The Automobile Club de l’Ouest is innovating and using a totally new format to reveal the lists of entries for the 2017 European Le Mans Series (ELMS), FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) and the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Live from Le Mans on Thursday 2nd February 4:00 pm (GMT + 1) the lists will be revealed in exclusivity on the Internet in a new innovative interactive format. Medias and surfers can ask questions via the social networks. On a dedicated stage, in a friendly ambiance, the hosts will interview the ACO representatives and will have the on-the-spot reactions of key players in the world of endurance thanks to several duplexes. Several new subjects will be tackled during this innovative reveal!
The 2016-2017 season of the Asian Le Mans Series has come to a close, and after four action-packed rounds of four-hour races in four different countries, the titles have been decided and won. Now that the awards party is over and the teams can concentrate on their next endeavours, we wanted to take a moment to go over the championship titles in each class.
Algarve Pro Racing took home the LMP2 Team Championship title for their #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Nissan with 76 points, which they secured with their win in the final race and a podium at each other round. Jackie Chan DC Racing made it to 2nd with the #35 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 03R Nissan, the LMP2 team with the most wins this season, having won in Zhuhai and Buriram, but their DNF in Sepang meant that they missed out on the top spot. The third place team trophy went to the #24 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Judd thanks to their three podiums. Race Performance’s #8 Oreca 03R Judd rounded out the LMP2 table with 55 points, placing them 4th with a win and a podium.
The Driver’s Championship title in LMP2 went to Andrea Roda, having started the season in the #24 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Judd, he then switched over to the #25 sister car, to his advantage, which won him the top spot in the driver rankings with 78 points.
Andrea Pizzitola was second with 76 points to his name, having spent the full season in the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 Nissan. Ho-Pin Tung and Gustavo Menezes shared the third step with 69 points from their season in the #35 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 03R.
Tockwith Motorsports took home the LMP3 Team Championship title with the #26 Ligier JSP3, with two wins and a podium giving them 77 points for the season. ARC Bratislava’s #4 Ginetta LMP3 took home the 2nd place Team Trophy with 63 points, and the #1 Jackie Chan DC Racing Ligier JSP3 was 3rd.
Nigel Moore and Phil Hanson, the only consistent two-driver crew of the season, claimed the Driver’s Championship title in LMP3, with 77 points to their name following their strong debut season in the #26 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP3, including three pole positions for Nigel Moore. Seventeen-year-old Phil Hanson also picked up rookie of the year, having impressed with his driving skills and speed over the season. Sharing second in the drivers LMP3 title are Darren Burke from the #4 ARC Bratislava Ginetta LMP3 and James Winslow and David Cheng from the #1 Jackie Chan DC Racing Ligier JSP3, with 63 points each. Miro Konopka and Mike Simpson took home the third place trophy for their season in the #7 ARC Bratislava Ginetta LMP3, totalling 61 points.
In the GT class, the top two spots were won by DH Racing, a strong result for their first season, the #5 Ferrari 488 GT3 taking the GT class Team Championship title with 62 points, including one win and one podium. The sister car, the #3 Ferrari 488 GT3, despite having a DNF in Zhuhai, was second with 54 points, thanks to a win and a podium, as well as a pole position. Third went to the #37 Team BBT Ferrari 488 GT3, a mere point behind at 53 points with their three podiums and two pole positions. Definitely a strong season for Ferraris.
This translates in the GT Driver’s Championship to Michele Rugolo taking the title with 62 points, being the sole driver to remain on the #5 DH Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 for the full season. Second place is shared however by Rino Mastronardi, Alex Riberas and Olivier Beretta, all three faithful to the #3 DH Racing Ferrari 488 GT3, totalling 54 points by the end of the season, including a point from Riberas’ pole in Sepang. Third place in the driver standings, one point behind, was shared by Anthony Liu, Davide Rizzo and Alessandro Pier Guidi who all drove in the #37 Team BBT Ferrari 488 GT3 this season, with Pier Guidi who scored two pole positions for the crew.
