All Malaysian Line Up Wins In Asian Le Mans Series

Historic result at the first ever 6 hour race in the Asian Le Mans Series

Class Winners:
LMP2: #7 Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA Sport Oreca 05
LMP3: #18 KCMG Motorsport Ligier JS P3
GT: #91 FIST Team AAI BMW M6 GT3
GT Cup: #77 Team NZ Porsche 997 GT3

In their debut in the Asian Le Mans Series, the all-Malaysian line up in the #7 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Oreca 05 Nissan has claimed a hard-fought victory in 6 Hours of Buriram.

Round 3 saw Jazeman Jaafar, Weiron Tan and Afiq Ikhwan Yazid debut in the Series with the support of the Sepang International Circuit. They were pushed hard throughout the whole race by their teammates in the #8 Oreca, before claiming the first ever all-Malaysian victory in the Asian Le Mans Series.

In LMP3, it was the #18 KCMG Motorsport Ligier JS P3 that returned to the top step of the podium. The Class was saw one of the closest battles seen with every entry holding a top two position – on merit – at one point during the race. Ultimately it was the #11 Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport Ligier JS P3 that came home second with the #1 WIN Motorsport Ligier JS P3 finishing 3rd.

After just 0.001 separated the top two in qualifying the stage was set for an epic fight for the GT Class victory and the race delivered. There was a three-way battle between the Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT Audi R8 LMS, and the Ferrari 488 GT3 and BMW M6 GT3 from FIST Team AAI. Accident damaged curtailed the Ferrari’s race, leaving the Audi and the BMW to continue trading places for much of the race, with the BMW coming out on top.

This is the third round of the 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series was held on Children’s Day in Thailand, and the track was full of family’s keen to check out the excitement of the 6 Hours of Buriram.

An audience of close to 20,000 filled the grandstands, with approximately 200,000 family members filling the circuit precinct to celebrate Children’s Day. They were not disappointed by the on track action, with battles occurring up and down the field throughout the whole 6 hours.

As this race is a 6 Hour race, two hours longer than the standard Asian Le Mans Series race, the teams were permitted to use additional Michelin tyres – one extra set for prototype entries and two extra sets for the GT entries to allow for the extra two hours racing.

Full results can be found here.


 

Race report:
 
Hour 1:

The race got off to a strong start for the pair of Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA Sport Oreca 05 Nissans with Stephane Richelmi in the #8 leading the way ahead of his Malaysian stablemate, Jazeman Jaafar in the #7. Behind them, the #37 BBT Ligier JS P2 was handed a 5 second penalty for a jump start – the time added to their first pit stop.
 
In LMP3 it was pole sitter, the #18 KCMG Motorsport Ligier JS P3 with Louis Prette at the wheel that started to pull away.  Behind Louis, LMP3 reigning Champion, Nigel Moore was fighting his way through the grid and had caught him.
 
In GT, just as in qualifying, there was an intense battle between the pole sitting #90 FIST Team AAI Ferrari 488 GT3 with Ollie Millroy behind the wheel, and the #66 Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT of Massimiliano Wiser. Early on it was the Audi holding the lead of under a second.
 
The #91 FIST Team AAI BMW M6 GT3 was holding third place with the team choosing to run their Bronze driver first, while the other cars had chosen to run their more experienced drivers.
 
After 45 minutes the first pit stops commenced. Unfortunately, when Jaafar exited the pit lane he ran over a traffic cone. It got caught in the bodywork of the car, causing the engine and brake temperatures to increase so the team called him in and removed it.
 
He was not the only one to have an issue after the first stop, Konstantins Calko in the #4 ARC Bratislava #4 Ligier JS P2.
 
In the closing moments of the opening hour, Moore was right on the tail of Prette who was leading the LMP3 class. Prette pitted and handed the lead to Moore.
 
Meanwhile in GT, the battle between the Audi and the Ferrari continued with the pair swapping places. It was the Audi that held the lead at the end of the first hour.
 
Hour 2:
At the start of the hour, there was drama as the Ferrari made contact with an LMP3 in traffic which caused a puncture in the Ferrari and resulted in a very slow lap back into the pits.
 
Race control called for a Full Course Yellow (FCY) period as a result of debris on the track and the Audi used this as an opportunity to pit for their first stop.
 
