Jackie Chan DC Racing X Jota Sport Win Round 1 Of Asian Le Mans Series

 

– #18 Ligier JS P3 of KCMG in LMP3
– #91 FIST- Team AAI BMW M6 GT3 won the GT Class

A faultless run from the #8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x Jota Sport in their Oreca 05 Nissan, has seen them claim an outstanding race win in the opening round of the 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series, the Zhuhai 4 Hours.

The result was all the more impressive for the rookie driver Harrison Newey who claimed his first win in his endurance racing debut this weekend.

After fighting hard all race, the #37 Ligier JS P2 from BBT came home second, with the ARC Bratislava #4 Ligier JS P2 finishing 3rd.

After a very tight battle for LMP3 honours, it was Pole Sitter, the #18 Ligier JS P3 of KCMG, that just beat the Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport #11 Ligier JS P3. Coming home 3rd in the class was the third entry for Jackie Chan DC Racing x Jota Sport.

In the GT class, the battle was even tighter. With 45 minutes left there was just 6 seconds separating the top three cars in the GT Class. The battle was particularly fierce throughout the whole race between the two FIST – Team AAI cars. In the end it was the #91 BMW M6 GT3 that came out in front of the #90 Mercedes-AMG GT3. In third place was the #66 Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT entry.

After claiming his first solo Pole Position in LMP2 yesterday, Thomas Laurent started the race alongside the team’s sister car, the #7 Oreca 05 Nissan. He made a clean get away and began to pull away from the pack.

Behind him, the #90 FIST-Team AAI with Rafaelle Marciello behind the wheel, was given a drive through penalty for a jump start. It did not take Rafaelle long to get back on the tail of the field though, and was battling closely with his team mate shortly after.

After a strong start the ARC Bratislava piloted by Rik Breukers made a small error and went off the track, dropping to the back of the field.

While Thomas in the #8 was running comfortably in the lead, things were not going to plan for the sister car. After just 10 minutes the #7 stopped on circuit, he was able to rejoin at the rear of the grid, however it was a sign of things to come.

A full course yellow came out after just 15 minutes due to debris on track. BBT took this opportunity to stop for a quick splash of fuel – something that they hoped may come to help them later in the race. The debris was a result of an incident between the lead car, car 8, and the #66 Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT entry. The incident resulted in Peng Liu in the #66 being given a ten second stop and go penalty as a result of causing the accident.

After just half an hour of racing, Thomas had pulled out an impressive lead from BBT. Behind the wheel of the BBT Ligier was Davide Rizzo who won the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup with WIN Motorsport earlier this year. He has now made the step up into the LMP2 class with BBT.

During their pit stop the team were required to repair significant rear left damage, caused during the earlier incident. The stop was very lengthy, but thanks to the strong gap Laurent had managed to pull out before their stop, they came out in 7th place. His job done, Thomas handed the car over to rookie Harrison Newey to fight his way back up the order.

The sister car driven by team co-owner, Chinese driver David Cheng, was struggling badly with power steering problems and other electrical gremlins occurring that caused them to spend significant time in the pits.

After the first hour, it was the Ligier JS P3 of Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport being driven by Hanss Lin that led LMP3 class, with the KCMG entry just two seconds behind them. In third place it was the Viper Niza Racing entry with Dominic Ang behind the wheel.

After the penalty for the jump start, Rafaelle got his head down and settled into the lead of the GT class in the FIST-Team AAI Mercedes-AMG GT3. The team ran different strategies for their two cars with the Mercedes starting with their highest rated driver, and the BMW starting with their gentleman driver. Rafaelle is a platinum driver which means he is significantly more experienced than Junsan Chen who is a bronze rated driver.

After the pit stops, it was reversed with Lam Yu jumping behind the wheel of the Mercedes, and Australian Supercar driver, Chaz Mostert getting in the BMW.

After their long stop Harrison set about fighting back the time they lost in the pit lane. Thanks in part to their decision to stop early during the safety car, Davide held the lead after the first hour. In a very mature drive, Harrison took the lead on lap 47.

Just prior to the half way point the leader in LMP3 – the Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport team were handed a drive through penalty for a violation of FCY speed. At this point the team was holding a very small lead over the KCMG team who were right on their tail. The drive through dropped them into second in class ahead of WIN Motorsport.

At the half way mark the lead was held by Harrison in the #8 Oreca, ahead of the BBT car that had just been handed over to their gentleman driver, Anthony Xu Liu. Given the additional fuel stop BBT had early in the race they were slightly out of synch, but close to a lap behind.

