Croatian driver Martin Kodric is confident of challenging for silverware with the inaugural Blancpain GT Series Asia opener just hours away. The 19-year-old is under no allusions to the difficulty of the task at hand as he takes his first steps into the Asian arena with Vincenzo Sospiri Racing. New circuits, different climate, and working as a new pairing, are just some of the challenges the young racer will be adapting to this weekend (April 7-9).
But after a superb run in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Europe in 2016, that saw him collect a win and podiums on his way to fourth overall, he is confident of making a major impression this season as well.
He said: “Testing went really well and I feel ready to show what I can do. It’s obviously a new format for me and brings with it a lot of different challenges. But I’ve been working hard pre-season and feel in great shape. “We’ll know more about where we stand compared to other drivers and teams after this first weekend, but it’s the same for everyone. Now I just can’t wait to get going.”
Martin will partner Thailand’s Sandy Stuvik in VSR’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in the Pro category of the championship, that has also signed up manufacturers including Porsche, Ferrari and McLaren.
The 2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia features a 12-race calendar spread over six weekends, starting in Sepang, Malaysia this weekend and moving on to the Chang International Circuit, Thailand in May. Drivers then compete at Suzuka and Fuji in Japan, in June and August, and finish in China - at Shanghai in September and Zhejiang in October.
Based on British GT Championship format, recognised as one of the most successful national GT series in the world, each round will consist of two 60-minute races with both drivers qualifying the car and starting a race. It will also benefit from the world-renown BOP (Balance of Performance) - balancing each car in each class to perform at equal speeds. For Martin, it means not only getting used to new tracks and conditions, but also sharing responsibility with another driver for the first time.
He continued: “The hot circuits promote tyre wear a lot quicker, so it’s something I will need to learn to manage. Sandy and I will also need to get used to working with each other in race conditions, so hopefully our relationship can keep growing the more time we spend together. I’m really looking forward to this developing and seeing what we can do with the team the longer we get to work with each other.”
Martin undertook a busy pre-season program that not only meant valuable testing time, but also saw him chosen by the Lamborghini family to be one of the Lamborghini Esperienza coaches – showing how highly he is thought of, already.
Despite being one of the youngest and least experienced drivers in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Europe series last season, his emergence was also one of the highlights - and saw him pick up the Talent of the Year prize at the FIA Central Europe Zone awards. But now he is ready to turn his attention to what he loves doing best – on the race track.
Fraser Sheader, director of performance and management team ADD Motorsports, added: “We’re really looking forward to seeing how Martin adapts this weekend – he has a lot to take on board, but is definitely up to the challenge. It is all new to him this season and until the first race has finished it is hard to guage exactly where we are. But the experience will bring with it different skills and knowledge and will add to the portfolio of circuits he has raced at around the world, which will be of great benefit to him in the future.”