and trusted myself to rely on my driver instincts.
The restart was treacherous to say the least, entering the first corner at 230+km/h with all the spray of water from the cars ahead meant the windscreen was a sea of water and I had to look out the side of the car to get a reference for my braking point. I took the conservative route for the start of the race and eased into the opening laps. I quickly found that the car was actually better to drive in the wet than the dry. I then used my local knowledge of Sepang to set very fast and consistent laps in the wet. I was later told that I was matching several of the professionals lap times in the wet. I stayed in the car for the maximum 65 minutes driving a fast and error free stint. The team manager, engineer and team mates were very impressed by my performance and clapped for me as I returned to the pits.
Unfortunately the race was halted again later due to another bout of heavy downpour that lasted through the night making conditions dangerous for racing. There was a safety period for over 1 hour and we quickly reached the last hour of the race. Romain Brandela had the least time in the car up till then and he was asked to do a stint and a half and I was to drive the last 30 minutes of the race. However, at 2315hrs it was reported that our car was very slow on track. There was damage to the rear right suspension and driveshaft. Brandela limped the car back to the pits and the team did a quick fix before sending me out.
In my last stint, the car was very difficult to drive as coupled with the rain, the rear of the car did not seem stable in the corners. I did my best to bring the car home and we crossed the line finally after 12 hours to complete the race! It was a great experience for me in the Ferrari 458 GT3 and having had 2 full stints in the rain interrupted race was a blessing, giving me much needed seat time in the dry and wet. The second stint in the wet without Traction Control and still having the ability to match some of the professionals in the trying conditions was a good validation of my driving ability. I hope to be given more chances in another GT car in the near future to build up and sharpen my driving skills.

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2015 Sepang 1000km Race Report

2015 Sepang 1000km Race Report
2008 was the year I entered my first FIA sanctioned race, back then it was called the Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race. I joined the race with N1 Racing team in a Honda Integra DC2, it was a dream start of my racing career where we were constantly in podium position throughout the race until at 11 hours and 56 minutes, disaster struck as the engine blew. I was completely devastated as I was driving the car at a cruising pace, all the time thinking that we will finish second as first place was too far ahead and it was impossible for the third place car to catch us at the time.
A review of the data showed a mistake was made by the previous team driver 45 minutes before the end of the race and that had incurred damage on the engine. I could not sleep for the whole week after the race as we fell from a podium finish to a DNF (did not finish). It was a bitter pill to swallow but I learnt quickly that in endurance races, we should never take anything for granted until the chequered flag is flown.
Seven years on, with a lot more endurance racing experience under my belt, I made a return to N1 Racing team, this time in a Proton Satria Neo race car. It will be my first time racing in a Satria Neo and my debut in the Sepang 1000km. It was a field of fierce competitors with Proton and Honda fielding works teams, J’s Racing entering with their Super Taikyu-spec Honda Fit and a whole list of star drivers. It was going to be a weekend of close racing and great fun as I was teaming up with my good buddies, Lim Keong Liam and Shawn Peh!
Free Practice and Qualifying
The weekend’s action began as usual on a Thursday with Free Practice, all three drivers got our chance to drive the car and we made a few setup changes to suit our style of driving. We have decided as a team that we will want to take part in the Independent Cup (I-cup) which means we will only have 16 pieces of Hankook Semi-Slicks (Z221) starting from Qualifying to the whole eight and a half hour race.
I knew right from the start that tyre management will be extremely crucial and discussed a plan with our Team Manager, Julian Ng. We had a discussion on tyre allocation, drawing up an excel spreadsheet and a plan for various race scenarios. As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail, while you can never plan for everything in an endurance race, you will definitely need a road map to fall back on.
Starting qualifying session as Driver 1, I clocked a time of 2 minutes 39 seconds with a smooth driving style. I could not attack the track as usual because I had to keep the big picture in mind, tyre conservation was the name of the game. While I could have driven a lot faster, I was pleased that it was the first time in the history of the car that it broke the 2 minutes 40 seconds barrier. I kept the tyres in good condition and used the rest of the session to scrub in the other sets of tyres in preparation for the long race ahead.
The other drivers did the same for their session and we managed to clock a combined average time of 2 minutes 41 seconds to be third in the I-cup category. It was a decent result as our eyes were on the race finish rather than starting position.
Race
I was the most experienced and fastest driver of the car and thus was selected to start the race. Starting the race is always exciting as all the cars are side by side where the racing is always expected to be bumper to bumper. The race was scheduled to start at 12 noon when the sun is at its brightest and track temperatures were around 50 degrees Celsius. It was blazing hot to be standing in the sun on the starting grid.
After the usual festivities ended, it was time to get serious, when the air horn sounded and the five minute board was shown, the grid gradually cleared leaving the drivers alone in the cockpit of their race cars. Engines revving and heart pumping, all the drivers were getting ready for the formation lap. I was in my car saying a prayer together with my Team Manager, Julian, visualizing the first corner and my plan for the race.
The green flag waved and all the cars moved off for the formation lap. I was 100% focused on the task ahead; get into a good rhythm, drive a smooth and clean first stint and hand over the car to the next driver. During the formation lap, the grid was close together at the back straight and I was all ready to pounce as the lights turned green. With all the cars having similar horsepower, it was really close going into Turn 1, the cars were within inches of one another jostling for position. I had a clean and close fight in the starting few laps with experienced GT driver Hiroshi Hamaguchi and PCCA Class B winner Alif Hamdan.
I was pushing really hard to try and get past them to get a clear track. It was close racing as the three of us were like in a synchronised dance, flowing from one corner to the next, I was accessing the situation and made a decisive move by out braking the both of them. After a few laps, I managed to break clear and clocked several fast laps claiming first in class and up to fifth overall. By the end of my stint I was 40 seconds clear from the second placed car, things were looking rosy at that time!
It was 70 minutes into the race, there was a flurry of activity in the pits as teams were refuelling their cars, changing driver and tyres. I came into the pits as well and jumped out of the car as fast as possible to minimise time lost in the pits. However, due to a fuelling issue, a lot of fuel leaked and the mechanics had to clean up the mess, the car was then pushed into the garage. Unfortunately, N1 Racing’s other car had a pit stop shortly after ours and the mechanics had to focus on the other car first while leaving our car in the garage. We lost 6 minutes of precious time in the first round of pit stops and tumbled down the order to be eighth in class.
Liam was the next driver, he went out and set consistent and fast laps catching up to fifth in class during his incident free stint. Shawn was up next but dark clouds gathered ominously above Sepang, it was a last minute team call to put me in the car next as I was quick in the wet. I got suited up and went for my second stint in the rain. I used my experience in the tough conditions, lapping between 6 and 8 seconds faster than cars ahead of me. The wet conditions played into our favour as we caught up from fifth to second in class during my stint.
I handed the car to Shawn who did a great stint as he improved 2 seconds per lap over his qualifying time. He worked hard on his technique and lines to set a faster time, he drove a clean and incident free stint. However, due to a miscommunication, he pitted earlier than expected. Liam was not ready when Shawn came in and during the driver change we lost another 1 minute. To make things worse, there was an issue with the seat rail and Liam could not reach the clutch pedals, another minute lost. It was only the fourth hour of the race and we have lost 8 minutes in total already!
The mechanics reported that they needed a further 40 seconds to rectify the seat rail issue during the next driver change. Liam went on and drove a good stint as usual and we managed to remain second in class as our pace was good. During his stint, Julian and I discussed the optimum driver and tyre strategy for the remaining two and half hours of race time. We decided to shorten Shawn’s stint while giving me used tyres for my stint. Using the used tyres for my last stint in the dusk proved to be a good gamble as I still managed to clock a good pace. We used every single bit of the tyre as by the time I entered the pit, the tyre was down to its threads! Liam had a fresh set of tyres and was tasked to push as hard as he could for the last stint.
However, first place was just too far ahead and even though Liam put in a great final stint, it was too little too late. The pit stop errors cost us a grand total of about 9 minutes, if we did not have the pit issues, we would have won our class by two laps and may have even finished third overall against the factory teams who have unlimited tyres for their race. In the end we were second in class and sixth overall, a decent result with all things considered.
It was a nice feeling, poetic even to return to N1 Racing team seven years later, together with my 2008 team mate Liam and actually complete the endurance race in second position. This race has buried all the devastation of our team’s DNF in second place back in 2008. It was pure joy to stand on the podium with your team and supporters cheering for you. This was my first endurance race podium ever in Sepang. While standing on the podium my thoughts already shifted to the next race taking place in two weeks’ time, the Sepang 12 Hours. Will I do well in that race? I certainly hope to carry the momentum from Sepang 1000km to the Sepang 12 Hours. Read the next race report for the details of the 12 hour race!

