Yuhi Sekiguchi will join VSR’s driver line up for the next round of the Asian Le Mans Series which will take place at Fuji in Japan on 3rd and 4th December. The Japanese ace who this year raced in GT500 as well as being awarded Super Formula Rookie of the Year will race the VSR Lamborghini Huracán GT3 alongside Kei Cozzolino and Corey Lewis. For more, click here.
Just over a month after the first round of the Asian Le Mans Series in Zhuhai, China, which saw Chinese team Jackie Chan DC racing take the overall win with their LMP2 and the class win in LMP3, the series is returning for round two, this time held at the foot of the iconic mount Fuji in Japan, at the Fuji International Speedway.
The event, held over three days from the 2nd to the 4th of December will see a few new additions and changes to the field, with a total of 30 cars announced on the provisional entry list – four LM P2, nine LM P3, one CN, 15 GT cars and one GT Cup.
Joining us in Fuji in the GT class is Team Audi Korea, operated by Phoenix Racing Asia, with the #31 Audi R8 LMS GT3, with drivers Kyong Ouk You (KOR), Marchy Lee Ying-Kin (HKG) and Alex Yoong (MYS). We will also see our first GT Cup entry of the 2016-2017 season with the arrival of TKS, a Japanese team, bringing their #96 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, complete with a full Japanese driver line-up with Shinyo Sano, Takuma Aoki and Shigeto Nagashima.
The season entered teams and cars will be returning in force, continuing their fight for points toward the championship titles, and the chance to take part in the 2017 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the LMP2, LMP3 and GT entries.
Our four season entries in LMP2 will be returning – the #8 Race Performance Oreca 03R Judd, Algarve Pro Racing’s two entries, the #24 Ligier JSP2 Judd and #25 Ligier JSP2 Nissan, and the #35 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 03R Nissan. Algarve Pro Racing have changed their driver line-ups on both cars, with Jonathan Hirschi and Mark Patterson joining Tacksung Kim on the #24, and Andrea Roda replacing Nicky Catsburg in the #25. The Race Performance crew will see an extra driver in the car with Fabian Schiller joining Struan Moore and Giorgio Maggi. Jackie Chan DC Racing’s line up of Ho-Pin Tung and Gustavo Menezes is unchanged from round 1.
The LMP3 field remains the same as in Zhuhai, with four Ginetta LMP3 (two from ARC Bratislava, one from PRT Racing and one from Aylezo Ecotint Racing), four Ligier JSP3 (Jackie Chan DC Racing, Tockwith Motorsports, G-Print by Triple 1 Racing, and Wineurasia), and the PS Racing ADESS 03. Zhuhai saw the Ligier JSP3 come out on top, taking all three spots on the podium despite strong competition from the Ginetta LMP3 and ADESS 03. Will Fuji see the results shuffle in favour of one of the other manufacturers?
PS Racing will once more represent the CN class with the #68 Ligier JS 53, with Japanese drivers Kenji Abe and Akihiro Asai, as well as Qin Tianqi from China. They had some bad luck in Zhuhai but will hopefully overcome it and get to the end of the 4-Hour race in Fuji.
The GT Class will be strongly represented once more, with a total of 15 cars on the entry list, made up of a mix of 7 different brands, and making up half the Asian Le Mans Series field. It will no doubt be an important race for KCMG with their crew of three Japanese drivers – Go Max, Toru Tanaka and Tetsuya Tanaka will be sharing the wheel of the #51 Audi R8 LMS GT3 and will no doubt want to get a good performance out of the upcoming 4-hour race. They are of course not the only team with Japanese drivers, Kei Cozzolino and Yuhi Sekiguchi are racing in the #6 VS Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3, Hiroshi Hamaguchi in the #10 FFF Racing by ACM Lamborghini Huracan GT3, Keita Sawa in the #61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari 488 GT3, Akira Iida in the #90 Team AAI BMW M6 GT3, and Tatsuya Tanigawa in the #92 Team AAI AMG GT3, will all no doubt be wanting to do their best in front of their home crowd.
This isn’t to say that the other teams and drivers won’t also want to make their mark this weekend – being only the 2nd race of the season, the points are still wide open. The #38 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 is currently leading the points table after their pole and win in Zhuhai, but it is still anybody’s game. Along with the other GT Teams already mentioned, Absolute Racing (#2 Audi R8 GT3 and #88 Bentley GT3), DH Racing (#3 and #5 Ferrari 488 GT3), Team BBT (#37 Ferrari 488 GT3), OD Racing Best Leader Team (#86 McLaren 650 GT3) and the third Team AAI (BMW M6 GT3) car will all also be fighting for points in Fuji.
There are a few changes to the driver line-ups in the GT Class since Zhuhai – the #5 DH Racing Ferrari has announced that Chaoyin Wei and Frederic Vervich will be replaced by Stephane Lemeret (BEL) and Matthiew Vaxiviere (FRA) for this round; in the #6 VS Racing Lamborghini Yuhi Sekiguchi will be replacing Adrian Zaugg; Team AAI have announced a driver change on their #92 Zhang-Wen-He is replacing Huang Chi and they are moving the crew of the #91 McLaren 650 GT3 to a BMW M6 GT3.
The weekend will see the cars head out for two free practice sessions (one on Friday, and one on Saturday), Qualifying on Saturday afternoon and the race on Sunday.
The four-hour race will be held a bit earlier than in Zhuhai, from 12:15-16:15, so as not to race in the dark, although the sun will have started to set by the end of the race, making for interesting conditions. It will also be quite a bit colder than Zhuhai, with highs of 10° currently forecast, compared to the 25-30° we saw last round.
See you there!
OD Racing went through a trying debut for their McLaren GT650S with some positive signs despite a troubled start in the opening round of the 2016-2017 Asian Le Mans Series at China’s Zhuhai Circuit.
Having missed the first practice session on Thursday due to setup issues bogged down by the late arrival of critical parts, the OD Racing trio of Malaysia’s Fairuz Fauzy, New Zealand’s Jono Lester and Hong Kong’s drift star James Tang finished Firday practice fourth in the GT class. For more, click here.
Jackie Chan DC Racing’s #35 Oreca 03R Nissan has taken the win after a tension filled 4 Hours of Zhuhai came to a close at the Zhuhai International Circuit in China. This being the first leg of the 2016/2017 Asian Le Mans Series, the winning LMP2 car was driven by Ho-Pin Tung and Gustavo Menezes in an incident filled race that saw safety car stints and spin-outs occurring multiple times. Algarve Racing took second and third place on the podium with their #24 Ligier JSP2 Judd and #25 Ligier JSP2 Nissan respectively. For more, click here.
After a solid performance in qualifying on Saturday with the team securing second place on the grid, it was to be a day to forget on Sunday with the Aylezo Ecotint Racing Ginetta LMP3 having some bad luck due to mechanical problems.
On the way to the grid for the start of the race the unimaginable happened- the clutch pump experienced a problem- forcing the team to send the car back to the pits to try and fix it. Unfortunately there was not enough time, and the car had to start the race from the pits, meaning the team couldn’t take advantage of their front row starting position. For more, click here.
Kicking off at the Zhuhai International Circuit in China, the 2016/2017 Asian Le Mans Series’ qualifying started amid wet weather and overcast skies. With two earlier practise sessions in the morning, the afternoon’s qualifier saw the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Nissan driven by Andrea Pizzitola clinch the first pole position of the season with a time of 1 minute 38.155 seconds. In LMP3, the #99 Wineurasia Ligier JSP3 came out tops while the #38 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 will lead the GT class. For more, click here.