Veni, Vidi, Vici. Chris Chia and Lorcan Hanafin had never been to the Bangsaen Grand Prix before, but by last Sunday evening they had stamped their names into rich history books of the iconic street race with two stunning Super Car GT3 race wins out of two, imperiously dismissing all their rivals with hard fought victories that had the spectators on the edge of their seats.

Last Saturday they won Race 1 with an inch perfect drive from pole, but in Sunday’s Race 2 they did it the hard way.

After putting the car in the wall during last Friday’s first qualifying session they were forced to sit out the following second run and that meant they started from the back of the grid for Sunday’s race.

The performance they put in as they battled to the front was simply racecraft at its finest, two drivers that were quite determined to win, at one with their car on one of the toughest and most demanding tracks in Asia and no one would get between them and the top step of the podium. Men and their machine in perfect harmony – and totally on one.

Sometimes racing history feels predetermined and this really felt like that. Two guys that rocked up and tamed the monster at their first attempt. This isn’t how the script is supposed to be written?

And along the way the fans were dished up one of the most exciting GT3 races ever to grace the mean streets of Bangsaen.

But it wasn’t just about them. Singha Motorsport Team Thailand’s blue and white Ferrari rocked back into the game with impressive driving on show from Voravud Bhirombhakdi and Carlo Van Dam, the team putting a tough recent run of form firmly behind them.

B-Quik Absolute Racing walked off with the Team’s trophies, but in terms of the drivers, Toyota Gazoo Racing Thailand on a clean run of podiums this year are in the championship hunt and it wasn’t just about Super Car GT3 as GTM, GT4 and GTC all enjoyed thrilling races.


“I was fortunate enough to drive Monaco last year and it has nothing on this place,” were the first words from a delighted Hanafin as he won Super Car GT3’s first race, driving alongside the 2022 China Endurance Champion, Chia.

In truth they made it all look a little bit easy on these mean and demanding streets as they led from green lights to chequered flag, bar the pit window’s temporary shakeup to the order, the pair comfortably absorbing two Safety Car periods that wiped out their hard-earned cushions.

But let’s rewind one hour. It was hot and dry as the GT3 cars took to the grid in the mid-afternoon sunshine and the only opening laps pass was the Lexus RC F of Manat Kulapalanont on the Ferrari 488 GT3 of Bhirombhakdi.

However, a couple of laps into the race the #25 Audi with Adisak Tangphuncharoen behind the wheel suffered a hit with the barriers and that brought out the Safety Car. It also upended the points situation as Tangphuncharoen and his teammate, Akash Nandy, were leading the championship coming into this race.

From the green lights, pole sitter Chia quickly pulled out a lead but the Safety Car tore that up. However, once it went in, he was able to haul out a 6 second advantage before he stopped to hand over to Hanafin.

Then the Ferrari hit the barriers out of the Monument. However, it buried itself into the forgiving layers of TECPRO and as the crane winched it into the air the Italian car looked relatively unscathed.

That denoted the start of another Safety Car period and when the cars were eventually released it was a B-Quik Absolute Racing 1-2-3 on track. That set up a titanic battle between Eshan Pieris in the #26 in P2 and Markus Winkelhock in the #55 with the German swarming all over the back of the Sri Lankan for lap after lap. That allowed Hanafin to pull out a few seconds at the front and build up a cushion that would give him security.

Behind the top three Audis, the Lexus and Aston Martin were locked in a battle for P4 with the Viper Niza car finally showing a real turn of pace.

Over the final laps Pieris absorbed huge pressure from Winkelhock but was able to hold his place and claim the runners up spot 2.288 seconds behind Hanafin who was able to control matters at the front as his rivals locked horns. The former F1 driver brought the car over the line to make it a B-Quik Absolute 1-2-3 with the Lexus fourth and the Aston Martin fifth.

Super Car GTM was also a hard-fought affair and the win would eventually go to the Alpha Factory Racing Team by Pulzar Porsche driven by Jakrapan Davee and Phaophong Chanchalia, just two seconds clear of the Lexus RCF GTM driven by veteran Nattavude Charoensukhawatana.

After trying times for Vattana Motorsport it was pleasing to see them return to the paddock and put a car on the podium as Saravut Sereethoranakul and Afiq Yazid raced their Lamborghini to third place.