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Gerald Tan to Drive Sport Garage’s Ferrari GT3 in Sepang 12 Hours

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Gerald Tan to Drive Sport Garage’s Ferrari GT3 in Sepang 12 Hours

Gerald Tan has signed with Team Sport Garage for the most prestigious endurance racing event in Asia, the 2015 Sepang 12 Hours. He is the sole Singaporean driver in this multinational driver field. The Sepang 12 Hours is a joint organisation between Sepang and the SRO Motorsports Group, it will be part of the new Intercontinental GT Challenge to be launched in 2016. The blue riband event of the Asia-Pacific endurance scene will act as a prologue to the new series.

The 2015 edition of the Sepang 12 Hours will see 11 prestigious brands competing like Audi, Bentley, Ferrari, Honda, Lamborghini, Lotus, McLaren, Mercedes, Porsche, Subaru and Toyota. With major teams from both Europe and the Australasian region at the start of the Sepang 12 Hours, the race is set to be nail biting from start to finish. The majority of entrants will participate in the GT3 class, highlighting the attractiveness of GT3 racing.

“It is a dream of mine to race in a Ferrari, I have loved the brand all my life and I cannot believe that I am given the chance to race the 458 GT3 in what can be considered my home track and event. Fresh of the podium from the recently completed Sepang 1000km, I am really looking forward to carry the momentum into the 12 Hours of Sepang. Although this is the first time I will be driving with Sport Garage, their credentials in GT racing is nothing short of stellar and I am confident that our team will feature strongly in the GT3 class.

Staying hydrated will be key for this arduous race as teams and drivers have to cope with the severe Sepang heat and humidity. This is where I think my experience and acclimatisation will play in my favour as I have several years of experience racing in the Sepang heat. I also aspire to bring Singapore glory in this event as I will be the only Singaporean in the race. I will drive with my heart and soul while pushing as hard as I can to achieve a good result in my class and stand on the podium once again.” – Gerald Tan

Several global TV networks will be providing live coverage of this race. In South East Asia, Fox Sports Asia will show large parts of the race live through Fox Sports 3, Fox Play, the full race is available live on their website. Race highlights will be shown internationally on Astro Network, 7 Australia, Motor Trend/Torque Channel, Beln, Fox Sports Africa and Latin America. There will also be a live feed on the official website, http://www.sepang12hours.com and on the Blancpain GT Series website, with expert commentary from David Addison and Jack Nicholls.

Pictures of Sport Garage Ferrari 458 GT3 in action:

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Excerpts taken from press release:
http://www.sepang12hours.com/newsitem.php?key=7

Photo Credits:
http://www.speedsport-magazine.com/
https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5475/10570558954_e073c4d4c6_b.jp
http://www.wallpaperup.com/334651/Sport_Garage_Ferrari_458_GT3.html
http://www.blancpain-gt-series.com/car/26/ferrari-458-italia-gt3

 

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Gerald Tan to return to 12H of Sepang in a Porsche GT3 Cup


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Gerald Tan to return to 12H of Sepang in a Porsche GT3 Cup

Experienced endurance racer Gerald Tan will be returning to his home track and race at the 12H of Sepang this 28th August – 31st August 2014. The 12H Sepang race has become one of the toughest and most significant 12-hour endurance races in the world and has been attracting a growing number of top teams from Asia and around the world. 2013 saw one of the best grids for many years lined up to do battle for honours in all classes and the event was overall a great success.

Gerald has raced in the 12H of Sepang for 3 consecutive years from 2008 to 2010 in a Honda Integra and has since started his exploration of other endurance races in Dubai and Europe. In 2011, Gerald raced the 24H of Dubai and finished 3rd in class in a BMW 130i. 2012 saw Gerald racing in the 24H of Barcelona in a BMW 130i and the 24H of Silverstone in a Ultima GTR. In Gerald’s first foray into GT racing, he managed to podium the 24H of Barcelona in 2013 in a 997 GT3 Cup S and has since completed the 12H of Mugello in a Mercedes SLS GT3 and the 25H Spa Fun Cup.

“This return to Sepang 12H is a long awaited one where it will be my first time in a GT race car on Sepang. Having raced in Sepang since 2008 and gaining GT racing experience in Europe, I hope to be able to race in my home race and in a GT car. I am really looking forward to racing with Motorsport Services in their 997 GT3 Cup.”

The Motorsport Services Team was assembled in 2004 and has staff and crew from all genres of Motorsport including Formula 1, WRC, Blancpain Series, Grand Am and ALMS. Motorsport Services specialises in GT Endurance races around the world and has had numerous podium finishes at Bathurst 12h, Dubai 24h, Hungary 12h, Barcelona 24h and at almost every other track they have been to. While the team also specialises in Porsche GT cars Motorsport Services also service and look after a variety of other marques including Audi and Ferrari.  Motorsport services will attend ThunderHill 25h, Dubai 24h, Bathurst 12h, Mugello 12h, Zandvoort 12h, Paul Ricard 24h, Hungary 12h, Sepang 12h and Barcelona 24h in 2015.  More details about Motorsport Services maybe found here: http://www.motorsport-services.com/

The 12H of Sepang event has been transformed under the new Pacific Project Management (PPM) organising team, inviting many international teams to the race. “We are very happy that two of the biggest and most well-known motorsport and sport TV channels will be broadcasting the 2014 MMER,” says PPM Director Ian Geekie. “Along with other broadcasters soon to be announced, this means MMER will be reaching the amount of motorsport fans the event has never seen before. A big thanks to Asia motorsport Development (AMD) for helping us with these deals.”