Trouble then hit the #65, with it stopping on the apex of T12 – but was able to re-join the circuit. After another spin, they were then handed a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
 
25 minutes into the 2nd hour, the Ferrari pits again after struggling with pace as a result of the earlier impact. It returns to the track, only to return to the pits and be wheeled back into the garage. It eventually returns to the track, but is 6 laps behind their sister car, the FIST Team AAI BMW.
 
With Chaz Mostert in the BMW, the team set about closing the gap that the leading Audi was able to pull out due to pitting under the FYC. 
 
In an otherwise quiet run for the #37 BBT Ligier JS P2 running in 3rd, they were handed another 10 second penalty, that was added to their next pit stop due to an earlier pit stop infringement.
 
In the LMP3 class an extra stop from the lead car, the #18, saw it drop back, and the #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Ligier JSP3 with Guy Cosmo at the wheel, was able to capitalise and took the class lead. With the #65 still suffering from their own problems, Cosmo held a comfortable lead in Class.  However, behind him the #11 Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport Ligier JS P3 of Ye Hong Li was on a charge – closing in on and passing Neric Wei in the KCMG Ligier JS P3. He then set his sights on Cosmo as hour 2 ended.
 
Out in front, Harrison Newey was putting in some solid lap times to hold the lead for the #8 over their sister car, the #7.
 
In front of the GT class it was the #66 Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT that held a comfortable lead, although the Team AAI BMW was closing the gap.
 
 
Hour 3: 
The problems for the #65 Viper Niza team continued – with an extended visit to the garage.
 
Half way through the third hour, the Bronze Cup leaders, the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 Nissan being driven by John Graham pits with a puncture.
 
At this point in the race, Pipo Derani was yet to get behind the wheel of the #37 BBT. As the team’s gold driver, they were saving their fastest driver until the end of the race. A tactic also being employed by the BMW team holding BMW factory driver Jesse Krohn back until the end of the race.
 
As the end of the 3rd hour approached, Japanese driver, Ye Hong Li in the #11 Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport Ligier JS P3 caught and passed the #6 to take the lead in the LMP3 class.
 
In GT, Chaz Mostert closed the gap between his BMW and the leading Audi, before passing him just as the 3rd hour ticked over and the second half of the race began.  
 
Out in front, Newey continued to lead the sister Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Oreca 05 Nissan.
 
Hour 4:
Once he was in front of the Audi, Mostert began to pull away, extending the BMW’s lead in the GT Class.
 
In a decision that ultimately played a big part in the result of the GT Class – the #66 Audi was then given a drive through penalty for constantly abusing track limits. The #66 was issued another penalty, this time a ten second stop & go drive through penalty for a speeding infringement under a FCY earlier in the race.
 
After a solid two-hour stint, Mostert handed the car back to Junsan Chen in the lead of the GT class.
 
After having earlier had problems, the GT Cup entry from Team NZ was back on track and running trouble free with Graeme Dowsett behind the wheel.  
 
In LMP3, with Josh Burdon getting into the KCMG it began to fly, taking the lead in the class before coming in and handing the car to his team mate Louis Prette.
 
Behind them, the #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Ligier JS P3 was having further problems, being shown a black and orange flag, requiring them to come into the pits to replace a mirror.
 
The #8 was also issued a drive through penalty in this hour for a pit entry violation earlier in the race. This penalty gave the #7 the advantage, taking a 30 second lead into the 5th hour. Behind them, Derani in the #37 BBT Ligier was a man on a mission chasing down the leading pair.
 
As the 4th hour came to a close, the battle between the top two LMP3 runners was intense between Hanss Lin in the #11 and Neric Wei in the #18. Further back, the Viper Niza car returned to the track after spending nearly 40 laps in the garage.
 
In GT, Junsan Chen brought the BMW back into the pits and handed it over to the team’s very quick Finnish driver, Jesse Krohn just as the hour finished.
 
Hour 5:
Out in front, the two Oreca’s were locked in a very tight battle – with absolutely nothing between them. BBT were running comfortably in 3rd, and ARC Bratislava were 4th.
 
While Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport were running in front of the LMP2 class, in LMP3, their sister Ligier JS P3 was struggling, coming into the pits and pulling the car into the garage.
 
In front KCMG was pulling out a solid lead from the Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport entry.
 
