Back to the warmth for round three of the Asian Le Mans Series


We’ve crossed the halfway mark and the teams are heading for a busy month of January with round three, the four hours of Buriram in Thailand, followed two weeks later by the final event, the four hours of Sepang in Malaysia.

After a short winter break, the Asian Le Mans Series will be heading to the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand for the third round of the 2016-2017 series. Held over three days, from the 6-8th of January, this event will see the teams of each category continue their fight for the titles and, for some, their chances to take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2017.

At the halfway mark, the points are all still really close, with no one team having dominated both rounds one and two at Zhuhai and Fuji.

In LMP2, Jackie Chan DC Racing is currently leading with the #35 Oreca 03R Judd with 43 points, after a win and a podium from the first two rounds. Algarve Pro Racing aren’t far off, with the #25 Ligier JS P2 Nissan crew on 32 points and the #24 Ligier JSP2 Judd on 30. Having won Fuji but not finishing the race in Zhuhai, the #8 Race Performance Oreca 03R Judd rounds off the LMP2 table with 25 points. There are still 52 points on offer over the next two race weekends, so it’s still wide open.

In the LMP3 class, the #26 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP3 is leading the points table with 44 points, having a win, a podium and a pole position to their name. Jackie Chan DC Racing’s LMP3 entry, the #1 Ligier JSP3, is only 4 points behind after their performance so far this season. ARC Bratislava’s two entries are next in the points, with the crew of the #4 Ginetta LMP3 in third with 30 points, and the #7 Ginetta LMP3 in fourth with 22 points.

In the GT Class, the #5 DH Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 team is currently topping the points table with 37. VS Racing is sitting second with 27 points for their #6 Lamborghini Huracan GT3. The crew of the #38 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 are very close with 26 points and Clearwater are 4th in the GT points with 24 thanks to their #61 Ferrari 488 GT3.

Round three in Buriram will see a field of 27 cars take to the track, with the whole field from Fuji joining us for round three, apart from the GT Cup entry TKS and the #92 Team AAI AMG GT3. This means that there will be action from 4 LMP2, 9 LMP3 and 12 GT3 cars, as well as a GT Cup entry and a CN entry. Team NZ, 2016 GT Cup Champions in the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup, will be joining us from Buriram onwards in the GTCup class with the #77 Porsche GT3 Cup, with drivers Graeme Dowsett, John Curran and Paul Kanjanapas sharing the wheel. PS Racing are bringing their Ligier JS53 back for another round, with Kenji Abe, Akihiro Asai and Qin Tianqi back to share the wheel after missing out on Fuji.

See you on the 6th of January for round 3 of the Asian Le Mans Series!

2016/2017 Asian Le Mans Series Round 3: 4H Of Buriram Provisional Entry List


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Philippe Descombes : “Le sport automobile a été long à se développer en Chine”

Cela fait maintenant près de 20 ans que Philippe Descombes a posé ses valises en Chine et il n’est pas question que cet amoureux du sud-ouest de la France lâche ses habitudes à Zhuhai. Son team Asian Racing Team (ART) fait les beaux jours des championnats de monoplace en Asie et le compagnon d’arme de la famille Fior voit d’un bon œil le développement du sport automobile en Chine. On l’a vu en Asian Le Mans Series à Zhuhai sur une Ligier JS P3 puis à Fuji sur la McLaren 650S GT3/OD Racing. Depuis son arrivée en Chine, Philippe Descombes a aidé beaucoup de pilotes à progresser : Alexandre Imperatori, Cong Fu Cheng, Rodolfo Avila, Ryo Haryanto ou encore Jazeman Jaafar. Pour plus.

Marco Cioci (Spirit of Race) : “On se rapproche des standards européens”

Marco Cioci est arrivé en leader de la catégorie GT aux 4 Heures de Fuji après avoir décroché la victoire à Zhuhai sur la Ferrari 488 GT3/Spirit of Race en compagnie de Rui Aguas et Nasrat Muzayyin. La manche de Fuji n’a pas permis de poursuivre sur la lancée avec un abandon sur problème mécanique dès la première partie de course. Le sympathique pilote italien reprendra la piste le mois prochain à Buriram avant de disputer la Blancpain Endurance Cup sur une Ferrari 488 GT3 aux couleurs Kaspersky et Giancarlo Fisichella. La marque italienne s’est enfin décidée à mettre un équipage de premier choix pour aller chercher la victoire. Avant cela, l’objectif est bien d’aller chercher la couronne Asian Le Mans Series.  Pour plus.

