After launching the new China Electric Touring Car Challenge at the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix last month, Zhuhai Formula Racing Development Co. Ltd. (FRD) contested their first event with the impressive NIO ES8 SUV at the Tianjin V1 Auto World Circuit outside Beijing on May 18-19, the manufacturer, teams and FRD themselves claiming it a great success as the first of a proposed series of races in coming months.
12-cars were prepared by FRD ahead of the opening event, with a strong collection of drivers with past production car experience, giving them a solid foundation from which to work.
The new V1 Auto World Circuit near Beijing was the scene of the very first event with teams and drivers getting a chance to shake the all-new cars down on the new venue, a circuit that combines a good mix of straights, hard-braking corners, and a very technical midfield that tested both drivers and the ES8 SUV.
Featuring 480-Kilowatts of power and an impressive 840Nm of torque, the four door SUV could stretch itself towards its top speed of more than 200kph at V1, with 100kph coming up in just 4.4-seconds so it took a little time for the teams to get their heads around the performance of the car, and the optimum setup.
By the close of qualifying Thomas Leung held pole position with the only sub-1:20 lap of the V1 Circuit, he took the top spot from Paul Poon by just over four tenths of a second, with just 35 one thousandths separating Poon from Paul Ho in third.
20-minutes was the scheduled distance for the opening race, and it was a spirited affair with some great battles up and down the field, although all ten drivers were eager to put on a showing of the performance of the new NIO ES8 without getting involved in contact.
Oliver Lee was the big mover through the field, working his way from the fourth row of the grid to be second at the flag, right on the tail of the inaugural race-winner Paul Poon.
Pole-sitter Thomas Leung held on as long as he could before succumbing to his rivals, leaving him a distant third at the line with Stephen Lee and Kenny Chun close behind
Oliver Lee went one better in race two, which without the intervention of a Safety Car saw the field cover 15 uninterrupted laps, Kenny Chun using that extra mileage to close to within 2.3-seconds of the race leader, but comfortably clear of the epic battle for third between Thomas Leung, Stephen Lee and Kenneth Ma, the three cars covered by just on a second as they crossed the line, with Paul Ip an impressive sixth off the rear of the grid.
Post-event the debut round of the new NIO ES8 SUV was declared a great success by the teams, the manufacturer and FRD whom had pieced the event together, FRD’s Kenneth Ma declaring that a full season calendar would be released in coming weeks off the back of their maiden event at V1.
1. 22. Thomas Leung (NIO ES8 SUV) – 1:19.697
2. 66. Paul Poon (NIO ES8 SUV) – 1:20.245
3. 11. Paul Ho (NIO ES8 SUV) – 1:20.280
4. 88. Tommy Ku (NIO ES8 SUV) – 1:20.925
5. 51. Paul Ip (NIO ES8 SUV) – 1:21.027
6. 16. Stephen Lee (NIO ES8 SUV) – 1:21.211
7. 99. Oliver Lee (NIO ES8 SUV) – 1:21.262
8. 13. Kenneth Ma (NIO ES8 SUV) – 1:21.544
9. 28. Kenny Chun (NIO ES8 SUV) – 1:22.702
10. 98. Michael Lee (NIO ES8 SUV) – 1:26.141
1. 66. Paul Poon (NIO ES8 SUV) – 10-laps
2. 99. Oliver Lee (NIO ES8 SUV) +0.825
3. 22. Thomas Leung (NIO ES8 SUV) +7.694
4. 16. Stephen Lee (NIO ES8 SUV) +8.088
5. 28. Kenny Chun (NIO ES8 SUV) +8.927
6. 88. Tommy Ku (NIO ES8 SUV) +9.657
7. 13. Kenneth Ma (NIO ES8 SUV) +9.9368. 9
8. Michael Lee (NIO ES8 SUV) +10.384
1. 99. Oliver Lee (NIO ES8 SUV) – 15-laps
2. 28. Kenny Chun (NIO ES8 SUV) +2.392
3. 22. Thomas Leung (NIO ES8 SUV) +8.441
4. 16. Stephen Lee (NIO ES8 SUV) +9.052
5. 13. Kenneth Ma (NIO ES8 SUV) +9.626
6. 51. Paul Ip (NIO ES8 SUV) +14.629
7. 88. Tommy Ku (NIO ES8 SUV) +23.747
8. 98. Michael Lee (NIO ES8 SUV) +24.144
9. 11. Paul Ho (NIO ES8 SUV) – 11-laps
10. 66. Paul Poon (NIO ES8 SUV) – 0-laps
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