Just after the half way mark the Viper Niza Racing Ligier JSP3 went off at T7 and got stuck in the gravel bringing out a full course yellow while the marshals recovered the car. They were able to get back onto the track, but dropped well down the order and went straight into the pits. They got back out again, however they had dropped well back.

Chaz had closed the gap significantly to the sister FIST – Team AAI during his stint, but the Mercedes was able to take advantage of the full course yellow to pit and remained in from of the BMW.

A puncture for WIN Motorsport after 2.5 hours of the race cost them a lot of time with Richard Bradley behind the wheel.

After getting caught by a slower car, a spin and flat spotted tyre for the KCMG entry saw them pit early. They used this opportunity to put class Pole Sitter, Josh Burdon into the car. Josh set about closing down the one lap gap to the #11 Ligier with Shaun Thong behind the wheel. The blistering pace seen during qualifying was there in this stint as well, with Josh going up to four seconds a lap quicker than Shaun. Josh was able to do enough to close the gap and took the lead when the #11 came into the pits. A lead he held until the end of the race.

In the GT Class things were getting very close. With just 30 minutes to go there was just 4 seconds between the top two GT runners with the BMW leading the Mercedes.

In the end it was the BMW that came out on top. The Mercedes was battling brake issues that were getting progressively worse as the race went on. They managed to hold on to second place and finished ahead of the Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT entry.

While BBT put in an impressive performance this weekend, the #8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x Jota Sport entry was just in a class of its own, ultimately coming home a lap ahead of the BBT entry.

 


Quotes – LMP2 Winners – Jackie Chan DC Racing x Jota Sport

Thomas Laurent:
“We lost 2 minutes while in the pits to repair the damage to the car, but the mechanics did a really good job and the car was just amazing to drive! The damage to the car absolutely did not effect our pace.

“A big thanks to all of the team and a big congratulations to our rookie! And of course, my other team mate!”

Harrison Newey:
“Thomas did a great job and gave me the car with a healthy lead, unfortunately we did lose a lot of time in the pit stop, so we dropped back.

“I jumped straight into the car with new tyres and felt good. I pushed hard, then caught and passed the leader and felt comfortable from there. It went pretty quickly for something that is almost triple the length of any race I have done before!”

Stephane Richelmi:
“It was almost an easy job – when you jump in the car with almost a lap lead it’s a pretty cool feeling, but I had to do a double stint and the team were keeping me updated with how everything was going, and the car felt really good so for sure it is always good when everything is fine and you can push wherever you want. The only bad thing was when I went off track in turn one, I made a small mistake in the marbles, fortunately it didn’t change the results.

“It is a pretty good start for our Asian Le Mans Series campaign, we are here to win the Championship so we have done the job. The team did a flawless job this weekend, and hopefully we will do the same in Fuji.”

Jackie Chan DC Racing X Jota Sport Claim Asian Le Mans Series Pole

KCMG on top in LMP3
FIST – Team AAI Mercedes on pole in GT

Jackie Chan DC Racing x Jota Sport have locked out the front row of the grid for the first round of the 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series. Running at the Zhuhai International Circuit, it will be the #8 Oreca 05 Nissan that will start from Pole Position, alongside the team’s sister car, the #7 Oreca 05 Nissan.  

Qualifying for the Asian Le Mans Series is broken into two sessions, one for the LMP2 and LMP3 classes combined, and another for the GT class.  With each session running for just 15 minutes, the teams and drivers do not have much room for error.

Each team must nominate one driver to represent their team during the qualifying session.

 

LMP2 & LMP3:

It was Pipo Derani in the BBT Ligier JS P2 that was the first of the runners to set a quick time, but it was the Aussie driver Josh Burdon that was making an impact. Putting in a blistering lap in the KCMG Ligier JSP3 he was sitting in 2nd place outright early in the session.

After showing promising pace in practice, trouble hit ARC Bratislava during qualifying. Their driver Konstantins Calko went off the track on cold tyres, damaging the body work of their Ligier JS P2.

The times kept dropping as the session went on, with Frenchman Thomas Laurent in the #8 Oreca grabbing pole for Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA Sport. With a quick time of 1:27.615, he was just 0.15 ahead of his Chinese team mate Ho-Pin Tung in the #7. Making it a very tight top three, Brazilian Pipo Derani set a time of 1:27.979, just 2 tenths behind Ho-Pin Tung.  

Even with damage to their car, ARC Bratislava set a time quick enough for 4th place on the grid.

