New Zealand’s Craig Baird and the VnC Cocktail brand head to China for this weekend’s opening round of the 2010 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, as one of 23 drivers and teams
Contested over six events, starting with this weekend’s Formula One race in China, 39-year-old Queensland based Kiwi Baird says it’s a statement about how capable New Zealanders are on the world stage.
“We’ve got a New Zealand crew, we’re all on New Zealand passports, and we’re backed by New Zealand’s VnC Cocktails – a New Zealand made product. In China we’re going to be looked after by representatives from New Zealand Trade & Enterprise – who are helping with the VnC Cocktails brand there.”
Fastest during pre-season testing in Malaysia, Baird will drive the brand new 2010 edition of Porsche’s 911 GT3 Cup car type 997. However, Baird notes the mixture of professional teams and drivers from Europe and Asia won’t make it easy racing.
“Biggest challenge will be making sure we go up the right path with setup and make the right calls. My toughest opposition, defending champion Christian Menzel (Germany), has knowledge of all the test driving performed with the new car and should know its characteristics. Rodolfo Avila (Macau) is a bit of an unknown, having won races up there before.”
Plus, a late entry by former champion Darryl O’Young (Hong Kong), adds to the international depth Baird has to outclass.
“It’s easier to race two than one. When you add a third element one has to defend, one has to pass, so it opens up the racing to be more enjoyable.”
Running the car for Team Porsche Club Singapore (Team PCS), two mechanics from Triple X Motorsport have the advantage of having worked with Baird over the summer season to secure another successive Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge title. Already en-route to China, they will be joined later in the week by Baird MNZM, who has just completed his investiture ceremony at Government House having been named in the 2010 New Year honours list.
Shanghai International Circuit, at 5.451 kilometres, will be Baird’s first Porsche race around the Formula One venue. Rewarded with 20 championship points and US$2500 for a race win, teams’ contest two races during the weekend – each recorded as a separate championship round.