Fourth went to the AAS Porsche of Kantadhee Kusiri and Nattachak Hanjitkasem, they were in the hunt at the front but a left front puncture in the dying minutes of the race threw them down the order, However, they were able to salvage fourth and a lot of wing damage to the car was repaired in the garage overnight.

Making it two Vattana Lamborghinis on the podium was the sister Gallardo driven by Akihiro Asai and Pitsanu Sirimongkolkasem.

Disappointingly, after huge efforts by the CRE crew, the new ‘Marc Cars’ Ford Mustang, which had been sitting it out since a big hit with the barriers a couple of days previously in practice, was finally repaired but was out after a lap and a half after contact with another car.

GT4 victory went to the AMG GT4 driven Nattanid Leewattanavalagul and Dechathorn Phuakkarawut ahead of the B-Quik Absolute Porsche Cayman of Iaro Razanakoto and Chanon Asavasangsidhi.

In Super Car GTC victory went to the AAS Porsche Cayman of Malaysian driver Putera Adam while Full Function had its best result to date, driver Thanapongpan Sutamno doing a superb job to bring the McLaren home in P2.

Jack Lemvard was third in the Ford Mustang. Trips to the barriers for Manuel Rafael Caceres (Nissan GT-R R35) and Rafael Galiana (Daytona GT Coupe) weren’t serious enough though to keep their cars out of Race 2.


Seconds after the lights turned green for Super Car GT3’s second race, the pole sitting Singha Ferrari started by Van Dam was edged out at Turn 2 as Winkelhock in the #55 B-Quik Absolute Audi took every advantage that the outside of the front row can offer up when the pack reaches the second corner if you can hook it together and get the polesitter over hustling through Turn 1 which is his call. Behind Winkelhock, a second B-Quik Absolute Audi, the #25, took full advantage of the Ferrari going wide to nip through.

The Aston Martin would soon be in the pits with right hand front corner damage and later, at one third distance, Dominic Ang would run wide at Turn 15 and into the TECPRO barriers but bounce back, collect it and get back in the race. In the wars but still fighting, down, bruised and bloodied – but Viper Niza Racing don’t know how to lie down for the count.

Meanwhile, Hanafin was driving like a Bangsaen veteran – or maybe a man possessed – and as the pitstops shook up the running order, in a cheeky move, the Englishman elbowed his way inside Van Dam round the S2 Hotel hairpin for P2 just as half distance hove into view.

At the front Winkelhock had disappeared into the distance – as one would expect from a pro of his calibre. Give the German a racetrack and clear air and you are going to be eating dust, such is his class.

With track position it looked like the #55 Audi could make a run for the win. However, a clutch problem at the driver changeover left Floriendo with a box full of neutrals and out of the game although a fighting drive by the Filipino driver over the closing stages allowed the white, red and grey car to nab the final step of the podium.

Hanafin, meanwhile, smoothly delivered the #27 car to Chia who needed no invitation as he simply went for it. Chia passed the sister #25 Audi for P2 on the inside around Turn 18 with 17 minutes left on the clock as the two Audis swapped places. Now they hunted down the race leading Ferrari.

Behind the wheel of the #89 Ferrari, former Super Car champion Bhirombhakdi was driving one of the finest races of his career with a car that was a long way from being the pick of the field and absorbing huge pressure from Chia who was swarming all over him for lap after lap.

With 12 minutes to go Chia got it all out of sorts exiting the Monument and whacked the wall but was able to continue unscathed. Two laps later though he swept past the Ferrari at Turn 18 and but then the Ferrari regained the lead at the Turn 6 hairpin as Chia made a mistake and ran wide. Question marks were thrown up as this corner is a permanent yellow, but in truth the Ferrari had nowhere else to go.

Any discussions opening up in the stewards’ room would be swiftly rendered immaterial as with 5 minutes to go the Ferrari ran very wide into Turn 18, so wide in fact it only just missed the barriers and Chia made a carbon copy of his pass here a few laps earlier.

Then with less than 4 minutes left on the clock Tangphuncharoen put the #26 Audi into the barriers on the exit of the Monument and the Safety Car was deployed and that was it done and dusted.