On a different pit stop strategy, the Audi was in the front for the start of the hour, however the BMW took the lead back when it pitted with approximately 1.5 hours to go in the race.
 
The second FCY was called when the Algarve Pro Racing car with Ate Dirk De Jong behind the wheel went off at T7.
 
Both the #7 and #8 used this as an opportunity to pit while the field was going slowly. BBT also stopped, with Derani getting back into the Ligier.
 
The Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport confirmed that the #8 had been fighting a possible gearbox problem, specifically a gear shift issue, and the #6 had a power steering problem that they hoped they had rectified in their lengthy stop.
 
Hour 6:
The final hour saw a hard charging Derani chasing the ailing #8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport. Unfortunately, he just did not have enough to close the gap. He was still able to finish the race in a comfortable 3rd place.
 
In LMP3 the #18 KCMG, and in GT the #91 were both able to consolidate their advantages in the final hour. Both ultimately came home with comfortable leads – in stark contrast to the intense battles they both fought during the race.
 
Team NZ were able to overcome the gremlins in the Porsche to finish the race and claim the GT Cup trophy.

 

Laurent On Pole For The 6 Hours of Buriram

 
 
Stage set for Asian Le Mans Series thriller after a tense qualifying session in all classes.
 
LMP2 – #8 成龍 Jackie Chan DC Racing X Jota Sport Oreca 05 Nissan / Thomas Laurent 
LMP3 – #18 KC Motorgroup Ltd (KCMG) Ligier Sportscars JS P3 / Josh Burdon
GT – #90 FIST Team AAI Ferrari 488 GT3 / Ollie Millroy Racing
GT Cup – #77 Team NZ Motorsport Porsche 997 GT3 / John Curran With just 0.009 between 1st and 2nd, in the LMP2 class, and just 0.001 between 1st and 2nd in the GT Class, the stage is set for a thrilling 6 Hours of Buriram tomorrow.
 
This Saturday will see the running of the third round of the 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series, the 6 Hours of Buriram, to be held at the Buriram International Circuit, in Thailand. This week has been most notable for the cool weather the teams have experienced – much milder than had been expected, and as the prototype session got under way the ambient temperature was a very comfortable 26 degrees.
 
Right from the start of the 15-minute session, the fight for pole position between the two Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA Sport Oreca 05 Nissans and the #37 BBT Ligier JS P2 was intense. Thomas Laurent in the #8 Oreca, and Pipo Derani in the #37, traded fastest times from the start. Later in the session they were joined by the #7 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport entry with Jazeman Jaafar behind the wheel.
 
At the end of the session the pole position was still anyone’s, but is was Thomas who just beat Pipo, with Jazeman just 0.107 further behind.
 
In 4th, and just a further 1.083 behind was Series debutant Gustavo Yacaman in the ARC Bratislava #4 Ligier JS P2 was just 1 second setting the race up perfectly.

In the Bronze Cup it was the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 Nissan being driven by Ate Dirk De Jong that led the way. 

 
In the LMP3 Class, it was Josh Burdon in the #18 KCMG Motorsport Ligier JS P3 leading the way yet again. He was quick straight away, sitting 3rd outright in the early stages of the session. Ultimately, he finished 5th outright and the fastest LMP3. 0.862 of a second behind him was the #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Ligier JS P3 with another of the Series debutants, Gabriel Aubry behind the wheel.
 
After an accident earlier in the day, #65 Viper Niza Racing team put in a huge effort to get their Ligier JS P3 back on track and into qualifying. The team did a great job, handing 2016/17 Asian Le Mans Series LMP3 Champion Nigel Moore  a car good enough to set a time just 0.2 behind and this saw him finish 3rd in Class.
 
4th in Class, was the #1 WIN Motorsport Ligier JS P3 piloted by Richard Bradley was just one tenth behind, and 5th in Class was Ye Hong Li in the #11 Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport Ligier JS P3, again just a tenth behind.
 
In the GT qualifying session things only got more dramatic.
 
Claiming pole position after the chequered flag had fallen was Ollie Millroy in the #90 FIST Team AAI GT3 Ferrari 488 GT3 by the smallest of margins – just 0.001 – from the #66 Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT being driven by Massimiliano Wiser.
 
