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Formula One & Porsche Carrera Free Practice Sessions

Fans of Ho-Pin with a flag

Yesterday morning we decided to drive to the Shanghai Circuit to check out the first free practice sessions of the Formula One and of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. Scott loves Formula One and he went to the circuit with us last year as well, but Elaine had never been here (she is just 2 years old), so we decided to take her as well. Joop Dorresteijn and Suna also joined us, especially to watch our unitedstyles colleague Alexandre Imperatori and our friend Ho-Pin Tung race in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.

Driving to the race track in (Formula One driver) Felipe Massa's Maserati

We left by 9:15 AM and arrived at the circuit at 10 AM. Our driver is a good friend of the driver of F1 driver Felipe Massa, so he arranged for us to be picked up and be driven to the entrance of the circuit in Massa’s Maserati Quattroporte. A beautiful car! In China I don’t want to have a fancy car, but should I ever live outside China I could imagine buying this car. Scott also loves the Maserati, and of course his input is also important for car buying decisions these days!

Shanghai Formula One 2012

At the circuit we found some seats on the Grand Stand right at the start and finish line, so we had a good view of the pit lane and all the activity going on there. I love the sound of the F1 cars, and even during the free practice it’s important to wear ear protection. Elaine was less impressed and even Scott found it quite loud (despite wearing ear plugs and noise canceling Bose headphones).

Scott & Elaine watching Formula One

At a certain point Elaine even wanted to go home because of all the loud noise, so we walked out to the backside of the Grand Stand where the noise level was a lot less. Elaine also kept on asking where Alexandre and Ho-Pin were, she knows both drivers well and she doesn’t know the difference between F1 and Porsche yet.

No advertising allowed at the race track (Costa Coffee)

After the free practice of F1 was over the Porsche cars got ready for their free training session. Ho-Pin had told my wife through Weibo that they would put their cars at the Red Bull pit box, so after grabbing a cup of coffee at Costa Coffee (without the Costa because of the strict F1 regulations on advertising…) we moved to a place in front of Red Bull F1 where they would put there cars.

Alex & Ho-Pin's cars before the start

It’s a real coincidence that Ho-Pin and Alex both race for the same team in the same class now. I have known Ho-Pin for 9 years now (since I produced a TV program in the UK in which he featured) and have followed his career closely over the years. I have only known Alex for about 2 years, but I see him much more often because he lives down the road from me and he has been working for for the past couple of months (he studied Computer Science and among others programmed our iPad app).

Elaine watching the races

The kids were very excited to see Alex and Ho-Pin, especially when they waved at us before the the practice started. I had shown Scott pictures of their cars in advance, so he knew exactly which car was Alex’s and which belonged to Ho-Pin. At the start oft he practice Ho-Pin started quite soon, but Alex waited a bit to save his tires. Once he started he picked up the pace quite quickly and managed to drive a 3rd time in the first practice and a 1st one (and therefore pole position) in the second practice. Ho-Pin was new to this class and was a bit slower, bit still managed to set a good time. He spinned once, which was a bit scary, but he managed to avoid the wall and could continue the practice.

Ho Pin Tung in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia 2012 @ Shanghai Circuit

Foto: G. Kremer / Twitter: @mgk54 – all rights reserved

Scott and Elaine later told me that they liked the Porsche Carrera Cup much better because it was less loud. Of course the cars are a bit slower, but they don’t really realize that. For them the whole experience of fast cars, big screens and lots of cheering people is what counts.

Alexandre Imperatori in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia 2012 @ Shanghai Circuit

Foto: G. Kremer / Twitter: @mgk54 – all rights reserved

After the practice was over we looked at some Mercedes-Benz cars (Scott loved the red SLS!) and at the Porsches (Scott liked the Carrera better than the Boxster because it has back seats, but would prefer met to buy a Panamera or a Cayenne – who knows…). After that we met up with Ho-Pin Tung and Alexandre Imperatori for a quick chat. The kids were very happy and we took some pictures with them. Interesting is that one of Ho-Pins fans was there and she came to me and gave me a picture of Scott and me. It took me a few seconds to realize that she took it last year at the race track, and that she had decided to bring it to this race because she thought she might see me here!

Ho-Pin Tung & Alexandre Imperatori with Scott & Elaine

After wishing the 2 drivers good luck we decided to go back to Shanghai to do some work. Elaine fell asleep straight away in the car, but Scott was so excited that he stayed awake the whole ride and did not even take a nap later in the afternoon. At night he wanted to watch the movie Cars again because he liked the racing cars so much. I had a great time and my family as well!

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