2016/2017 Asian Le Mans Series Fuji – Driver Interviews

As with all the other rounds within the Asian Le Mans Series and Sprint Cup, 9tro is on the ground again visiting the various teams and catching up with the drivers just to learn a little more about the inner workings of racing. Here at Fuji Speedway, it is no different, except for the fact that instead of the usual hot and humid weather, its replaced by chilling winds and generally cool weather, which in our case is welcomed, making running around the paddocks effortless! But enough raving about the fantastic weather here in Japan, let us see what the drivers had to say. For more, click here.

Race Performance Win the 4 Hours of Fuji

The #8 Race Performance Oreca 03R Judd has won the 4 Hours of Fuji, the second round of the Asian Le Mans Series. The #35 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 03R Nissan came second, with pole sitters #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Nissan third. The #26 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP3 won the LMP3 class and the #5 DH Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 won the GT Class, the first ever wins for both teams. The #96 TKS Porsche 911 GT3Cup, the sole GTCup entry, finshed 22nd overall and were very happy with their performance.

The weather was perfect for the race on Sunday, with Mount Fuji’s white top shining above the circuit. The cars lined up on the grid, and at 12:15 took the green flag, only to then be stuck behind a safety car for 20 minutes after the #48 PS Racing ADESS 03 hit the wall hard at T6 which needed to be cleaned up. When the race got going again, the #35 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca kept the lead it claimed at the start and started to draw a gap away from the rest of the pack. The race was shortly interrupted once more, after the #38 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3, GT class winners back in Zhuhai, stopped on track and brought out the safety car to pull them to safety. The rest of the race went by smoothly, with a lot of action seen in the LMP3 and GT classes, who were racing at a similar pace here at Fuji. It was very hard to tell who would come out on top in each class.

In LMP2, after Ho-Pin Tung’s strong start in the #35 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 03R Nissan, Giorgio Maggi in the #8 Race Performance Oreca 03R Judd kept a close pace, and once the drivers had changed over to Thomas Laurent in the #35 and Fabian Schiller in the #8, the fight for the lead heated up, with newcomer Schiller overtaking Laurent and managing to keep the position for most of the race. Struan Moore brought the #8 home and took the win for the team, with Gustavo Menezes in the #35 keeping the car going despite electrical issues and taking the 2nd place on the podium.
Pole sitters, the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Nissan with Michael Munemann, Andrea Roda and Andrea Pizzitola, had a slow start, losing a few places on the first lap and then getting held up in the safety car periods. They still managed to finish 3rd overall, even after receiving a few penalties for pit stop infringements. The #24 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Judd, shared between Tacksung Kim, Jonathan Hirschi, and Mark Patterson, also fell back a few places at the start, but managed a consistent race and finished 4th.

The LMP3 teams fought hard for the class podium. Both the Ginetta LMP3 and Ligier JSP3 led the class by moments, but it was the pole sitting #26 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP3 of Nigel Moore and Phil Hanson who took the win at the end of the four-hour race. ARC Bratislava put in a strong performance as well to come in 2nd place with the #4 Ginetta LMP3 of Miro Konopka, Darren Burke, Mike Simpson, having started 12 on the grid, 7th in class. Third place went to the #1 Jackie Chan DC Racing Ligier JSP3 of James Winslow, David Cheng, and Hiroki Yoshida.

The 2nd ARC Bratislava car, the #7 ARC Bratislava Ginetta LMP3, driven by Neale Muston, and Konstantins Calko was 4th, and the #67 PRT Racing Ginetta LMP3 got off to a very strong start with Charlie Robertson at the wheel, going up into 3rd overall on the first lap, which he held for the first hour, but didn’t manage to get back the lead after the pit stops, though they fought hard, and came 5th in class.

Despite having not done many laps throughout the weekend and having to start from the back of the grid, the #85 G-Print by Triple 1 Racing Ligier JSP3 also had a strong performance in the category, leading the LMP3 class for a time. Unfortunately, they finished the race in the pits after losing a wheel on track in the final hour.

For our third LMP3 manufacturer, it was a sad end to a tough weekend for the crew of the #48 PS Racing ADESS 03, who ended their race in the wall at T6.

The GT class saw a lot of action in the fight for the class lead as well, with the #5 DH Racing Ferrari 488 GT3, driven by Stephane Lemeret, Michele Rugolo and Matthieu Vaxiviere, coming out on top at the end and finishing 5th overall. Team BBT with the #37 Ferrari 488 GT3, driven by Anthony Liu, Davide Rizzo, Alessandro Pier Guidi came 2nd, with the #91 Team AAI BMW M6 GT3 of Jun San Chen, Ollie Millroy, and Philipp Eng chasing them down to take 3rd place, overtaking the #6 VS Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Kei Cozzolino, Yuhi Sekiguchi, and Corey Lewis in the last few laps of the race.