Behind them it was a dramatic session for Jesse Krohn in the #91 FIST Team AAI GT3 BMW M6 GT3. While the Audi and the Ferrari continued to trade fastest laps, the team chose to leave him in the pit lane.
 
Half way through the session Jesse came out but immediately came in again to put on a fresh set of Michelin tyres. He was joined in the pit lane by his team mate in the Ferrari who was also in for fresh tyres.
 
While they did that, Massimiliano stayed out in the Audi and went to the top of the table.
 
On track, Jesse instantly went quickest on his first flying lap, but quickly after it was deleted due to a track limits violation. Meanwhile, Ollie in the Ferrari was again setting purple sector times, a last gasp effort saw him grab 2nd place.
 
At that point, things began to unravel for Jesse. After having his first flying lap deleted, he suffered the same fate for his only other flying lap also excluded. The BMW by then having pitted, was unable to repair the damage to the qualifying session.
 
This left him with no lap times, and will consequently start at the rear of the field.  
 
In the GT Cup Class, it was reigning Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup Class Champions, Team NZ with their #77 Porsche 997 GT3 being driven by John Curran that was quickest.
 
——
 
LMP2 – #8 成龍 Jackie Chan DC Racing X Jota Sport Oreca 05 Nissan / Thomas Laurent 
 

“It was very close but it is a good pole, so now we focus on the race for 6 Hours and we just have to finish the race – we must finish the race for the Championship.
 
“Of course it is also good to see the other team car there with us. We have known Jaz for a long time. He is new in sportscars but he has driven a lot in open wheeler cars and he has shown that he has good pace so we did expect his to be really close, it is nice to have three cars in one team. For us if they can be up and fighting with the BBT car that is a good thing for us.  
 
“It is nice to see Oreca fighting Ligier for the pole as well – it is good for both manufacturers. For now, we just need to stay out in front and we see what happens after 6 hours!”
 
 
LMP3 – #18 KC Motorgroup Ltd (KCMG) Ligier Sportscars JS P3 / Josh Burdon
 

“It is great to get pole, but they are getting closer so we still need to push our boundaries!
 
“They are a different sort of car, so some normal themes do not work in these sorts of cars so we are always looking outside the box and keep pushing ahead because it is just human nature that they will continue to close the gap so we will just keep pushing!”
 
GT – #90 FIST Team AAI / AAI Motorsports Ferrari 488 GT3 / Ollie Millroy Racing
 

“We knew it was going to be tight, it always is and the Audi is even closer this weekend. It was the first time I had driven the car on low fuel and fresh tyres, but my pace has been good all week which is why the team made the decision to get me to do quali and it was fun, it was really fun and obviously a great result!
 
“We made the decision to stop – it was a plan we had made before the session – as it gives you an opportunity to understand the car better, to get a feel for how it behaves on new tyres before you fit a new set so you know what to expect.
 
“It is weird having such a big rivalry within the team – we have even got separate drivers rooms and everything thing this weekend! It has got very competitive! Hopefully going forward, the numbers will rise because the level we are racing at is high, it’s really high, especially now with the Audi and the new driver they have got. I think the Audi is going to be the one to beat tomorrow actually – but it is a 6 Hour race and as you know anything can happen in a 6 Hour race!!
 
 
GT Cup – #77 Team NZ Motorsport Porsche 997 GT3 / John Curran 
 

“It is very, very good to be back in the Asian Le Mans Series – obviously we missed the first two rounds, but we intend to contest this and the final round in Sepang. We are very fond of the Asian Le Mans Series, both the main Series and the Sprint Cup, and are looking forward to more.
 
“We have had the car since 2014, we have done a number of 12 – hour endurance races but this is our first 6 hour race in it, but yes we are looking to off load it at the end of this season and replace it with a newer Porsche.  
 
“Today Graham and I were pushing as if it was a sprint race so we are going to need to wind it back a bit tomorrow I think to make sure we make it to the end of the race – taking the curbs the way we were – I am not sure if that is ideal for a 6 hour race!”
 

Asian Le Mans Series to celebrate Children’s Day in Thailand

 

A longer race, new team and new drivers add to an already exciting event.

The third round of the 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series will be held on Children’s Day in Thailand and the venue will be open to everyone as a part of the celebrations.

Children’s Day has been celebrated in Thailand on the second Saturday of January every year since 1955 and is designed to celebrate the role children play in the development of the Country. It is a day for fun and adventure – and the Asian Le Mans Series will offer them and their families exactly that!