The GT Cup Class Championship Team trophy was won by #96 TKS Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, thanks to their win in both Fuji and Sepang. Team NZ were second in class with their win in Buriram with the #77 Team NZ Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
Shinyo Sano and Takuma Aoki took home the Driver’s Championship title with 52 points from the #96 Porsche. Graeme Dowsett and John Curran shared second place with their 44 points from the #77 Porsche. Takuya Shiraka, Shigeto Nagashima and Paul Kanjanpas shared third at 26 points, having each just taken part in one race.
Having only had one team entry in the CN class, PS Racing took home the team title trophy with the #68 PS Racing Ligier JS53. The driver’s title was shared by all who took part this year, Kenji Abe, Akihiro Asai, Qin Tianqi, Tira Sosothikul and Medhapan Sundaradeja.
A special ‘Man of the Year’ prize was awarded to Mok Weng Sun for his commitment to the series, as well as for Clearwater Racing’s hope for climbing up the ranks of the Endurance Racing ladder by applying to enter the FIA World Endurance Championship next year.
Team of the year was awarded to Algarve Pro Racing, thanking them for their two-car effort in LMP2 in the Asian Le Mans Series after their campaign in the ELMS.
Thanks to their Championship titles from the season, Algarve Pro Racing, Tockwith Motorsports and DH Racing have each received invitations to take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
As the scorching afternoon sun heats up Sepang International Circuit, it was the 25 race cars out on track that really turned up the temperature. The four hour season finale race saw 71 race drivers from around the world congregate here in Malaysia, for the deciding weekend on who wins the invite to compete at the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans. For more, Click Here.
The # 25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Nissan has won the 4 Hours of Sepang, taking their first victory of the season and claiming the championship title. They finished ahead of the #8 Race Performance Oreca 03R Judd and their sister car, the #24 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Judd. In LMP3, the #26 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP3 managed to claim the class victory in the last few laps, ensuring their class title as well. The #31 Team Audi Korea Audi R8 LMS GT3 scored their first win of the season in the GT class, and the #96 TKS Porsche 911 GT3 Cup made their return to the series and won the GT Cup class.
On the hottest day of the race weekend so far, the 25 cars took to the track for the final race of the 2016-2017 Asian Le Mans Series, the 4 Hours of Sepang. It wasn’t the cleanest race start of the season,after an incident at turn 1 on the first lap saw the #35 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 03R Nissan get a puncture which brought the safety car out as it had to make its way slowly back to the pits, damaging the bodywork as it went along. They rejoined a couple of times, before retiring at the end of the first hour with engine trouble. This left the championship fight open to both Algarve Pro Racing crews.
By the second hour, the race had settled and the near continuous shuffle in the top three spots began, with the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Nissan, driven by Aidan Read, Andrea Roda and Andrea Pizzitola coming out victorious and crossing the line first. The fight for second place was quite strong, with the crew of the #8 Race Performance Oreca 03R Judd, Giorgio Maggi, Struan Moore and Fabien Schiller taking the second step on the podium, after a slow pit stop cost the crew of the #24 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Judd precious seconds and relegated them to third, but Tacksung Kim, Michael Munemann and Mark Patterson seemed pleased with their result.
The LMP3 class saw a strong battle between the Ligier JSP3 cars, who performed very well throughout the race. After the incident on lap one, Nigel Moore in the #26 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP3 managed to avoid the LMP2 cars that were caught up and ended up leading the race overall for several laps. With Phil Hanson sharing the stints, they managed to claim the LMP3 class win and LMP3 Championship title. They didn’t have it easy though, and had to fight off strong competition from the #85 G-Print by Triple 1 Racing Ligier JSP3, shared by Hanss Lin and Shaun Thong Wei Fung, who finished second. We also saw a strong performance from the #1 Jackie Chan DC Racing Ligier JSP3, with James Winslow, David Cheng and Hiroki Yoshida sharing the drive to come third in class.