The fight for the GT class win was fought between #61, #6, #5 and #37 who were all very close to each other for most of the race. For a moment, it looked like the #61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 might take the win, but they suffered a small collision with the #3 DH Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 which cost both of them places, meaning that the #3 DH Racing team finished 5th and the Clearwater crew finished 7th in class, with Asian Le Mans Series newcomers Team Audi Korea with the #31 Audi R8 LMS GT3 between them in 6th.

The #90 Team AAI BMW M6 GT3 did not take the start of the race after discovering a hole in the fuel tank just before heading to the grid.

Our GTCup entry, the #96 TKS Porsche 911 GT3Cup with drivers Shinyo Sano, Shigeto Nagashima and Takuma Aoki – the Asian Le Mans Series’ first handicapped driver –  had a good steady race, without any issues, and finished 23rd overall. The crew were very happy with their performance and it was a great moment that clearly meant a lot to all three drivers.

Our next race is coming up quickly already – round three, the 4 Hours of Thailand, will be held at Buriram on the 6-8th of January. See you after the winter holidays!


1st place overall
#8 Race Performance Oreca 03R Judd
Giorgio Maggi: “It was quite good. I struggled a bit with the front tyres to keep them warm behind the safety car, but the rest was just driving.”

Fabian Schiller: “I did the second stint. It was quite ok. We did good lap times and the car was really good. I managed to pull a gap. Giorgio did a good first stint. He had a lot of safety cars, so it wasn’t that interesting, but for me I had two proper stints and it was really fun out there. We set really good laptimes. I think everyone did a really good job. The car worked perfectly and Struan just finished it off with really good laptimes. I think it’s fully deserved.”

Struan Moore: “Exactly what Fabian just said, I just finished it off. These guys did everything they needed to do. Giorgio made a good start, did a good move in the first corner, first lap. He pretty much controlled his stint. Fabian overtook when he needed to and pulled a gap. Then it was relatively straightforward for me. Just keep driving on the track.”

2nd place overall
#35 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 03R Nissan
Ho-Pin Tung: “I got a good start. It was a bit messy first phase of the race, with a very lengthy safety car. I struggled with the electronics in the car, which caused an engine cut throughout the entire race, starting in the very first lap of the race. It was very difficult. Pace wise I think we could have been up there. The goal was to make it to the end. Thomas and Gustavo did a good job.”

Thomas Laurent: “It was my first stint in a LMP2. I did a few laps under safety car for my first few laps, and after that I got the same problems as Ho-Pin. So there’s not much to say about my stint.”

Gustavo Menezes: “It was a difficult race. Very mentally exhausting. Just dealing with a lot of technical issues. But I have to say, the team did a fantastic job this weekend, the car’s been spot-on with the balance. We already had a few electronic issues in qualifying already, and for the race, Ho-Pin did a great job from the beginning to manage to make a gap considering the car’s situation. For Thomas’ first time in an LMP2 car he did a fantastic job in dealing with issues. He kept patient and did a great job. Unfortunately, the problems started to deteriorate a bit by the end of the race. I got in just past halfway, and it was a long battle to the finish. The team guided me home and the important thing was to finish. We have a good lead in the championship and we just have to continue to put in results, problems or not. Thankful for everyone there and we’ll keep working.”

3rd place overall
#25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Nissan
Michael Munemann: “I lost a couple of places at the start as usual. Our pace was decent, we lost a lap under yellow which was bad luck but it happens. Then we made some unforgivable mistakes in the pits and got two penalties and lost another lap, and that was our race.”

Andrea Roda: “More or less the same. We were confident after the pole position that Andrea took yesterday. But we did the pit stop before the safety car, so we lost the chance to compete with the leaders after 50 minutes.”

Andrea Pizzitola: “As they said, we pitted just before the safety car, so we lost a lap. A lot of mistakes were made today, so we have to look at that for the next meeting. I was doing my best in the car as always, just pushing throughout the stint, and got the best lap.”

LMP3 class winners
#26 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP3
Nigel Moore: It was a really good race for me and Phil. We didn’t get off to a great start, when the Ginetta took us off at T16, but we had a good fight back and we got the place we wanted in the end. It was a really good race. It was our first time at Fuji circuit. I’m happy.”