Motors TV will be broadcasting the one hour race program on September 10th 6:25pm, and Fox Sports will be running the show through September 5th-12th, with news updates shown on Fox Sports Central in the lead up to the event.[1]

[1] http://sepang12hour.com/index.php/fox-sport-motors-tv-to-broadcast-the-sepang-12-hour/

12H of Sepang Race Details and ScheduleDate: 28th – 31th August 2014

Circuit: F1 Sepang International Circuit

Event Details: www.sepang12hour.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sepang12hour

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Gerald Tan and GDL Racing set for Spa-Francorchamps 25h Fun Cup

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GDL Racing is set to race for the seventh time the 25h VW Fun Cup at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit next weekend. The Belgian race opened to the Volkswagen-powered cars, is scheduled for 12-13 July.

After taking six wins in a row in the Italian group, the Gianluca De Lorenzi’s squad aims at the top again. In 2012 GDL Racing scored ninth overall and third in 2013 – no other Italian team achieved such result in 20 editions – when it claimed the pole position and the victory in the Diesel class, completing the race with all the three cars.

“It will be very difficult to repeat the same result of 2013. – Gianluca De Lorenzi commented – Furthermore this year we have 3 liters less of fuel and every race is different from the others”.

The GDL Racing team will enter three cars also in the 2014 race, one of them for the all-Australian crew Niall-Niall-Stutterd-Piavanini. On the second car Gianluca De Lorenzi will share the wheel with Canadian Perrin, Malaysian Koeng Liam and Singaporean Gerald Tan. A third car will be for Canadian Lee, American Pham and Hong Kong’s Nigel Farmer.

Original article: http://www.gdlracing.net/gdl-racing-set-for-spa-francorchamps-25h-fun-cup/

More Pictures:

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Gerald Tan debut in the Mercedes SLS GT3 to Kick Start 2014 race season at the 12H of Italy-Mugello.

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Singapore, 28 February 2014 – Gerald Tan is scheduled to kick-off his 2014 season in the 12H of Mugello in Florence Italy. The 12H of Mugello is a new event added to the calendar and will be a great chance for European teams to prepare for the start of the racing season. Organisers are expecting a packed field of International Teams and Drivers. Singaporean Gerald has regularly become the sole representative of the national flag at these prestigious endurance events.

Following his podium success in the 24H of Barcelona in a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S, top Italian team GDL Racing contracted Gerald for the 2014 season. GDL Racing will be fielding a strong line-up of cars and drivers for the Italian race as it is set in their home ground. Gerald will be racing in a Mercedes SLS GT3, his first time in a full specification GT3 car.

GDL Racing Team Principal Gianluca De Lorenzi mentioned, “Gerald has shown great potential in his performance at the 24H of Barcelona and our team is very happy with his speed and consistency. He got up to within 1 second of our regular team driver and his ability to drive 2 hour error free stints in the Porsche at speed was very impressive. We are looking forward to have Gerald be the Asian representative for Team GDL Racing. We are also very confident of Gerald’s ability to bring our SLS to podium glory again in our home race, the 12H of Italy-Mugello.”

Gerald is an experienced endurance racer with several 24H races like the 24H of Dubai, Silverstone and Barcelona under his belt including multiple appearances at the 12H of Sepang. Besides endurance races, he races regularly in the Malaysian Super Series with Team LTM-9tro in the Touring Production Category.

“I am ecstatic to be driving in the SLS GT3! I have always dreamt of racing in a GT3 car and my opportunity has finally come! I am very happy that GDL Racing has given me this opportunity again to race with the team. The team is a proper works team and I had a great time in Barcelona. I am eagerly anticipating my first taste of the SLS GT! But as always, we have to be focused and stay in the moment. I hope to bring glory for Singapore on European soil again!” said Gerald.

For more information and downloadable photos of Gerald Tan, please visit: www.geraldtan.com,www.facebook.com/geraldtanracing or to contact him at geraldtanmedia@gmail.com

About 12H Italy – Mugello

Teams and drivers will gather at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello in the rolling hills of Tuscany in Italy for the next round of this year’s 24H SERIES powered by Dunlop: the inaugural Dunlop 12H ITALY-MUGELLO, to be held on March 14 and 15. There are already over 50 teams registered to participate in this endurance race for GTs, touring cars and 24H Specials.

This year, the ‘Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello’ is celebrating its 40th anniversary as a permanent circuit, but, of course, racing heritage in Tuscany goes back much longer. The first roadraces already were held there in the 1920s. The current Mugello circuit, well-known as the venue for the annual Italian round of the MotoGP series, is a state-of-the-art facility with plenty of undulation, numerous opportunities for overtaking and challenging corners. The beautiful landscape of Tuscany serves as a breath-taking backdrop.

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by | February 28, 2014 · 6:53 PM

2013 Season Review

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My 2013 Season has ended. Its been a typical motorsports season full of ups and downs! A summary of the highs and lows here:

My podium at the 24H of Barcelona with the GDL Racing Page Porsche GT3 Cup S was definitely a highlight of the year. First time in a GT car and finishing on the international podium!

Setting a 2m 22.2s time in the LTM Performance Singapore Subaru WRX STi race car at the Round 1 of the Zerotohundred.com ‘(00) TimeToAttack while winning the Time Attack Machines class was another highlight considering that was my first time in the car. The car has plenty of potential left in it, during the TTA, the car had braking issues and boost issues. A great result considering the circumstances.

The whole season of Malaysian Super Series was a huge let down though. The season started off great when we set a blistering time of 2m 33.2s in race 1 only to be protested for a technical infringement. The worst part of this was the protester was running blatantly illegal parts himself, but this is the ugly side of motorsports.

MSS Round 2 ended sadly with a blown engine while in 2nd place. Round 3 went smoothly with 2nd place in the bag until a pit stop error leaving me in 4th. Round 4 ended real early with a blown engine in qualifying. Round 5 we were once again competitive on pace but had problems with misfiring. Endless mechanical failures and errors meant a disastrous season for Team LTM 9tro Racing.

We can have all the pace in the world but we need reliability to finish a race and have sustainable results. Lets see if we will return for another season of MSS in 2014.

2013 has been a great season of seat time for me, I have never been to the track more than 2013. I want to thank the multiple sponsors that have made this possible for me. Your contribution has enabled me to further my passion and development as a driver. Many doors have been opened to me for 2014, I am looking forward to an awesome 2014!

I just secured an amazing drive to kick start 2014. Press release to follow shortly!