It hasn’t been an easy weekend for the Ginetta LMP3 cars, who had showed their strength at Sepang during the Sprint Cup last year. The highest placed was the #69 Aylezo Ecotint Racing Ginetta LMP3, with Zen Low, Weiron Tan and Riki Christodoulou, who finished 4th in class, 14th overall, ahead of the #99 Wineurasia Ligier JSP3 with Scott Andrews, William Lok and Devon Modell finishing 5th in class.
Leading the LMP3 class as the weekend began, the #4 ARC Bratislava Ginetta had some issues with their car due to a collision which cost them time in the pits, and made them finish 6th in class. The sister car, the #7 ARC Bratislava Ginetta LMP3 was 7th in class. The PRT Racing Ginetta LMP3 also struggled after a collision and finished in the pits after losing a wheel.
The sole ADESS racing with us this weekend, the #93 FIST-Team AAI ADESS 03 had an unfortunate end after a bumpy weekend, retiring in the pit box in the first hour with a broken transmission.
In the GT Class, the #31 Team Audi Korea Audi R8 LMS GT3 dominated the class for most of the race, with the trio of Kyong Ouk You, Marchy Lee and Alex Yoong delivering the team’s best performance of the season. Closing in was the pole-sitting #3 DH Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 of Rino Mastronardi, Alex Riberas and Olivier Beretta who took home second place, and the #37 Team BBT Ferrari 488 GT3 with Anthony Liu, Davide Rizzo and Alessandro Pier Guidi came third. The #61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 managed a good climb up the field and finished fourth, with Mok Weng Sun, Keita Sawa and Matt Griffin sharing the drive. #5 DH Racing Ferrari 488 GT3’s 5th place secured their title and they will leave Sepang as GT Class champions and have a seat to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The GT Cup class saw the most action it’s had all season, with both entries equally matched and fighting for the win. Having done one round each, they started the weekend on equal points. The #77 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup went off into the gravel in the first hour, losing a bit of time, and letting the #96 create a decent gap. They never managed to catch them back up afterwards and the race and GT Cup title win went to the #96 TKS Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, shared between Shinyo Sano, Takuma Aoki and Shigeto Nagashima. The Team NZ crew came away with 2nd place on the podium for Graeme Dowsett, John Curran and Will Bamber.
After this busy final race of the season, we would like to congratulate our title champions, especially the three teams who now have invitations to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, Algarve Pro Racing, Tockwith Motorsports and DH Racing.
We hope to see you in the summer for the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup, and then in October for the next season of the Asian Le Mans Series, starting in China.
Overall winner – #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Nissan
Andrea Roda: “It was a strange start, with a lot of crashes and so we basically started from last position, and we had to deal with the traffic with the GT and LMP3, but I tried to avoid any issues and crashes. I tried to push as much as I could for 2 stints. We had very good pace. The car was awesome. When I left the car I was wrecked from the heat. I was really happy to have pushed as hard as I did and to take the title as driver and for the team. We deserve it and worked hard for it. We’re so proud of this and we have to congratulate DC Racing and Race Performance for the challenge because it was really hard to achieve this.”
Aidan Read: “It was a great stint for me and I was very happy. It was a massive challenge coming here for my first time in an LMP2. I had a great time out in the car. The speed was good. As we saw, the start was interesting and mixed up the race completely. From there it was about running consistently. We were in a good position and it was about executing our best race. I think we’re done that today. We had some real great pace on track, we were consistent and out of trouble. It was great to come here and contribute to a championship with the Algarve team. These two Andreas make great team mates, they’ve been fantastic. Fast but also very relaxed, in and out of the car. It’s been an amazing weekend. I can’t explain how I’m feeling.”
Andrea Pizzitola: “It was an easy job after the performance of these two guys. As they said, they managed to avoid all the problems and go through the traffic and they did really well. I just managed to bring the car home. It was a long race for me. You just know you don’t have to crash, you know you have to finish the race, so it’s a double challenge. That was pretty hard, but I’m happy for the guys and the team. As Andrea said, congratulations to DC Racing and Race Performance because it’s been a great season with them.”
