Motor racing: S'pore race team make history with British win

Irish driver Matt Griffin is the toast of Clearwater after taking the chequered flag at the World Endurance Championship opener.
Irish driver Matt Griffin is the toast of Clearwater after taking the chequered flag at the World Endurance Championship opener.PHOTO: DAILYSPORTSCAR.COM

The Singapore flag was raised on Sunday at the Silverstone circuit in England for the first time ever, after local-registered outfit Clearwater Racing won the opening race of the World Endurance Championship (WEC).

The three-man team, led by Singapore-born Malaysian Mok Weng Sun, wrote their names into the record books as they won on their debut in the GTE Amateur category.

Mok, 49, told The Straits Times: "When the anthem was played with a national flag raised over our heads on the podium, tears came into our eyes. It was such a proud moment for the team."

Luck was on their side as the team's Ferrari 488 GTE benefited from a last-lap collision between the two leading cars - the Aston Martin Racing Vantage of Pedro Lamy and Spirit of Race Ferrari of Miguel Molina.

The side-to-side collision allowed Clearwater driver Matt Griffin - who is coincidentally nicknamed Lucky Charms - to jump from third into the lead unscathed with just a few corners left to the finish line.

Said Mok: "It was really a fairy-tale debut. There were no weak line-ups among the competition as this is a world championship.

"To grab the top step of that podium in an exciting finish was incredible."

The team, who are also the first team from South-east Asia to compete in the prestigious WEC, completed 166 laps in 6hr 1min 40sec, with their best lap being 1min 59.927sec.

Clearwater and their 15-man crew had worked their way up from races such as the Sepang 12 Hours, Malaysian Super Series and Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, before moving on to GT Asia and then Asian Le Mans Series, which eventually led them to the WEC.

Mok, a private equity fund manager, hopes that more Singaporean racers will follow their lead. The team principal said: "We hope that Clearwater's achievement will encourage more aspiring racers to take on new challenges up the national, regional and international racing ladders."

The second round of the WEC is scheduled for May 6 in Belgium, as the nine-stop series will span eight months and end with the Six Hours of Bahrain on Nov 18.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2017, with the headline 'S'pore race team make history with British win'. Print Edition | Subscribe