One of the greatest races at Bangsaen was over, everyone could breathe out.

Chia and Hanafin had created history while Bhirombhakdi chased him over the line nose to tail, a superb result for the Ferrari which is counting down its racing days. A further two and a half seconds back, Henk Kiks and Eshan Pieris took a very strong third place.

Such was the pace of the battle at the front that these three cars lapped the rest of the field with fourth going to the Lexus RC F of Horthongkum and Kulapalanont while the #55 Audi recovered to finish fifth and the Aston Martin was sixth.

In Super Car GTM Davee and Chanchalia made it two wins out of two. In Race 2 they enjoyed very comfortable 9.5 second margin over the AAS Porsche of Kusiri and Hanjitkasem, the latter crew bouncing back after their puncture the day before.

With the tell-tale sign of a new black plastic front end on its Porsche, thanks to a late race crash in Race 1, Fire Monkey Motorsport had a much better race to finish in P3, Shaun Thong and Simon Chan keeping it on the road and keeping it quick. This pairing is settling into Super Car very well and getting faster and faster with each outing.

Sereethoranakul and Yazid in fourth made it podiums on both days for Vattana Motorsport’s Lamborghinis. However, the sister Gallardo of Asai and Sirimongkolkasem had a big shunt on lap 13 that ripped the front and rear right hand side corners off.

There was also a good news story for the new Marc Cars Ford Mustang driven by Craig Corliss and Sam Collins.

The team had made a huge effort to repair the car in time for Race 1 after a big whack into the wall in practice, digging deep and building some parts from scratch, only to be out after a lap. That incident however proved to require only a minor repair so with just a couple of laps under its belt it was pleasing that the car completed 21 laps and earned Corliss and Collins a place on the GTM Am podium.

In GT4 there was a first win for the B-Quik Absolute Porsche Cayman driven by Razanakoto and Asavasangsidhi.

In Super Car GTC the numerically superior Ford Mustangs grabbed the Race 2 win thanks to the sterling efforts of Jaylyn Robotham in the #88 with the Race 1 runner up Sutamno delivering a second P2 in Race 2 to cap a superb weekend for the Full Function team.

The previous day’s GTC winner, Adam, followed that up with third place while Lemvard, third in Race 1, added a second podium to his weekend tally, this time he was fourth. Cem Yudulmaz (Mustang) and Galiana wrapped up the top six.

KS Racing/C&C Motorsport had a day to forget and with their Supra entry ruled out their hopes were in the hands of ‘Rafa’ Caceres in the Nissan GT-R R35. However, he was eliminated from the action after a hard hit on with the barriers.

And that was it for the Bangsaen Grand Prix 2023, an epic week in the heat with close, nail-biting racing.

But now attention quickly turns to the next round which takes the series back to Malaysia and the iconic Sepang International Circuit.

TSS 2023 Calendar:

Event 1: Chang International Circuit, 20-23 April
Event 2: Chang International Circuit, 26-28 May*
Event 3: Bangsaen Grand Prix (27 June-2 July)
Event 4: Sepang International Circuit (25-27 August)**
Event 5: Chang International Circuit (15-17 December)
Invitational Event: Singapore Grand Prix (15-17 September)***

* Excludes Super Car GT3, Super Car GTM & Super Car GTC
** Excludes Super Pickup, Super Compact & Super Eco
*** Non-Championship

About B-Quik Thailand Super Series

B-Quik Thailand Super Series (TSS) is a leading Asian circuit racing championship and the premier series in ASEAN region with a diverse multi category programme headlined by an exclusive FIA GT3 category.

The series portfolio includes further standalone categories for GTM, GT4, touring car, production car, eco car and truck. More than 150 cars take part in TSS events. TSS was formed in 2013, this year represents the 11th season.

Calendar highlight is the iconic Bangsaen Grand Prix, a street race that takes place on an FIA sanctioned 3.7 km temporary track located approximately 80 km from Bangkok.

This year the series will hold a full championship rounds in Thailand and Malaysia as well as a non-championship race in Singapore.

TSS also organises “TSS The Super Series”, a prestigious invitational support race to the Singapore Grand Prix.

TSS is promoted by Racing Spirit.


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