2nd place – #8 Race Performance Oreca 03R Judd
Giorgio Maggi: “It was a bit of a mess at the start. I got a good launch, I was on the inside line and I locked the wheels a bit, I tried to avoid going over the inside kerb, but that’s racing. These things happen and I’m sorry about it. The rest of the race was quite difficult because the front aero balance was quite messed up, and also our engine water temperature was quite high. I couldn’t really push with the car.”
Fabien Schiller: “I was second in the car and did a double stint. I had every kind of problem you could have. Everything started with a tyre problem at front left, because we lost some of the flaps at the front from the collision at the start. So we didn’t have enough front aero balance. So I had a lot of understeer in quick corners, and then I messed up my front tyres. We started to get some problems with the gearbox too, the clutch…I had quite a few challenges with the car, but everyone did a good job to get it solved. We still managed a good stint to get second place with a good overtake. I’m really happy with it. It’s been a great season for me this winter. I think we all learnt a lot over here and it’s been really enjoyable.”
Struan Moore: “First of all, congratulations to these guys. It’s a shame not to have DC Racing up here, but that’s how it is. Without the brake failure in round 1, and in round 3 we had multiple failures. But we can’t take anything away from the competition, they’ve done a really solid job. I think we’ve finished last in the championship, which is a shame considering the pace. Congratulations to everyone and I’ve really enjoyed working with Fabien and Giorgio so hopefully they’re back next year.”
3rd place – #24 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Judd
Michael Munemann: “I want to thank the organisers. As you know, I love the Asian championship, it’s a lot of fun. I’m a bit disappointed not to finish second. We had a miserable pit stop where we lost 8 seconds. Mark has left me in awe, and I’m looking forward to my retirement if I can retire like him. It’s been a lot of fun. We had terrible luck the first two rounds, I don’t want to win the championship this way as a team, but god has a strange sense of humour.”
Tacksung Kim: “I had trouble with the brake pads at the beginning, which took me some while to get used to. But my team mates did a good job, especially Mark, he’s the quickest of all.”
Mark Patterson: “I’m still a bit tired. I’d like to thank the organisers for a great race. It’s nice to compete with good friends, three drivers from 8 different countries. I only got to drive the first, fifth, sixth and seventh stint. It was a lot of fun. Thanks to my partners here. Thanks to Algarve Racing, these guys did a marvellous job. Nothing broke, we had a race breakdown and we came third instead of second. Great fun. Thank you again.”
LMP3 class winners – #26 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP3
Nigel Moore: “It was great. We had a pretty good start and ended up leading the race overall for quite a few laps. There was an incident on the first corner in the first lap and avoided it as best we could. The team did an absolutely fantastic job. The car’s been absolutely amazing all weekend, all season. For Phil, going into his second year now and winning his first Le Mans Series Championship like this is pretty good, so a big thank you to him, my parents, his parents, and everyone involved with Tockwith Motorsports. It’s been really good.”
Phil Hanson: “I double stinted in the middle, so I did the 2nd and 3rd hour of the race. Physically it wasn’t too bad. I was double stinting the last few rounds. Like Nigel said, brilliant result, really happy winning a championship. That last stint was quite exciting as well. A big thank you to everyone at Tockwith Motorsport, all the mechanics. Also to Ligier. It’s been a quick car throughout the year, and especially at the last round, you can see the support you get from Ligier.”
GT class winners – #31 Team Audi Korea Audi R8 LMS GT3
Alex Yoong: “It was a good race. I’m very happy. We were leading although we weren’t quite as quick as the Ferraris. We always knew that the car was very good, very kind on the tyres. Operationally it’s been perfect. The drivers did a great job. I think they made the right decisions at the right time. Very happy with our first win.”
Kyong Ouk You: “The car was perfect, the setup was perfect, teamwork with the drivers was perfect. I’m so very happy.”