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Detailed 2013 Season Results:

24 Hours of Barcelona – 3rd Position in 997 Class (GDL Racing 997 Cup S)

Zerotohundred Time to Attack Round 1 – 1st Position in Time Attack Machines Class (LTM 9tro Subaru WRX STi)

Megalap Time Attack Round 1 – 2nd Position in Turbo 4wd Street Tire Class (LTM 9tro Evo X)

Megalap Time Attack Round 2 – 2nd Position in Turbo 4wd Street Tire Class (LTM 9tro Evo X)

Malaysian Super Series Round 1 – LTM 9tro Honda Integra DC5

– Round 1 Race 1 (2nd place but later DQ) Race 2 (Finished 6th after starting from back of the grid)

– Round 2 DNF (Engine blown while in 2nd place)

– Round 3 4th Position (Pit stop error while in 2nd place losing us the position)

– Round 4 DNF (Engine blown while in 2nd place)

– Round 5 6th (Engine mis-firing while in 3rd place)

 

 

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Podium finish for Singaporean at the 24 Hours of Barcelona

Podium finish for Singaporean at the 24 Hours of Barcelona

Gerald Tan is the first Singaporean to finish on the podium in his debut race in a Porsche GT3 Cup S with top Italian Team GDL Racing

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13th September 2013, Singapore – Gerald Tan, a Singapore touring car and endurance racing professional had finished on the podium in his debut race in a Porsche GT3 Cup S with top Italian Team GDL Racing. He is the first Singaporean to have accomplished this feat. This year, 58 race teams took to the starting grid of the 24 hours of Barcelona, consisting of star drivers like ex-F1 driver Brunno Senna, Aston Martin works driver Stefan Mucke and Porsche Supercup driver Norbert Siedler.

 

The race had all the elements of a great endurance race; unpredictable weather, packed grid of cars and close racing from start to finish. Qualifying on Friday was a mixture of dry and wet conditions making tire choice a headache for all the teams, this showed when the works Aston Martin made it on pole only during the closing moments when their gamble to make a last minute dash with full slicks paid off. Car #11 De Lorenzi 2 driven by Gerald Tan, from Singapore, Lim Keong Liam, from Malaysia, Dario Paletto and Roberto Fecchio both from Italy had some trouble during the qualifying session and only managed to secure a mid pack starting position.

 

On the starting grid, tough decisions had to be made again as the track was still wet from the morning showers, but with 58 cars circling the track, the track may dry quickly. The team had to take a gamble on whether to use wet or slick tires for the start of the race. Car #11 chose to start with slicks which proved to be the right call, moving up the places quickly to reach top 10 within the first hour.

 

The car experienced some spark plug issues during the second driver’s stint and lost 15 minutes in the pit. Gerald jumped in at 3pm and was in 27th place overall, he drove a flawless stint until rain started to fall after 75 minutes in the car, he pit in 17th position, handing over the car to his team mate who drove the next stint in the wet.

 

Gerald took his second stint in the car at 9.45pm, this time in 10th position overall and third in class. After a long two hour stint lapping consistent fast laps, he managed to bring car #11 to 1st in class and 4th overall. The team was ecstatic at this point as they were in position for an overall podium finish.

Unfortunately the next time Gerald took over, the car had suffered a broken damper and lost precious time in the pits, it was 4am when he drove his third stint. Historically, this is the most dangerous time to be driving as all the drivers will be experiencing fatigue. It was just before dawn and the temperature is at its lowest and everyone is tired. This proved to be true as there was a huge accident towards the end of his third stint and the team made a call to change drivers during the safety car period.

 

Eventually after day broke, the car suffered two other unexpected mechanical failures from the drive shafts which meant a top 10 overall placing was no longer possible. Gerald drove his fourth and final stint taking the car to the chequered flag, securing third in class, a dream result.

 

Gerald said: “It is an incredible feeling just to finish a 24 hour race. Being the final driver to take the car across the finish line in a podium position was simply amazing. It was my first time in a Porsche and to get up to speed quickly was very satisfying and confidence boosting. Getting to work with a great team like GDL Racing was a real honour as I had a great team of mechanics who worked tirelessly.  I have so much to be thankful for, the sponsors who made it possible for me to drive in this race and of course God whom has blessed me immensely.

 

I am very proud to fly the Singapore flag on the podium as not many drivers from Singapore go to Europe to race and am happy to represent our small city state. For now, I am going to enjoy the success but I am already planning for 2014 and GDL Racing has already offered a few options for next year.”

 

For high-resolution pictures and interviews please contact Gerald at: geraldtanmedia@gmail.com

 

More information on the race and details on Gerald Tan:

www.24hoursbarcelona.com

www.gerald-tan.com

www.facebook.com/geraldtanracing

 

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PRESS RELEASE – Barcelona 24H 2013

Top Italian Team GDL Racing signs me on for Barcelona 24H!photo 4

Top Italian Team GDL Racing signs Singaporean Gerald Tan for Barcelona 24H

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by | August 5, 2013 · 11:37 AM

24H of Silverstone – Race Report

After a disappointing 24H of Barcelona, I was scheduled for my long awaited holiday in Spain. However, my racing bug was still very much alive in me and I knew that the Britcar 24H of Silverstone was only 2 weeks away. I logged onto the driver board area for the race hoping to find a drive for the race. To my amazement, I found an Ultima GTR, one tonne car, 7 litres, 650 BHP car looking for a driver for the race! I sent the team a quick email and negotiations started. Before you know it, I secured myself a seat in the Ultima GTR for the Britcar 24H and more than that, I will be competing in the premier class of the race!

I made lots of last minute bookings and rearranged my flight schedule to delay my return home till a week later. This is the racer in me, finding all sorts of ways to get a drive. I spent a half a day arranging for all the logistics, accommodations, flights from Barcelona to London, changing my flight from Barcelona to departing from London, car rental arrangements etc. The effort was well worth it as when I got to the circuit and saw the car. WOW!

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Doesn’t that look like a proper race car? Your butt is literally inches off the ground, downforce aplenty with the aerodynamic kit fitted on the car. What more, it only weighs a tonne and has a 7.0l Corvette LS7 engine powering this little car! To put all that power down, this car was shod with 280mm wide Dunlop full racing slick tires in the front and 310mm at the back! The car also had a sequential 6 speed gearbox with flat up and down the gears. This is a huge step up for me as all this while I have been in touring cars and nothing comes close to the kind of horsepower I will be experiencing in this car.

The usual administration got underway as the drivers met with one another and had our first drivers meeting. Team MacG Racing had a pretty strong driver lineup for the Silverstone 24hr race, which consists of team regulars Jonny MacGregor and Jamie Smyth 2007 British GT Champion, along with Macau GP GT Race Winner Nigel Farmer and myself the  2011 Singapore Touring Car Champion Gerald Tan.

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Out for my initial impression and feel of the car, first thing I realised was just how quiet the car was, the distinct V8 rumble was hard to miss but the cockpit feel comfortable almost. I spent a few laps learning the awesomely quick Silverstone GP Circuit, the corners are so fast and flowing that it has to be drivers’ favourite. I was building up speed and confidence in the car that was really quick down the straights and the amount of speed you can carry through the corners is something that I had to get used to! The feel of this car is actually really similar to driving a race kart, but imagine having to drive a race kart for 70minute stints on a high G track. I was in for a good but definitely challenging time.

