O'Young geared up to conquer Europe

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 March, 2007, 12:00am

Darryl O'Young says he has a 'mountain to climb' after it was announced yesterday he would become the first Hong Kong driver to compete in a top-flight European sportscar championship.

O'Young and Jebsen Co Ltd will become the first local team to race in Europe, where the outfit will compete in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.

'It's a milestone for me to get into Europe,' said O'Young, 26. 'Ever since I was 12, I wanted to race in Europe and now I have my chance. I am going to put in 100 per cent effort and learn as fast as I can because I know the competition is going to be extremely tough.

'Winning last year's Porsche [Carrera Cup Asia] was a milestone but now I have a bigger mountain to climb. I am going to take it step by step.

'For me, getting a top-10 overall finish would be an achievement and if I get a podium place that would be a bonus because I will be competing against some of the world's best drivers.'

Among the entries for the Porsche Supercup are reigning champion Richard Westbrook, former Formula One test driver and British Formula Three champion Marc Hynes and 2000 Macau Grand Prix Guia Race winner and four-time Porsche Supercup champion Patrick Huisman of Holland.

The Canada-born O'Young, who as a youngster followed his father Samuel to race tracks all over Asia, said his main aims for the season were to learn the circuits and to get used to the European style of racing.

'It's also the first time Hong Kong and Chinese sponsors are investing their money in this project. We are the only Hong Kong team among entries from 14 other countries, and we are proud the SAR will be part of such a prestigious international field,' O'Young said.

'I know competing in Europe is another huge step for me because you only have to look at the entry list to see who we will be up against.

'There are many top drivers with years of experience, plus young drivers hungry for success.

'I really do want to compete in Europe for the rest of my career.'

Established in 2004, Team Jebsen clinched the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship last year, and will campaign in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup this year as 'Schnabl Engineering - LKM - Team Jebsen'.

Jebsen's Porsche Centre Hong Kong general manager Robby Niermann said it was 'tremendous' that a Hong Kong team would be competing in the leading Porsche one-make sports series.

'Porsche has an impressive motorsport pedigree spanning more than half a century and we are very proud Darryl will be representing Hong Kong with Team Jebsen,' he said.

The 2007 race calendar comprises 10 race weekends with 11 championship rounds.

Campaign preparations begin in earnest on March 22 and 23, when the teams take part in the traditional season opener, a two-day test session at the Formula One circuit near Hungary's capital Budapest.

The test is followed by the opening rounds in Bahrain in April, from where the series then travels to Spain, Monte Carlo, France, the UK, Germany, Hungary, Turkey, Italy and Belgium.