Meanwhile, in LMP3 it was the #18 Ligier JS P3 of KCMG that remained quickest at the end of the session. The team will not have things all their own way in the race though with the Hong Kong based team, WIN Motorsport starting 2nd in the LMP3 class. The team that recently claimed the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup title, will no doubt take the fight to KCMG in the race.

Third in the LMP3 Class went to the 3rd Jackie Chan DC Racing x Jota Liger JS P3.

 

Quotes from Thomas Laurent, Jackie Chan DC Racing x Jota Sport:

“It has been an amazing few months and for the moment I am enjoying it, but we will need to see in the race tomorrow if we are still first – but of course that is our goal!”

“Half way through our session we came in and made an adjustment to our tyre pressures – it is the only thing we are allowed to change during qualifying – and it made the difference.

“As a team we are really proud to have both cars on the front row of the grid for tomorrow, and we will see what happens in the race, but it is a nice start for Jackie Chan DC Racing!

“Tomorrow will be the first time I will start, so for me it will be something new!”

 

Quotes from Josh Burdon, KCMG:

“I thought the quick time was in the car after practice this morning. We did a green tyre run early, and after just one lap I had a good feeling in the car, so I knew that we were on target for a good qualifying time.

“We have been working really had on the car – it is the first time this team’s driven on Michelin tyres, so it has been a bit of a learning curve yesterday and today. It was a great job by my team mates as well, we were able to collect a lot of data and put it all together over one lap. 

“I am really happy to be here, and to be honest I really enjoy this sort of racing. It is a real team effort and we are having a lot of fun!”

 


 

GT Class:

In GT it was also a tightly fought battle, especially between the two FIST-Team AAI cars.

Ultimately it was to be Rafaelle Marciello in the Mercedes-AMG GT3, that just pipped his team mate Jesse Krohn in the BMW M6 GT3.

After becoming the first amateur driver to win the Audi R8 LMS Cup just two weeks ago, Chinese driver Weian Chen will line up 3rd in the GT Class after his team mate Massimiliano Wiser qualified in the Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT entry.  

 

Quotes from Rafaelle Marciello, FIST-Team AAI:

“I think it was a good qualifying for us and our car is behaving very well, but I think the most important thing is for tomorrow and the race. Our car is handling the conditions quiet well so let’s hope for a nice and clean race tomorrow.

“The Mercedes AMG GT3 is a really good car to drive, and really important is that it is good on its tyres for endurance races like tomorrow’s race. I think it will be a fun race!”

2017/2018 Asian Le Mans Series: Round 1 Preview

The first round of the 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series kicks off this week at the Zhuhai International Circuit. The Asian Le Mans Series, the premier endurance racing series in Asia will feature world class teams and drivers, and is set to be broadcast to a record breaking global audience.

This will be the second time the Series has visited the Zhuhai International Circuit since the ACO took over management. Holding it’s inaugural international race 1996, the circuit became China’s first permanent motor race track. The 4.319km track is now home to many motorsport teams including Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT that will be racing in the Asian Le Mans Series this weekend.

The Asian Le Mans Series grid will see a mix of cars which is synonymous with the Le Mans brand of racing with both prototypes and GT cars sharing the track for the 4-hour race.

Quality field including World Class teams and Reigning Champions:
The field this year will be a truly international one, featuring teams and drivers from 19 different countries. For the opening round, there will be 11 drivers from China.

Teams from:
Bratislava, China, Malaysia, Philippines, Portugal, and Switzerland

Drivers from:
China, Latvia, Slovakia, the Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, Japan, Brazil, Italy, USA, Malaysia, Finland and New Zealand.

The world class pedigree of the field for this season is clearly demonstrated by Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport. The team will be back this year with a three-car effort, with team co-owner David Cheng chasing his fourth Asian Le Mans Series title. With two entries in LMP2 they will be hoping to go one better in the Championship after finishing second last season. They have brought with them a strong line up of LMP2 Class winners from both Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship.

The team claimed 1st and 2nd in the LMP2 class, and finished an impressive second and third outright in the highly prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans earlier this year and are currently leading their class in the World Endurance Championship.

Leading the way for the team will be the Chinese pairing of David Cheng and Ho-Pin Tung that race for the team in the World Endurance Championship. Their sister LMP2 entry will also be one to watch. Thomas Laurent who is currently leading the LMP2 class in WEC with the team, and who has recently been selected by the Toyota LMP1 for their young driver test later in the year, will be joined by Stéphane Richelmi and rookie Harrison Newey. Richelmi was the World Endurance Championship LMP2 Champion and winner of the LMP2 class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year.

