Motor racing: Clearwater fourth at Le Mans but team are delighted

The Clearwater Racing car, a Ferrari 458 GTE, suffered an engine misfire and a loss of pace after the team were in third place 18 hours into the 24-hour Le Mans race yesterday.
The Clearwater Racing car, a Ferrari 458 GTE, suffered an engine misfire and a loss of pace after the team were in third place 18 hours into the 24-hour Le Mans race yesterday.PHOTO: CLEARWATER RACING FACEBOOK

Pole position in the GTE Amateur class meant the odds of a podium finish were with Clearwater Racing in their 24 Hours of Le Mans debut yesterday.

The Singapore-registered outfit, who had clocked the fastest lap time in qualifying in the 13-team division, were on course to make history when they were third until the 18th hour. But an engine misfire saw Clearwater lose pace and they were eventually overtaken by Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing.

Led by Singapore-born Malaysian Mok Weng Sun, the team were unable to make up ground and eventually finished fourth. Abu Dhabi-Proton were third. Scuderia Corsa took top spot and AF Corse were second.

Despite the unfortunate turn of events, Mok was still proud of the team's feat. The team principal and driver said: "We fell one place short of the podium but we are still happy - I'm delighted. The crew did a fantastic job.

"We had a couple of issues. We made a bad tyre call at the start of the race and then in the middle of the night, we had a misfire issue for one fuel stint, but that's racing.

"I'm absolutely happy to get to the finish and already starting to think about next year. I want to be back and I want to be on that podium."

The private equity fund manager started racing competitively in 2007 and is licensed by the Singapore Motor Sports Association. He is a three-time Asia GT champion and has won the Sepang 12 Hours on three occasions.

Along with Mok, Japan's Keita Sawa and British professional racer Rob Bell made up the trio of drivers for the prestigious event in France. Arjunan Kulasegaram acted as team director.

On the 13.629km track at Circuit de la Sarthe, Clearwater raced in a Ferrari 458 GTE, capable of reaching top speeds of 300kmh and averaging about 200kmh at the 21-turn circuit, where drivers experience G-forces of up to 4G.

Clearwater are the first Singapore-based team to take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the most historic endurance car races in the world.

Team director Arjunan was ecstatic about participating in the race, saying: "I think the whole team have proven a point - they are able to compete on the world stage. And with a bit of luck, we could have been fighting for the win.

"It's been six months of planning and plotting but it was all worth it. Who would've thought it? It's the world endurance championship - and we came in fourth. I think there's a lot to be said for that."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2016, with the headline 'Clearwater fourth at Le Mans but team are delighted'. Print Edition | Subscribe