Marchy Lee: “It was really tough. I think the weather was really tough on everybody. First of all we’re very happy to come to the Asian Le Mans, I think the organising ACO did a great job. A lot of people told us we ended up in the wrong championship and I think we proved them wrong. I think Asian Le Mans is a very good championship and good for everybody to win. I’m very happy. We have to thank Audi Korea support, Audi Cup, Audi Hong Kong. Very happy today.”
GT Cup class winners – #96 TKS Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
Takuma Aoki: “It was amazing to be back. We’re newcomers this year, this team. The race was amazing. It was very hard for me, it was very hot, the conditions weren’t so good for me, so my stint was hard to control. But my team gave me good advice to coach me through it. I want to thank my team and my team mates.”
Shinyo Sano: “I’m very, very happy. Like Aoki said, we’re a new team, new to the series. We completed our missing in Fuji, which was to finish a race, so we reached our target. To win this and get the points and the championship is a great extra. Now we’re champions, we might look to move up the ranks, maybe to GT or LMP and might come back to Asian Le Mans.”
Shigeto Nagashima: “We were concerned about the other GT Cup team as they were very fast in Free Practice. But our mechanics and teams started to prepare a perfectly set-up car. Thanks to the staff and everybody. I really enjoyed working with the other two drivers.”
The #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Nissan will start on pole for the final race of the 2016-2017 Asian Le Mans Series here in Sepang. Andrea Pizzitola went quickest overall today in the hot and humid weather, claiming his third pole of the season, with a best time of 1:55.279, 0.008 ahead of the #35 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 03R Nissan that will be starting on the front row alongside them tomorrow afternoon. The #26 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP3 was quickest in LMP3 with a time of 1:59.345. The GT class pole sitter is the #3 DH Racing Ferrari 488 GT3, and the #96 TKS Porsche 911 GT3 Cup took the GT Cup class pole.
The free practice sessions saw a few red flags as the teams got to grips with the final circuit layout of the season. The second session was quite damp and saw a bit of rain but it didn’t cause too much disruption. All 25 cars took part in both sessions and the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Nissan went quickest overall with a time of 1:55.896 in the morning session. The #26 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JS P3 was the quickest LMP3 car in both sessions. The #90 FIST-Team AAI BMW M6 GT3 was the fastest GT car out of both sessions, and the #77 Team NZ Porsche 911 GT3 Cup the quickest in the GT Cup class. The newcomer this round, the #93 FIST-Team AAI ADESS 03 had a few issues and ended up in the gravel in both FP1 and FP2.
Qualifying got underway in the late afternoon, and saw Algarve Pro Racing continue their strong start to the weekend, taking pole for tomorrow’s four-hour race with the #25 Ligier JSP2 Nissan.
The GT and GT Cup qualifying session was the first to take place and was interrupted by a red flag early on due to the #77 Team NZ Porsche 911 GT3 Cup getting stuck in the gravel at T1. Once that was sorted, the session resumed and saw Alex Riberas claim the first pole of the season for the #3 DH Racing Ferrari 488 GT3, setting a time of 2:02.375. Although he tried and came very close, Alessandro Pier Guidi couldn’t claim his third class pole of the season in the #37 Team BBT Ferrari 488 GT3, setting a time of 2:02.379, a mere 0.004 behind the class pole sitter. Third quickest in the GT Class was the #31 Team Audi Korea Audi R8 LMS GT3 with Malaysian Alex Yoong at the wheel, the best qualifying result for the Audi this season, with a time of 2:02.540. The GT Class is incredibly strong and close here in Sepang, with the 9 top cars setting times less than a second off the pole sitter’s pace, showing how well the class’ BOP is balanced.