Phil Hanson: “The stint was alright. We got to the lead at one point and I came in second, which set up Nigel nicely for the last stint, changed the tyres and got the win at the end. I think some of the teams had a few problems but I think we were good on pace so I think we would have managed it anyway.”
GT Class winners
#5 DH Racing Ferarri 488 GT3
Stephane Lemeret: “The start was strange because I stopped at the end of the first lap for the safety car, so it was a strange start to the race. A lot of people thought we might be in a bad situation for the end, but finally this might have been the perfect strategy. Indeed the team was really fantastic and it was a real team victory.”

Michele Rugolo: “For me it was pretty good. It was a pretty smooth stint, especially the last part, because I was on the restart of the safety car, so I was a bit stuck in traffic. Besides that it was a clean run. I think, as Stephane said, our team had the perfect strategy. I think that was the key of our race because maybe in terms of performance, we were not the top car today. There were cars much quicker than us, but thanks to DH Racing, we did a very good job on the pit stop and that’s the result.”

Matthieu Vaxiviere: “I’m really happy for the team. We had a really good strategy from DH Racing. From my side, I just kept managing the lead and finished the race in a good point. About the strategy, for sure it was really good because I think we nearly caught the LMP3. It was a really good race for us and we’re focused on the championship.”
 GTCup Class winners
#96 TKS Porsche 911 GT3Cup
Takuma Aoki: “I am very happy to be here. I am paraplegic, and have to use my wheelchair. Thank you to TKS, Sano-san and Nagashima-san. They’re great drivers. I’m so happy to have taken part in the Asian Le Mans Series. It is my dream come true. I want to race here again. Thank you.”

Shigeto Nagashima: “Thanks for the two drivers. Our class might just have one car, but I’m with two great drivers in the team. They had a good pace. Thank you to the team and drivers.”

Shinyo Sano: “This is my first time in this race. We completed our goal. This race is my dream. I’m very happy. Thank you to my team mates, my team staff and my family. Thank you!”


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2016/2017 Asian Le Mans Series Round 2: 4H Of Fuji – Final Results





ARC Bratislava et Miro Konopka lorgent sur le LM P2 après le LM P3

Habitué à rouler en GT depuis deux décennies, Miro Konopka franchit le pas du prototype cette année avec deux Ginetta LM P3 alignées en Asian Le Mans Series. Les 6 Heures de Fuji ont permis au team slovaque de monter sur la 2e place du podium grâce à Miro Konopka, Darren Burke et Mike Simpson. L’avenir d’ARC Bratislava devrait passer par le prototype avec des vues sur le LM P2, voire même le LM P1 privé. Pour plus.

Stéphane Lémeret (DH Racing) : “La plus belle ligne de mon palmarès”

Classé parmi les meilleurs pilotes Bronze du plateau GT, Stéphane Lémeret a logiquement été appelé en renfort pour piloter une Ferrari 488 GT3 du DH Racing en Asian Le Mans Series. Le Franco-Belge s’est parfaitement acclimaté à sa nouvelle monture avec une victoire aux 4 Heures de Fuji en compagnie de Matthieu Vaxivière et Michele Rugolo. Le récent champion TCR Benelux a montré qu’il fallait encore compter sur lui pour faire la course en tête dans un statut de pilote Bronze qui lui sied à merveille. Son récent passage en Silver pourrait bien porter préjudice à sa saison 2017 si la FIA décidait de le maintenir dans cette classification. Pour plus.

Thomas Laurent (Jackie Chan DC Racing) : “Appliquer la même recette que l’année passée”

En passant directement du karting au pilotage d’une LM P3, Thomas Laurent savait que le pari était risqué. Le Vendéen n’a pourtant pas mis longtemps à se faire remarquer. Sa saison en European Le Mans Series s’est terminée par une victoire au volant de la Ligier JS P3/M.Racing YMR à Estoril en compagnie d’Alexandre Cougnaud et Yann Ehrlacher. Du côté de l’Asie, et comme l’année passée, Thomas Laurent a manqué le premier rendez-vous du championnat. Après avoir testé l’Alpine A460 à Bahrain, c’est l’ORECA 03R/Jackie Chan DC Racing qui l’attend pour une campagne asiatique avec à ses côtés Ho-Pin Tung et Gustavo Menezes. L’Asie est donc une nouvelle fois synonyme de découverte. De quoi prendre la température de la catégorie LM P2 avant de penser à 2017. Pour plus.

Algarve Pro Racing Will Start At P1 On Grid Tomorrow!