Practice and Qualifying:

Unfortunately, the practice session was short as we only had half the morning session completed before disaster struck!

1) Broken brand new factory Corvette LS7 engine – catastrophic failure of the internals punching a hole in the block. New factory engine and the drivers were only running it in when it happened. Data shows no driver fault – my team mate is safe 🙂 But bad news for the mechanics as they have to pull an all nighter (another one as I have been told) to replace the engine before race day. The lads stuck at it and the engine was finally in by 4am.

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2) Sourced another Corvette LS7 engine, turned out many parts did not fit. Ah! It was a LS3! Some software adjustment and it fired up! Jonny went out to test the car. 🙂

3) I get into the car ready to do qualifying. Only to find out the oil cooler pipe has sheared off clean (another new part that has failed) so out I came again.

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4) Oil cooler fixed and found that the pulley belt was broken. Changed that too.

5) Nigel to go out for a night drive. To add to all the drama, just before he goes out, rain! Rain tires on and off he goes!

6) Out lap In lap and problems again! No wiper in the rain, lights fogging up. Time for Rain-X!

7) The boys found that the pulley belts broke again! Guess what? The guy whom sold the team the second engine did not tighten and torque the main pulley! Wow! What drama!!

8) Belts fixed – again. Off I went for my night session. It was extremely dark at Silverstone last night and I found out why as I returned to the pits. I only had 1/3 of the lights working (rest had blown fuses). Add the extremely cold wet night conditions, it was really an hair raising experience. Anyone who has race at night will tell you it was dark, but a wet night in Silverstone, it really was PITCH dark!

Finally after all that initial drama during practice and qualifying, the car was finally ready for the 24H of Silverstone as the car got lined up on the grid. I was proudly flying and posing with my Singapore flag at the packed grid.

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I was the only Asian driver and only Singaporean at the race and managed to get some media interest. The interviewer came up to me and asked, ‘So, what is a Singaporean Mr Gerald Tan doing in Silverstone on a Singapore GP weekend?’ I said, ‘Simple. I’d rather be driving than watching!’ He smiled, wished me all the best and went on to interview my team mate and car owner Jonny MacGregor. Apparently I was on LIVE TV as during the race a couple came up to me and said ‘I saw you on TV yesterday, can we get a picture with you?’ Now, that’s a first =)

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The Race:

We put Nigel Farmer in the car first as he needed more time in the day light and with the race starting at 3pm, we did not have much day light to spare. A decision was made on the grid to start off in the pits as we had some last minute adjustments to make.

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3pm sharp, the cars on the grid start their rolling lap before the flying start. The grid was led by a factory works Ginetta G55 team followed by another factory backed Aston Martin team and the British Endurance Championship leader’s Mosler. I never understand this but the first few laps of a 24H race always turns out like a sprint race! We drivers need to keep our ego in check as it’s the guy who crossed the line 24H that wins! The race is never won on turn one but many have lost it there.

Our car started last place from the pit but within the first few laps overtook many lower class cars and making our way up the field. Nigel was making good pace and with each lap, his timing was coming down. Unfortunately, trouble came early with him losing 5th and 6th gear as the dogs were damaged from a failed flatshift mechanism. To make things worse, the rear hub was damaged and he had to be towed back to the pits.

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Rear hubs changed and I was up for the next stint. I was told to report any unusual feel coming from the rear as they replaced the hubs. Jumped into the car, harness strapped, radio check done and off I went for my evening stint. I took the first few laps to warm up the tires, as the car was light and had such wide tires, it took a few laps to get any decent heat into the tires and brakes. Once the tires were up to temperature, I was finding my rhythm and the circuit started to flow and I was trying to allow my subconscious to take over as I learnt the circuit more and more with each lap. Lap times showed exactly that, with each block of 3 to 5 laps, my lap time will dip as I work out the car’s braking points and turn in, exit throttle points etc.

I was going faster and faster all the way till the end of my stint, it was a near perfect stint without any incidents on track, no safety car incidents and I was catching up, overtaking cars and making my way up the field. I also set the fastest lap for the weekend in the car during my first stint! I knew I was on my game as everything just flowed and the car was coming to me, responding to all my commands and inputs. Racing bliss basically =)

Just after the hour mark as I was ready to make a fuel stop, I felt something weird at the rear and thankfully that took place at the last corner before the pit and I radioed back that I was in the pits as the car was vibrating on right corners. I drove head into the garage for the mechanics to work their magic again. Rear hub failure was the cause again. That was replaced and Nigel was out for his night stint.

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Nigel’s stint was good as he was building pace at night but he unfortunately went off at one of the corners as he was blinded by one of the cars from the back. The problem with multiclass racing is that our car is extremely low and we are racing with touring cars that are much higher and their high beams at night reflects off our rear view mirror and pierces your eyes when you drive.  Nigel’s momentary blindness caused an off, thankfully he grazed the wall and there was minimal damage.

I was up next again as the team wanted to double stint me in the hope that I can get more seat time and also to help catch up. Off into the darkness I went, with a better track knowledge, I picked up speed at night and hit consistent laps times matching the front runners. At one point I was even tailing the Aston Martin Vantage GT3, using him as my headlight as his headlights were bright as day. I did not have high end speed (loss of 5th and 6th gears) so I had to pull out all the tricks in the bag to keep up with him through the corners. That was a fun stretch of my stint where I radioed to my engineer, ‘the Aston is holding me up in the corners but I am happily using him as my headlights’. That gave the team something to cheer and laugh about. I also managed to secure the team’s fastest night lap during my first night stint.

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After completing my 75 minute stint and my second stint in 4 hours I was exhausted! The Ultima was a beast to drive with no power steering and super wide tires in front, the steering was really heavy, exactly like a go kart. I have driven race karts before but never for 75 minutes at a go. My thumb and forearms were beginning to ache. Time to rest, get some food and stretch! It is time for the other drivers to get their time in the car =)

When will the misfortunes end for the team? The night time proved to be a cold and long one with many troubles faced by the team. A summary as follows:

1)      The car suffered another hub failure, this time front left (possibly from the impact with the wall from an earlier shunt)

2)      Sheared drive shaft – twice and on separate occasions

3)      Exhaust was leaking and required some mending work

4)      Rear right hub failure (third time, require a trip to the Ultima factory to pick up some spares)

5)      Wet last few hours where I drove the car under tricky changing conditions from dry to damp to wet

Finally, after all the drama of mechanical failure, accident and numerous mishaps,  Jonny MacGregor took the helm of the Ultima to finish the eventful race 28th overall. All in all, despite the poor results, the journey was an amazing one. I relished the chance to drive a fast car, set the fastest time and mixing it up with the front runners.

It was also a fantastic experience working with a great team of mechanics and engineers (we had a William F1 team engineer on our team). The car has the pace and the team has the character and ability to win the race, all the mechanical failures were really shocking as the parts that failed were all new on the car. I do not think the team could have done anything more to prepare for the race. I guess it is time to go back to the drawing board, work through the reliability issues and MacG Racing will be winning some races real soon!