The GT Cup class pole went to Shinyo Sano in the #96 TKS Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, claiming his second class pole since Fuji with a best lap of 2:12.071 set in his last lap. Team NZ’s best lap time was set by Will Bamber, who managed a 2:12.287 in the #77 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
Then followed the LMP qualifying session that ran without incident. It was a very close battle for the overall pole between the #35 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 03R Nissan and the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Nissan. In the end, Andrea Pizzitola claimed the top spot for the #25 Ligier JSP2 Nissan, a mere 0.008 ahead of Ho-Pin Tung in the #35 Oreca 03R Nissan. Struan Moore in the #8 Race Performance Oreca 03R Judd set a time of 1:55.544, also a very strong time. Michael Munemann set a best lap of 1:58.103 in the #24 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Judd, placing them 4th.
In the LMP3 class, Nigel Moore in the #26 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP3 set the best time in his final lap, with a time of 1:59.345. 0.133 seconds behind him was Scott Andrews in the #99 Wineurasia Ligier JSP3. Third best time was the #1 Jackie Chan DC Racing Ligier JSP3, thanks to James Winslow’s 1:59.597 lap. The strongest Ginetta in the session was the #67 PRT Racing Ginetta LMP3, 5th in class, thanks to Charlie Robertson’s lap of 1:59.676. The #93 FIST-Team AAI ADESS 03 had Ryohei Sakaguchi set their quickest lap of 2:04.607. The top 7 in the class are within a second of the pole sitter, announcing strong fights to come in tomorrow’s main event.
See you tomorrow for the final race of the 2016-2017 season of the Asian Le Mans Series, starting at 12:15 local time, which will be streamed online with commentary from DSC’s Graham Goodwin.
#25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Nissan
Andrea Pizzitola: “I was pretty nervous in the car. When your engineer tells you that you are P2 by tenths off, that’s ok, but when you’re P2 by one tenth, you can’t go back into the box in P2. You just have to push every lap, and I was so close to the other guys. I had really good traffic management from my team. I’m really happy about this pole.”
#26 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP3
Nigel Moore: “It’s my first time at the circuit, so we’re still trying to get to grips with the circuit and getting the car adapted the best we can. The start of qualifying was all right. I wasn’t very happy, so came in and made a change. Then went out to do one flying lap, which I didn’t think was going to be enough at all. But it got us the pole that we needed and the extra point. Well done to the team, I’m really happy.”
#3 DH Racing Ferrari 488 GT3
Alex Riberas: “First of all I want to congratulate the other guys for their good job today. I have a special feeling right now. We came together as a team to Sepang, for me it’s the first time here, so we had to work a little bit to learn the track with our team mate Michele Rugolo who knows the track from the 12 Hour race. We did a lot of work together to try to improve ourselves. We are still battling to win in this championship as a team. To gain the one point advantage for the race is a mental victory for us. Tomorrow we’re still in the hunt for the championship; we’re third and our sister car is first. We will work as hard as we can to do our best, and hopefully we’ll come back as champions.”
#96 TKS Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
Shinyo Sano: “Thank you very much to our team and mechanics. This Sepang circuit is very difficult for me, but I managed to take the pole position. We’re all happy. Tomorrow, I must win, as there is another team in the class with the same points, so I must win.”
After three highly successful race weekends which kicked off at the Zhuhai International Circuit in November 2016, followed by Round Two at the Fuji International Speedway a month later and Round Three at the Chang International Circuit earlier this month, we return to Sepang International Circuit for the fourth and final round of this season’s Asian Le Mans Series.
With 25 cars competing in this final showdown and multiple teams still in contention for the win in their respective class, the weekend is looking positively exciting. The grid will comprise of four machines in the LMP2 class; nine machines in the LMP3 class; 10 cars in the GT class and two cars in the GT Cup class. For more, Click Here.
The 15-minute qualifying session for both the GT and GT-Cup classes kicked off at 1715hrs, with 10 cars competing in the GT class and two cars in the GT-Cup class.
Three minutes into the qualifying session and car #77 piloted by Will Bamber from the GT-Cup class finds itself in the gravel at Turn 1, resulting in a red flagged pause from 1718hrs till 1722hrs. But aside from the brief incident, the fight for pole position in class was fierce among all competitors, evident in their individual best timings. For more, Click Here.