Marsh and O'Young dream of Le Mans

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 June, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 June, 2005, 12:00am

A dream was unveiled yesterday. With high hopes and plenty of optimism, drivers Matthew Marsh and Darryl O'Young stood next to the machine that could put Hong Kong motor racing on the world map next year.

The pioneering pair is making a historic bid to become the first Hong Kong team to take part in the world's greatest endurance race - the Le Mans 24 Hours in France in June next year.

To achieve this, Marsh and O'Young will drive their dream machine, a Porsche GT3 RSR, in a six-leg Le Mans Endurances Series and hope for good results so that they can procure an invitation for the 24 Hours extravaganza.

'We have to win or come second in our class to gain an automatic entry. But if we don't do that, but still race very well and consistently, the organisers could still consider us, especially if they feel we bring something extra to the Le Mans race,' explained Marsh.

The Noble Group-GruppeM racing team are hoping that the 'something extra' will be the novelty of having a Hong Kong team, bauhinia flower and all, racing for the first time in Le Mans, and also the fact that it would be the first time a Chinese driver - O'Young - would be taking part.

'To be given this opportunity is just fantastic and it would be absolutely amazing if I was the first Chinese to drive in Le Mans. My Chinese heritage is important to me. I'm looking forward to the challenge,' said O'Young, the son of Chinese parents who moved to Canada from Hong Kong.

The covers came off the Porsche parked outside a bar in Wanchai yesterday. The road from Wanchai to Le Mans will begin with a 1,000-kilometre, six-hour race in Monza, Italy, on July 10.

'Our campaign will begin two weeks from now in Italy. This is a dream come true for all of us, for Hong Kong motorsport,' added Hong Kong resident Marsh, the reigning Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia.

The dream is not cheap. The meter has started ticking and the final bill for the groundbreaking campaign will come to around $12 million - provided they don't prang the car.