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24H Barcelona – Race Report

The weather was perfect in Barcelona, forecast of a high of 28 degree Celsius and a low of 20 degree Celsius with plenty of sunshine and low humidity. The scene was set for a beautiful 24 hour race of Barcelona on a mid-September weekend with more than 50 international race teams gathered for a 24H manic blast around the famous Circuit de Catalunya.

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I arrived at Barcelona on a Thursday, the day of registration and scrutineering, arriving at the circuit jetlagged, I felt a rush of energy as I walked through the hordes of race trucks with their racing livery proudly on display. I thought to myself, ‘this is European racing and I love it, to be able to walk around with WTCC teams and proper world renowned GT teams is always an honour.’

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It will be my first time racing at the circuit and I will be driving Team Sorg Rennsport’s BMW 130i Endurance Spec. I have previous experience in this car in the 2011 Dubai 24 Hours where I drove the last stint and finished on the podium so this car has special memories for me. I headed to the team and met with the team principals, the Sorg brothers, Daniel and Benjamin. After a quick introduction with the team mechanics, I was shown the car and we got on with the paper work of registration and signing on. Attended the compulsory drivers meeting which is always interesting as I get the chance to see who I will be racing against!

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Official Practice/Qualifying and Race:

The team’s strategy was to preserve the car as always, the philosophy of all endurance races is ‘to finish first, first you have to finish’. Therefore, it was decided that the drivers will take it easy during practice and qualifying just to ensure the car’s life is preserved for as long as possible.

We qualified 3rd in class and that was decent enough for us. The race strategy was simple, stay out of trouble for the first 12 hours while keeping a steady pace. If we are in contention after 12 hours, we can begin to pile on the pace and we will monitor from there.

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Benjamin Sorg was selected to start the race as he was the most experienced in the BMW130i (he is the owner of the car). The race got off to a flying start right on time with the Maclaren and Ferrari GT3 fighting it hard at the front as if it were a 12 lap race! The race at the front was intense for many laps and that kept the scores of spectators on their feet cheering for them.

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Meanwhile further down the pack and in our classes, the BMW130i was making steady progress and circling the track at our target pace. After the start, I was scheduled to jump into the car only 4 hours later. Time to take a break even when the adrenalin is pumping, one has to force yourself to rest as you just cannot 24 hours non-stop on adrenalin.

Benjamin came in earlier than expected after only 50 minutes, a quick driver change, refuel and we are off again. Next up was Uwe Legermann at the wheel, he races this car at the Nurburgring Nordschleife Endurance VLN races so we can expect quick and consistent lap times. But disaster struck just 20 minutes into his stint! He reported over the radio that the car was mis-firing! He was ordered to limp the car back to the pits which he did.

A race mechanic’s worst nightmare! A car coming into the pit garage during a race situation. A flurry of activity was going on around the car, as a driver I could not help and decided to get out of the way. The tuner got out his lap top to check on the engine mapping and did a quick reboot of the system hoping that it was a software glitch while the other mechanics did their usual checks. A speedy check showed no obvious signs of trouble and Uwe was sent out again. The car was flying again but only for 7 laps before the same problem happened again.

This in and out of pit action carried on for a few times till the decision was made to change the engine. I knew at that moment that the race was over for our team and all we can aim for is a finish for the 24H of Barcelona. The team said that the engine swap will take 4 hours, but it took 6 hours, with a quarter of the race spent on the engine change, the race was well and truly over. However, the team mechanics displayed the never say die attitude required of race mechanics and worked tirelessly to complete the engine change.

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After the new engine was installed, the car was back alive again! The whole pit cheered and the drivers were elated to be driving again. However, we did not get many laps before the SAME misfiring and loss of power was reported. Again, we drove into the pits to diagnose the problem. The team and drivers pushed on trying each time, going out to do 5 to 6 laps and each time encountering a problem. We persevered till 3am in the morning before finally calling it a day. The team tried their best but there was nothing much they could do. Alas! The race was over before it even got started for our car, the perils of endurance racing.

On the bright side, our sister car, a BMW Z4M was doing well and was fighting for a podium position. Their car had a relatively trouble free race and managed to finish the race in 2nd position. The team went through a nightmare with one car0 and a fairy tale with another. Well, this is endurance racing, we just have to try our hardest and hope for the best! Congratulations to Team Sorg Rennsport for their 2nd position in class and thanks for their hospitality even though the race was a disaster for my car, I had a good experience with them!

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More info on race: http://www.24hoursbarcelona.com

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PIONEER MAGAZINE FEATURE – DRIVEN

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Despite good showings at races, local driver Lieutenant (LTA) (NS) Gerald Tan remains hungry for bigger successes.

Ask LTA (NS) Tan about his favourite cars of all time and almost immediately, a string of numbers and letters come forth. Like most petrolheads, he refers to cars by their chassis codes (which tell the model and variant).

At 10, a ride in a Honda Civic EG6 – a small Japanese car which remains a legend to car aficionados even till today – sealed his love for cars and driving. “The sound of that engine revving intoxicated me,” recalled LTA (NS) Tan, who served National Service (NS) as a Motor Transport Officer (MTO) in the 40th Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment.

Going faster

His first car, a manual BMW E36 318is Coupe that he bought during his NS days, bore the brunt of that love. “There wasn’t much of a clutch to speak of after nine months of abuse,” laughed LTA (NS) Tan.

The next one, a Subaru Impreza WRX STi, took him to tracks in Malaysia. In 2005, he took home the distinction of being the fastest in that car model (road-registered) around the Sepang race track, which is also the venue for F1 racers in Malaysia.

The next few years saw him racing mostly in Malaysia before he scored a podium finish in the 24-hour endurance race series in Dubai last year.

The avid sportsman attributes his racing passion to a desire to push himself to his limits.

“I’m satisfied only when I reach the point where I cannot progress further,” said the 29-year old, who is a former national bowler and competitive golfer.

“I’ve worked with professional mechanics and engineers to review my driving and they tell me that I just need the chance to break through to the next level. That’s why I’m constantly pushing myself to see where I can go.”

Personal highs

Off the racing track, he runs a factory for his family’s rubber trading business. He had a head start in this role due to the training he received in logistics management from his time as an MTO.

“Managing a family business might seem to be an easy job, but there is a lot of pressure to perform,” said LTA (NS) Tan, who has to travel abroad every week to manage the company’s operations.

The father of one (with another baby on the way) credits being able to withstand his gruelling schedule and his passion for racing to his time in NS. Speaking of the confidence it gave him, LTA (NS) Tan said: “NS had a huge influence in my life. I had a better understanding of myself after the tough training that I underwent to become an officer.” 

Check out the introduction of the race car and the racing footage on the Ipad version of Pioneer.

http://www.mindef.gov.sg/content/imindef/publications/cyberpioneer/people/2012/sep12_people2.html

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Gerald Tan Invited as Guest Speaker for K1 Community Karting Event

About K1 Series

The concept of K1 was born when CS Racing and the Singapore Motor Sports Association came together with one common goal – to develop the future of Motorsports in Singapore by raising awareness and interest among the community.