Returning after a stellar performance last year that saw them not only claim the LMP2 Championship, but also take out 3rd in the Championship, is Algarve Pro Racing. The 2016/17 Team of the Year will return this year in an effort to defend their title. They bring with them strong history with the Series that also saw them finish 2nd in the 2015/16 season. As a result of winning the Championship last year, the team received an invitation to race in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

LMP3 Championship runner up, ARC Bratislava will make the step up to fight for outright honours this year in the LMP2 Class. They are another Asian Le Mans Series team that competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year.

After finishing third in the GT class last season, BBT will this make the big step up to the LMP2 class. They will have a solid driver line up helping their cause with Pipo Derani joining the team. Derani raced with the Ford Chip Ganassi Team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing second. Last year he won both the 24 Hours of Daytona and Sebring 12 Hours.

Eurasia Motorsport return this season with a two-car team in LMP2. In their #33 entry will be female Japanese racer, Keiko Ihara who is previous Asian Le Mans Series round winner in 2014 with Oak Racing.

Reining Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup Champions, WIN Motorsport will compete in the LMP3 class, with William Lok again leading the way. He will again be joined by the 2015 LMP2 winner in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Richard They will be joined by their main protagonists in the 2017 Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup, Championship runner up TKS in the next round to be held in Japan. TKS won the GT Cup class in the previous season.

In addition to dominating this year’s Sprint Cup, WIN Motorsport also picked up a top ten finish in the Race to Le Mans support races. The team is hoping to progress further up the ACO endurance racing ladder with ambitions to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the coming years.

They will have fierce competition for LMP3 honours, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans entry with Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA, and KCMG also returning to the Series. Niza Viper Racing are also back with Douglas Khoo and Dominic Ang to challenge for LMP3 victory in LMP3.

FIST Team AAI have a strong line up in GT, racing both a Mercedes and a BMW this year. Behind the wheel of their BWM will be one of Australia’s top Supercar racers, Chaz Mostert. Joining Chaz will be Junsen Chen, a long-time supporter of the Asian Le Mans Series. He also raced, and finished the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016.

After winning the GT Cup class in this year’s Sprint Cup, Team NZ will be hoping to do the same again in the main Series.

The field is expected to see strong growth in both the LMP and GT fields from second round the Series in Fuji onwards.

Please find the full entry list for Zhuhai round here.

World Class broadcast schedule – free, live and in full:
The 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series is set to be broadcast to a record TV audience, reaching all corners of the globe, with a particular emphasis on the Asia Pacific region.

Fronting the broadcast will be a voice instantly recognisable to endurance racing fans. Graham Goodwin, Editor of Daily Sportscar and one of the World Endurance Championship commentators, will be joined in the commentary box by Jeevan Selvanathan. The coverage will be presented by Nadia Nash.

The preliminary list of broadcasters shows the coverage will be broadcast through over 18 networks, in around 100 countries as far reaching the USA, Mexico, Europe, and Australia.

In Asia, the 2017/18 season will be broadcast on the Fox, beIN Sports, Le Sport and Eleven Sports networks, along with on Star Sports. These networks feature an extensive reach including China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.

New Chinese media partner delivers massive reach:
Coverage of the Asian Le Mans Series in China has received a significant boost this season with Tencent, the leading internet service company in China, being signed as a media partner. They will broadcast live and highlights packages of the races through Tencent Sports network on both PC and mobile services. This coverage will also be supported by edited VOD and news coverage.

Tencent ranks amongst the top ten internet companies globally and they have 85% mobile social market share and reach 90% overall social media users. This will deliver significant reach and help the Series to further grow interest in endurance racing in China.

Up for grabs – four invitations to the 24 Hours of Le Mans:
This year saw the strongest ever representation of teams that have competed in the Asian Le Mans Series racing at Le Mans. Not only did they simply turn up, they also made a significant impact in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, an impressively all of them crossed the finish line after 24 Hours.

Strong growth in the premier prototype endurance racing category in Asia – LMP2. The class has grown from four cars in the previous season to six for the opening round of the 2017/18 season. Not only it will be the strongest ever LMP2 grid in the series history ever, it is also proof of the growth and development of prototype racing in Asia.

Prestigious partners – the Asian Le Mans Series is proud to be run in partnership with premier technical partners.

Michelin:
Michelin is the world leader, especially in endurance racing where they have dominated for many years. They have tasted unrivalled success in recent years in the 24 Hours of Le Mans where this year they recorded their 20th consecutive victory.

TOTAL:
Total is a highly experience fuel supplier, with leading-edge technology. The French petroleum company will exclusively supply the Asian Le Mans Series teams with 102RON fuel specially developed by Total additives and special fuels.