The new racing season for Pasin Lathouras has kicked off with the opening day of pre-season testing, the first of four scheduled tests before his 2014 race programme gets underway with Round 1 of the British GT Championship in a little over five weeks’ time.
However, there is a major difference with this pre-season compared to previous years as for the first time the Thai youngster isn’t hitting a racetrack in Asia, rather the UK’s Oulton Park Circuit was the venue as Pasin was strapped into the cockpit to record his first on track kilometers of the year.
This will be the biggest leap of Pasin’s career so far as he steps up from racing in his native Asia and starts to compete in the toughest arena of global motorsport, Europe. Gone is the first stage of this young driver’s path, now he’s in the bright lights and has to dig deep and raise himself to another competitive level.
Even more than a big step forward Pasin has chosen the path that has been trodden by so many of the world’s greatest drivers who came from across the world to race and make their name in England. Brazilian legends, such as Ayrton Senna, Rubens Barrichello and Nelson Piquet travelled half way round the globe to prove themselves against the best Europe had to offer on famous English tracks such as Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Donington Park.
Pasin has come across the world from the opposite direction to do exactly the same – to prove himself. And like the others his commitment is absolute, he has swapped university in Bangkok for London and he will be located in the English capital this year, although the Thai youngster plans on several trips home during the next six months.
Pasin will contest the British GT Championship where he will be up against top drivers and top teams in the latest FIA GT3-compiant machines meaning he will have to learn and get up to speed quickly and prove himself to a team of the stature of AF Corse.
His eight race British GT programme will start next month, however his pre-season is now underway and it all kicked off last week with the first of four tests that will see Pasin getting used to new tracks and settling in with the team and his new teammate, experienced British sports car driver Richard Lyons. It all leaves the youngster with a lot of work to accomplish.
Richard is the perfect teammate for Pasin. Fast, experienced and successful, his racing career has mostly been focused on Japan where his title highlights include the Formula Nippon single seater series and Japanese Super GT GT500 champion with the factory NISMO Nissan team. Last year he was third in Super GT’s GT300 class in an Audi R8 LMS Ultra.
Richard’s long experience of sports cars and knowledge of British race tracks will be of benefit to Pasin who now has a confirmed teammate he can both rely on and learn from.
“I’m very happy to have the opportunity to race in the British GT Championship with AF Corse this year, to continue with this top international team after my races in Asia with them last year is great,” Pasin said. “This is the career break I have dreamed of for so long, to come here where all the best sports car drivers in the world race. I’m delighted that Richard Lyons will be my team mate, he’s very experienced, fast, reliable and a proven winner, I hope to be able to learn a lot from him and I hope to contribute to the partnership.
“But also, realistically, I now have a huge opportunity, a fast team, a fast car and a fast teammate, so now I have to work harder than I have ever done to deliver and pay back the faith that so many people have placed in me, especially also my sponsors and many many Thai people who have helped and encouraged me so far in my career. I hardly need to say I’m motivated and excited and looking forward to the start of the season next month.”
Oulton Park offered a big contrast to previous years as Pasin kicked off his pre-season testing in chilly conditions; temperatures were around 11 degrees C, but in dry conditions, although the skies were quite overcast.
This 4.3-km, 17-turn racetrack, located in the North West of England close to the historic Roman-established city of Chester is one of the UK’s older circuits, having first hosted motor races sixty years ago. Relatively small and narrow by today’s standards, Oulton Park is tricky and demanding with sharply changing gradients, tight corners and blind crests.
It wasn’t all new though for Pasin as he was back behind the wheel of Ferrari’s 458 GT3, a car he already is familiar with having raced this breed of FIA GT3 machine several times last year. But it was the first time he had ever turned a racecar wheel in the UK as he got to work with his new teammate.
“It was great to be back in the cockpit, it feels like a long time since the end of the last season,” he said afterwards. “The test was really about getting into the car and getting a look at the team and this circuit, so we didn’t push hard or go for times as there was also other traffic because this was a open test day. We have a lot of work to do before the start of the season but it’s good to be underway and I think we are all very focused on getting a serious challenge together.”
Pasin will be back on track next week, March 19, for his second pre-season test, this time taking place at the Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk.
Pasin’s pre season test schedule:
04/03/2014 Oulton Park (completed)
01/04/2014 Spa-Francorchamps (TBC)
08/04/2014 Donington Park
2014 British GT Championship Calendar
19-21/04/2014 Oulton Park (GB) – 1 hour race (2)
04-05/05/2014 Rockingham (GB) – 2 hour race (1)
31-01/06/2014 Silverstone (GB) – 3 hour race (1)
21-22/06/2014 Snetterton (GB) – 1 hour race (2)
11-12/07/2014 Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) – 1 hour race (2)
30-31/08/2014 Brands Hatch (GB) – 2 hour race (1)
13-14/09/2014 Donington Park (GB) – 2 hour race (1)
About Pasin Lathouras
Pasin Lathouras is a 20-year-old Thai sportscar driver competing in the 2014 British GT Championship with AF Corse. He is the 2013 Ferrari Challenge Asia-Pacific Champion.
Born and resident in Bangkok, where he is attending Webster University, Pasin started racing karts in 2006, winning major titles in Thailand as well as representing his home nation in overseas world finals. He progressed to the region’s premier single-seater category, Formula BMW Asia, before stepping up to sportscars in 2012 to contest the Ferrari Challenge Asia-Pacific, winning races and clinching the championship’s runners-up spot. In 2013 he won the Ferrari Challenge Asia-Pacific Championship with 9 wins from 14 races including the last 7 consecutively.
Source. FastTrack Media