The karting circuit has always been regarded as the breeding ground for racing stars of the future. Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen are but a few of the stars of F1 who honed their early driving skills in go-karts. K1 hopes to identify future race drivers here by bringing karting to the heartlands where all can have an opportunity to try their hand at it.

With the support of the Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports (MCYS), the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) and the People’s Association (PA), the K1 Karting Series kicked off its tour of the heartlands on 30 Dec 2007 with a Motorsport Carnival in Punggol. Besides a chance to try out go-karting at heavily subsidised rates, residents were treated to drifting and sprint demos by professional drivers.

In the 2008 K1 Series, we brought the excitement of Motorsports to 50,000 people in 10 heartland locations. Residents there got a better idea of what F1 is about, and learnt about the different types of Motorsport, like drifting and gymkhana, while enjoying a family-friendly carnival atmosphere.

K1 Karting organized their first community karting for 2011 at the ITE Bishan Campus on the 8th of August in conjunction with the national daycelebrations. Local race car driver Gerald Tan was invited by the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) to be a guest speaker in a Q&A sharing session with the ITE students.

The Q&A:

Interest in Motorsports

Question:        How do you get interested in motorsports?

I have always been interested in cars. Cars have been a passion of mine since I was a kid, my parents told me that cars with loud exhaust will always catch my attention and my fascination with toy cars will keep me occupied for hours. My little toy cars turned into Tamiya cars and then to remote control cars and finally road cars. I started going to the track in 2004 and got hooked ever since.

Question:         When did you first start racing competitively?

I started competing in lower level club events like time attacks and mini 5 lap races back in 2006 but my first ever international race was in 2008, where I took part in my first 12 hour endurance race.

Question:        We know you as a motorsports driver.  What is your day job?

Unfortunately being a racing driver is not a viable daily job haha, I work in a rubber manufacturing and trading firm. My company processes raw latex and supply our products to tire manufacturing companies.

Training

Question:        Is it physically demanding as a motorsports drivers?

Most people think that racing is easy, just sit in the car and turn the steering wheels. However, in this fire retardant attire and being in a race car cockpit where the temperature can reach up to 45 degs, it gets pretty hot. Racing drivers have to be fit to maintain our concentration especially in endurance events where 1 stint in the car can last up to 2 hours.

Question:        We usually know how an athlete would train for swimming, table tennis.  We are rather curious for motorsports drivers?  Can you share with us on how you train?

Since I started competitive driving, I focus on endurance training, I enjoy cycling and often go for 1-3 hour rides to work on my cardio performance. We have to be able to sustain a 60-70% heart rate for 1-2hours while being able to concentrate on racing.

Question:        Where do you train?

For my physical training and conditioning I enjoy cycling and join a group where we do round island cycling on the weekends. For racing, due to the lack of facilities, I do most of my race driving at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia where most of my races are held. The Singapore Touring Car Challenge is held at the Johor Circuit so I do go to that circuit also. I hope that the Singapore Changi circuit will be up soon so that I can do my driving locally.

Racing Experiences

Question:        We know that there are many levels and categories of motorsports racing.  Can you briefly share with us on the progressive level?

The pinnacle of motorsports is Formula 1, however, that is for what we call open wheeled cars. For touring cars (i.e. cars that resemble our road cars), the top category will have to be the WTCC (World Touring Car Championships). In our region, the most prestigious touring car race will be the ATCS (Asian Touring Car Championship). There are several other regional touring car championships also.

Question:        What are the races that you’ve participated?

I started with the 12 hour endurance race and have participated in that yearly since 2008. Earlier this year I took part in my first 24 hour race in Dubai where I finished 3rd in my class. Besides endurance racing, I do touring car races in both the Malaysian and Singapore championships and take part in Time attacks where I drive for Team LTM Performance 9tro.

Question:        What is the worst race experience that you’d so far?

This has to be my first 12 hour Race in 2008 where my team was in first position after 5 hours, it was then where the car started to misfire. My team dropped from first to 10th as we pitted to fix the problem. After the problem was solved, my team fought back brilliantly into 2nd place, then disaster! The engine blew after 11 hours and 54 minutes! I was totally devastated. A podium chance down the drain.

Question:        What about the best racing experience?

My 3rd place finish in this years 24 hours of Dubai! Its a truly international field of over 90 world class teams and 400 over drivers! Rubbing shoulders with the sport’s elite while finishing on the podium is was a great feeling!

Question:        Is there any rituals that you will go through before the race?

I am not superstitious but I am a organized person with a routine, I like my race suit and helmet all laid out in a fix manner, not so much for a ritual, more for ease of use.

Question:        What are running in your thoughts when you are racing?

When I am racing, I strive to be one with the car, as cliché as it sounds, when a driver has the ability to let the subconscious mind drive and be in auto pilot, that is where he will excel! I try not to think and clear my mind of distracting thoughts when I am racing. I just focus on the job in hand, the next corner and the next car to overtake.

24-Hour Dubai

Question:        We had heard a lot on you being the only Singaporean in the 24-Hour Dubai.  Would you be able to share more on this race?

Yes, this is a 24 hour non-stop endurance race which tests man and machine to their limits. Teams can have 3-5 drivers who take turn to race, each driving non-stop for 1-2hours at a time. The Dubai race is special as it is the first event of the motorsport calendar, big international teams attend this event as their pre-season warm up. I was racing with multiple World Touring Car Champions, GT racing champions and DTM stars etc. It was a prestigious event and being the only Singaporean to attend the event made it that much more special.

Question:        How do you feel after the race?

I was the last driver who took the car to the finishing line, which made it incredible, the emotions of completing my first ever 24 hour race was beyond words. Not only did I complete the race, my team finished 3rd! I was really happy and proud to fly the Singapore flag on the podium.

Closing

Question:        What are your future career plans in motorsports racing?

I will like to focus on winning the championships which I am in this year and hopefully move into the Asian Touring Car Series and then maybe into GT racing someday if budget or sponsorship opportunities allow. In any case, I want to be in motorsports for a long time.

Question:        Any advice for students like us, who are interested in motorsports?

There are many ways to enjoy motorsports, you can start from the grassroots levels like go-karting. Its excellent that K1 karting is doing their part to introduce motorsports to the masses. Karting is the most basic form of motorsports which is relatively affordable and extremely enjoyable too! If you have tried karting and got the motorsport bug, then keep at it and you never know where your passion and love for motorsports will bring you.

Question:        What is your greatest moment in motorsports?

I have not raced long enough to have any greatest moment worthy of sharing yet but being on the podium at Dubai was pretty incredible. Honestly, I am happiest whenever I am in a race car, competing in an event. So the greatest moment will be the next time I am in a race car, competing in a race!

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SMSA Singapore Touring Car Challenge – Podium Finish Despite Starting Last

The Singapore Motorsports Association (SMSA) held round 1 of the Singapore Touring Car Challenge at the Johor Circut on the 10th of July. This round saw many new and familiar participants alike. 9tro magazine was at the scene covering the event. For full event details check out their August issue. The format of the race was straight forward, 2 session of free practice each lasting 10 minutes and a qualifying race to determine the grid position for the final 10 lap race.