We could not have asked for better weather in the lead up to tomorrow’s four hours of Fuji for the 2016/2017 Asian Le Mans Series. Last week’s snow now seems like a distant memory in stark contrast to yesterday and today’s weather with nearly cloudless clear blue skies and the sun beating down upon a cool 18 to 20 degrees Celsius here at Fuji Speedway, Japan. Coming out tops from Friday’s Free Practise 1, will the #35 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 03R Nissan emerge triumphant again? Let’s find out! For more, click here.

Algarve Pro Racing on Pole for the 4 Hours of Fuji

The #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Nissan will be starting on pole at the foot of Mount Fuji on Sunday for the 2nd round of the Asian Le Mans Series. Andrea Pizzitola’s lap time of 1:32.646 placed the team at the head of the 27 strong field. The #26 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP3 took the LMP3 class pole, and the #37 Team BBT Ferrari 488 GT3 will be on pole in the GT class.

at Asia Le Mans Series 2016, Rd2, 2-4 December 2016, Fuji Speedway, Oyama, Japan

The results in both free practice sessions were quite varied and predict a close race ahead, with Free Practice 1 seeing the top 4 within 0.262 seconds! The #35 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 03R Nissan topped the first two-hour session on Friday afternoon with a best lap of 1:34.486 and the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Nissan topped Free Practice 2 with a lap of 1:33.523.

In LMP3 the #26 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP3 was quickest in FP1 with a lap of 1:37.159. The #99 Wineurasia Ligier JSP3, who were 3rd quickest in FP1 just beat that time in Saturday morning’s FP2 with their best of 1:37.041. The Ginetta LMP3 was also setting good times, with PRT Racing going 2nd quickest in FP1 (1:37.550) and Aylezo Ecotint Racing 3rd in FP2 (1:37.385).

Team AAI’s new #91 BMW M6 GT3 (that replaces the McLaren 650 they raced with in Zhuhai) was the fastest GT car in both sessions, whose quickest lap was 1:37.744 on Saturday morning. The Ferraris are also strong here, with the DH Racing, Spirit of Race and Team BBT Ferraris all setting some of the quickest times in the Free Practice sessions.

On Saturday afternoon, in bright but fresh conditions with the clouds coming in, the cars took to the track for qualifying, with Andrea Pizzitola claiming the second consecutive pole for the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Nissan in the Asian LMS with a time of 1:32.646. Just behind him was Gustavo Menezes in the #35 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 03R Nissan with his time of 1:32.916. The #8 Race Performance Oreca 03R Judd was 3rd fastest thanks to Struan Moore’s lap time of 1:33.089. Algarve Pro Racing’s second LMP2 entry, the #24, saw Jonathan Hirschi set a time of 1:33.771.

at Asia Le Mans Series 2016, Rd2, 2-4 December 2016, Fuji Speedway, Oyama, Japan at Asia Le Mans Series 2016, Rd2, 2-4 December 2016, Fuji Speedway, Oyama, Japan

The LMP3 pole went to the #26 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier, thanks to the time of 1:36.054 set by Nigel Moore. Charlie Robertson was very close to claiming pole with his time of 1:36.115 in the #67 PRT Racing Ginetta LMP3. Current class points leaders, the #1 Jackie Chan DC Racing Ligier JSP3, were third in class after James Winslow set a time of 1:36.523.

The #48 PS Racing ADESS 03, representing the third type of LMP3 chassis in the Asian LMS, has got off to a slow start this weekend, but Louis Prette managed to set a time of 1:40.439.

The second qualifying session, this one for the GT and GT Cup cars, saw Ferraris claim the top three slots, with Alessandro Pier Guidi going quickest in the #37 Team BBT Ferrari 488 GT3 with his lap time of 1:37.083. The #5 DH Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 was second thanks to Matthieu Vaxviere’s lap of 1:37.228 and the third best GT time was set by Marco Cioci in the #38 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 with a time of 1:37.243. Things will be close in the GT class with the top 9 setting times within 1 second of the class pole sitter. The GTCup entry, the #96 TKS Porsche 911 GT3 Cup set a lap time of 1:43.974 with Shinyo Sano at the wheel. This team also sees the Asian Le Mans Series’ first handicapped driver with Takuma Aoki sharing the wheel of the #96 with Shinyo Sano and Shigeto Nagashima.

Asia Le Mans Series at Asia Le Mans Series 2016, Rd2, 2-4 December 2016, Fuji Speedway, Oyama, Japan

With the good weather set to continue, tomorrow’s 4-Hour race is set to be a closely fought one! See you at 12:15 local time for the start of the race! You can follow it on live streaming with on-site commentary from DSC’s Graham Goodwin, just click on this link.