On just his second outing with the Craft-Bamboo Racing run Porsche 911 GT3 R, and on his first visit to the challenging Suzuka Circuit in Japan, British driver Devon Modell took a hard fought and well deserved second place in the weekend’s first Blancpain GT Series Asia race driving alongside teammate, Australian Nick Foster.
The result was a significant step forward for Devon following his debut in the series last month in Thailand. With greater familiarity with the team, the car and engineers, Devon brought more speed and ultimately the confidence to push for the result and this signals a lot of potential for the remainder of the season.
Devon approached the challenge of Suzuka in his usual style, exploring the track and its limits to a programme and drawing on the team’s experience of the Japanese venue and his teammates experience with the Porsche. The result culminating in a creditable seventh position in qualifying for the first race, backed up by eighth for Foster in his race two qualifying session.
Race one was held in dry warm conditions on Saturday 24th June and saw Devon start well, quickly challenging the cars ahead and moving up to sixth after an impressive stint.
Running at the pace of the leading cars, Devon handed over to Foster in a strong position for the Australian Porsche specialist to push on for a result, continuing the progress for the car to an eventual second position overall, the team’s strongest result of the season to date.
The weekend’s second race was held on the following day and overnight, conditions had changed significantly with rain starting to fall come the start. Foster started the Porsche on slicks in very difficult conditions but seemed to have good pace pushing the car up to fourth before slipping back after a full course yellow restart put the #88 car at a disadvantage.
When Devon took the wheel at the halfway point, he joined the battle now in full wet conditions in eighth position. Battling with the sister Craft-Bamboo Racing Porsche and the Lamborghini of Aidan Read, Devon got the better of the pair to again run sixth before eventually bringing the car home in eighth overall and P4 in the silver-silver cup.
Modell reflected on a decent weekend in Japan: “I have to say I really enjoyed this weekend, the track is fantastic, a real drivers track with lots of great corners, the team were so professional and helped me a lot to improve the car and learn the track and working with Nick was really good. He is a quick driver with a lot of experience with the 911 GT3 R that was invaluable to me, and of course I enjoyed the race one result particularly, an overall podium was beyond my expectations so early in this campaign but was very welcomed.
“Race two was held in very difficult conditions and it was my first experience of driving the car in the wet and of these wet (Pirelli) tyres. So, to maintain my position and have some battles with the cars around me was as much as we could have reasonably expected.”
The Blancpain GT Asia series returns to Japan for the next round on 19-20 August, this time at another famous track, the Mount Fuji Circuit where Devon will rejoin Craft-Bamboo Racing looking to make the next move to the top step of the podium.