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Super sports car makers look to ignite passions on the mainland

By Li Fangfang (China Daily) Updated: 2013-01-03 09:25 Comments

Competition heats up

The event was held in Ordos in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region this August. It was the Italian super sports car maker's first China race and was followed by three more - Guangzhou in September, Shanghai in October and again in November for the Grand Finale.

"Besides providing Chinese motorsports fans an opportunity to admire the incredibly competitive racing series and experience Lamborghini's brand values, we also want to help China develop its racing culture and give opportunities for young Chinese racers to grow," said Stephan Winkelmann, president and CEO of Lamborghini Automobili.

Winkelmann said he was impressed by the young racers' performances, even though some of them didn't have any racing experience before the event. "The victory going to a Chinese racer indicates the country's potential in motorsports racing, not just auto sales," he said.

Winkelmann said that the event, which started in Europe in 2009, will be held in North America next year, covering all of Lamborghini's major markets.

"The Super Trofeo can help us rapidly improve our brand image, value and knowledge, and through our motorsports activities, we look forward to supporting Lamborghini's growth in China," said Winkelmann.

Besides Lamborghini's Grand Finale in the Shanghai International Circuit in November, the city also hosted the Sports Car Champions Festival, which featured Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Porsche vehicles.

The event included the year-end finals of the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup, Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo series and Audi R8 LMS Cup.

The contests, which saw the participation of renowned racers, attracted much attention from Chinese media.

In addition to the four racing events, visitors were also able to experience various activities such as sports car exhibitions, digital racing games and a classic car parade.

"The festival, which showcased the speed and spirit of sports cars in a bold new way, definitely inspired more local customers to reach for a lifestyle related to sports cars and will further stimulate demand in the growing segment," said Markus Nels, director of Sports Car Project China at Volkswagen Group China.

"Through this exciting festival, we want to play an active role in promoting sports car culture here in China, as more people are becoming enthusiasts for speed," said Nels.

Volkswagen established its China sports car division last year, hoping to provide better support to its sports cars sales in the market.

"We want to be a door that opens to more sales and enthusiasm from more Chinese in a segment that has had higher-than-average growth in the past five or six years," said Nels.

The Italian super sports car brand Maserati celebrated the final round of its Maserati Trofeo MC World Series in the Shanghai International Circuit in November, after completing five events in other countries in Europe, North America and Asia.

It was also the first time the sports car maker brought its Maserati-only motorsports event to China.

Thirty-five racers from 15 countries and regions drove Maserati GranTurismo MC Trofeo racing cars, including two drivers from the Chinese mainland.

"Although sports car racing has a long, developed history in Hong Kong, we see increasing enthusiasm on the Chinese mainland in recent years, along with soaring sales of our sports cars," said Christian Gobber, managing director of Maserati China.

"As a sports car brand with the long-term perspective to having a stable foothold in China, one of the largest market potentials in the world, Maserati will always put an emphasis on promoting sports car culture and racing here," said Gobber.


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