- Sky Tempesta Racing storms from last to claim P3 in Bronze class after qualifying troubles
- Hong Kong driver contributes to flawless team performance in France
- Hui, Froggatt and Cheever maintain class P2 in GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup drivers’ standings
An exhilarating round of endurance racing took place in France as the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS travelled to Circuit Paul Ricard for the second round of the Endurance Cup. Jonathan Hui (HKG) performed brilliantly with his teammates Chris Froggatt (GBR) and Eddie Cheever III (ITA) to muscle their #93 Sky Tempesta Racing McLaren 720S GT3 Evo from the back of the grid to unexpectedly claim the final spot on the class podium despite the struggles early in the weekend. A monumental effort saw the trio drive their heart out for the 6-hour enduro and score valuable championship points, despite starting from last on the grid due to Qualifying troubles, to maintain their P2 spot in the Bronze class drivers’ standings.
Hong Kong driver Hui travelled to the south of France with high hopes of repeating his triumph at the famous Paul Ricard 1,000km from his 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe campaign. His preparation and familiarity with the 5.77km track shone through as he punched in the second fastest time out of all Bronze-rated drivers in the official Bronze test. However, the team was hit with a significant setback on Saturday as the car was hit from behind in the second part of Qualifying and sustained damage to the Sky-liveried #93 McLaren. Unable to complete the grid-setting session, the team was classified last on the starting order, with a seemingly impossible task of making it back to the front in less than 6 hours.
Starting from the back of the 57-car grid and with nothing to lose, the British squad pursued an aggressive strategy, choosing to start the race with Cheever. The Italian driver looked extremely strong despite the lack of top speed in the car, incredibly making up more than 25 positions in the overall standings by the end of the first hour. By the time Hui got into the car, the team was already in the mix, running in a solid P8 out of the 18 Bronze class entries. He clocked in consistent lap times to keep the car within contention for the podium, driving flat out to maximise his first stint before handing the control over to Froggatt.
The British driver made constant inroads as the daylight faded away over Le Castellet and the headlights started to come on. At the halfway mark, it was time for Hui’s second stint with the team now in the top-25 overall and P7 in class. The Hong Kong ace dug deep for the entirety of the 1-hour stint to remain close to the cars in front and even executed an assertive overtake to elevate his team to P6. Nailing the pit stop strategy and executing flawless maintenance stops helped the trio avoid losing any unnecessary time, which put them right on track for the podium fight. By the time Froggatt completed his final stint, the Sky Tempesta Racing car was incredibly running P4 in class, with a real shot at a podium.
It was down to Cheever to bring it home, as he looked to make up a significant margin to the car in front in hopes of completing a well-earned redemption story for Hui and the entire squad. Eventually, it came down to driving consistently and remaining within the track limits under extremely tricky conditions in the darkness which handed them P3 in class as the chequered flag finally fell.
Securing their second Bronze class podium of the season came as a result of an all-around stellar effort by the drivers, engineers and mechanics. The outcome was all the more impressive considering they finished in P18 overall, making up 39 positions from the start of the endurance classic. Scoring 19 points, the trio manage to salvage valuable championship points and keep the title fight alive, maintaining the P2 in the drivers’ standings. Additionally, it is a massive boost in confidence for the entire Sky Tempesta Racing outfit as they head to the iconic 24 Hours of Spa in a few weeks’ time.
Jonathan Hui | Driver, #93 Sky Tempesta Racing McLaren 720S GT3 Evo “After being unable to complete Qualifying due to damage sustained on the car, we knew we had to adopt an aggressive strategy to try and fight our way back into a points-scoring position, starting from last, to keep our championship hopes alive. We drove flat out the entire 6 hours which was tough given that there was only 1 short safety car period at the beginning of the race. The performance of the team and my teammates was flawless this weekend, and to reach P3 in class is beyond my expectation.”
Chris Froggatt | Driver, #93 Sky Tempesta Racing McLaren 720S GT3 Evo “Wow, pretty cool race! After damage putting us out of Qualifying, starting dead last and making up 39 places to finish 3rd in class is so exciting! Really proud of my teammates, and their conviction to keep pushing and manage a clean fast race. These were some very important points towards the championship and a great way to maintain momentum for the upcoming 24 Hours of Spa”
Eddie Cheever III | Driver, #93 Sky Tempesta Racing McLaren 720S GT3 Evo “Really proud of the whole team. We knew that it would be a difficult and challenging race starting from dead last but we managed with good pace, perfect pitstops and especially no penalties to achieve a very important P3 that gives us a good boost for the next big race at the 24 Hours of Spa”