Conditions were perfect with the sun in our faces accompanied by a cool breeze. Free practice went along fine without any incidents allowing the drivers to test their cars and make the appropriate setup. Drivers had to draw lots to determine their starting postition for the qualifying race, I drew 8th and it was a standing start for a 3 lap qualifying race around the Pasir Gudang Circuit. The race started and my clutch was slipping after the launch, losing precious seconds, my competiors quickly surged ahead. It took me 2 laps to overtake the rest and eventually winning the qualifying race and qualifying 1st for the race proper.

Fresh tires check, alignment check, tire pressure check, we were good to go for the race. Out on the formation lap, disaster struck right at the point where I was rolling to the pole position, BOTH my front tires punctured! Lim Tan Performance (LTM) mechanics rushed to the scene with the hope of changing tires on the grid without losing my pole position. But alas! The stewards told me to pull into the pits to have my tires changed. This meant that I had been dropped from starting first to dead last. I thought these things only happened on television! Well tough luck, I calmed myself and told myself to focus on catching up as much as possible. I had a huge task ahead of me…

The race started with me in the pits, I had to wait for all the cars to clear before I was let out. By the time I entered the race track, the first position car was already past turn 4! Lap after lap, I drove to my plan, clean and fast while trying to conserve my tires (tough thing to do when you are attacking at a track like PG). I managed to claw my way back to 3rd place passing all the cars in the lower classes while eventually overtaking the Civic FD2R for 2nd place. Jonathan Xie who was piloting another FD2R was still miles ahead, however, I was catching him lap after lap, but as I ran out of laps and tires, I had to settle for 2nd place. Not bad considering I had a huge deficit to make up. It was my first time playing catch up like that, to be honest, I thought it made the racing more exciting but I would have much rather finished on the top step of the podium =) Till next round!

Some Pictures from the Event:


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Debut Win for Team LTM Performance – 9tro in MSS Round 2

In the 2nd round of the Malaysian Super Series (21st -22nd of May), new Singaporean team “LTM Performance – 9tro” successfully partnered with
racing driver Gerald Tan in the touring production class. Gerald finished 1st in race one and 2nd for race two.

“This is a dream start to the partnership following another Time Attack win just 2 weeks prior to the MSS. I hope that this momentum will carry on and lead to more synergistic partnerships in the future.” – Gerald

The next round of the MSS will be held at the Sepang International Circuit on the 2nd – 3rd of July.

Some pictures from the event:

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SingaporeSports.sg: Gerald Tan is only Singaporean in prestigious 24-hour Dubai endurance race

Five hours into the race, the Honda Integra DC2 was leading its class and pulling away strongly when the car started to misfire. Losing position from first to 10th, the car was called back into the pits. Problem fixed, the car brilliantly fought its way up to second place when the engine blew six minutes before the end of the 12-hour endurance race.

That was how Gerald Tan’s first ever race went.

The 28-year-old Singaporean was driving for Team Webstructures/VXL in the 2008 Merdeka Millenium Endurance Race (MMER). Prior to that, Gerald was only part of a support pit crew at MMER 2004 and 2005.

“I’ve always aspired to be a racing driver myself and I honed my skills by attending numerous track events, constantly trying to improve my lap times. I decided to take the leap in 2008 and joined the MMER. Since 2008 I have competed in MME thrice and won a couple of touring car races and time attack races,” said Gerald.

Gerald has always been interested in cars since a young age, playing with toy cars and creating race scenarios in his head for hours.

His interest in motorsports deepened when he followed Andy Tan, the boss of local workshop Espace Service, to the 2004 MMER and lent help as part of the support crew. He took part in the MMER again in 2009 and 2010, but the car has unfortunately always failed the team.

Before Gerald took part in endurance races, he was a regular trackie (term used to describe people who often take their cars to the track) and even won several track day events. Slowly but gradually, Gerald began to take part in more circuit races such as the Malaysian Super Series (MSS) or the ZeroToHundred Time To Attack series.

The last quarter of 2010 was a promising time for Gerald as he won the inaugural Singapore Touring Car Challenge in September and the Touring Car class at the last round of the MSS.

Kicking off his racing calendar for the new year is the 24H Dubai race over the third weekend of January 2011. This is the sixth edition of the 24-hour endurance race and Gerald is the only Singaporean out of the full grid of 90 teams from 19 different countries.

Present at this race are renowned drivers such as five-time DTM champion Bernd Schneider, former DTM champion Kurt Thiim, 2009 Dutch GT4 champion Christiaan Frankenhout, reigning German Porsche Carrera Cup champion Nicolas Armindi and two-time British Porsche Carrera Cup champion Damien Faulkner battling in cars like the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallarado, a mix of BMW Z4, M3, 325i and 1-Series, as well as 20 Porsches over the course of an entire day.

“This is my first race outside of South East Asia and also the first time I’m taking part in a 24-hour endurance race. It is a huge event with many high-profiled drivers taking part. I am proud to represent Singapore and I’m sure I will learn a lot as well as make new friends,” Gerald shared.

He added, “My immediate expectation for the race is to have an uneventful race with minimum hiccups and a podium finish will be a bonus!”

When Gerald is not under pressure to maintain a fast time for continuous hours, he works full-time as an international representative of Rotora Inc, a USA-based aftermarket brake manufacturer. His role is to appoint distributors outside of the States, Russia and Japan. He also assists in their brake system development by testing them in races and providing driver feedback afterward.

During his free time, he plays sports such as soccer or golf, otherwise he will be at a track sharing proper driving techniques and helping friends improve their lap times.

“My objective is to win an international series such as the GT4 Asia Cup, which I’m currently raising funds to participate in. My ultimate goal is the chance to compete in the 24 hours of Le Mans (24 Heures du Mans) one day!” Gerald concluded.

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TESTIMONIAL: Nexus Racing

“Having first worked with Gerald (Tan) on his DC2 car in the 2008 Merdeka Millenium Endurance Race and then again on the DC5 in the 2010 Malaysian Super Seires, it is apparent that he has developed a sound foundation as a professional race driver in the last two years. He is able to understand the dynamics and engineering involved in a competition vehicle, and act upon the sensory information relayed from the vehicle’s steering, tyres, seat, pedals and more, to produce outstanding results of very decent lap times. I look forward to working with him again and have no doubt that we will see him more often on the podium.” – CQ Loh, Team Engineer, Nexus Racing

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Gerald finishes 1st and 3rd at MSS 2010 Rd 7!

It was a fantastic weekend at the Sepang International Circuit!

At the Malaysian Super Series Round 7 over the weekend, Singaporean Gerald Tan (Team 9tro Nexus Racing/Honda Integra) finished 1st in Race 1 and 3rd in Race 2 for the Malaysian Touring Car category.

Stay tuned for Gerald’s thoughts and feelings from the weekend!

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