Run at the Chang International Circuit, the race will this year be extended to become the 6 Hours of Buriram, meaning this round of the Asian Le Mans Series will finish just after the sun sets. This will also add to the unique nature of this multiclass endurance race.

New Entries:
Round 3 of the Series will see the return of Team NZ to the Asian Le Mans Series. Behind the wheel of their #77 Porsche 997 GT3 will be regular drivers Graeme Dowsett (New Zealand) and John Curran (Ireland), and joining them for this round will be talented young Kiwi, Will Bamber. Will finished third in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in his full season in 2017, claiming race wins including a double victory at the Bangsaen Grand Prix round. He also finished runner up in China GT driving a Lamborghini Huracán. Will is the brother of two time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, World Endurance Champion, and previous PCCA Champion, Earl.

Team NZ’s return to the main Series follows on from their excellent form in last year’s Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup. There, the team claimed the GT Cup Class title for the second consecutive year.

In the LMP2 Class, the #7 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Oreca 05 Nissan will have a very different look for the remaining two rounds as it will run an all-Malaysian line up. With the support of the Sepang International Circuit, the new driver line-up will be Jazeman Jaafar, who made his debut with the team in the previous round, Weiron Tan and Afiq Ikhwan Yazid.

The Sepang International Circuit’s initiative to develop motorsport talent stems from the desire to have a team with an all-Malaysian line-up participating in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans as early as 2019. They view the Asian Le Mans Series as an important step in the development of the drivers, before they make the step up to the global stage.

“I see this as a stepping stone in reaching our ambition of racing in the Le Mans 24 Hours. The prestigious race is seen as the oldest and most iconic endurance race, and it is a dream for all drivers to qualify and participate in this race.

“This is crucial as we need to accelerate the learning curve of our drivers to be better prepared for the challenges in the tough Le Mans 24 Hours race,” said Sepang International Circuit Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Razlan Razali.

ARC Bratislava’s #4 Ligier JSP2 will also feature a new driver for this round with Gustavo Yacaman joining Miro Konopka and Konstantins Calko in Buriram. After a podium finish in round two, the team heads into round 3 with renewed confidence and the hope of continuing their strong form.

Gustavo Yacaman is a highly experienced racer, having finished third in World Endurance Championship (LMP2 trophy for drivers) in 2015 while driving for G-Drive. In 2017 he was also a race winner in the LMP2 class in the European Le Mans Series with Graff Racing, finishing 5th in the drivers classification. He will come to Thailand directly from Daytona and the Roar Before the 24 where he was driving the AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Kiegier JSP217-Gibson.

In the LMP3 class the battle for the Championship title was blown wide open after the 4 Hours of Fuji. KCMG claimed the win in the opening round in Zhuhai, but they battled with reliability in Fuji and it was the Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport #6 Ligier JSP3 that took victory. They did so after withstanding several challenges throughout the race from Taiwan Beer GH Motorsprot and Viper Niza Racing. WIN Motorsport was another of the LMP3 competitors to hit reliability issues so expect to see them bounce back in Buriram.

The quality of the field in the LMP3 Class means that you should expect to see yet another great fight for the class win. With just two rounds remaining, the results this weekend will be very important.

In the GT class there is a driver change for Audi Sport customer racing Asia by TSRT, with Alex Au driving in place of Liu Peng. Alex has previously raced in the 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series in Round 1, racing with Eurasia Motorsport. After a very strong start in the 4 Hours of Fuji that saw them rapidly climb up the order, TRST will be hoping for strong performance this weekend.

For the last two rounds, it has been the FIST Team AAI GT3 entries that have led the way with their Ferrari 488 GT3 and BMW M6 GT3. Piloting these two impressive cars are a group of very talented and successful international drivers including factory backed drivers. Their line up for this round will remain unchanged and includes Marco Cioci, Chaz Mostert, Jesse Krohn and Ollie Millroy. They will supported by Asian drivers Lam Yu and Junsan Chen.

World class broadcast schedule – free, live and in full:
Coverage of the 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series will reach all corners of the globe, with a particular emphasis on the Asian region.

As always there will be live streaming of qualifying and the race in full on the Series Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/AsianLMS/ and on the website www.asianlemansseries.com which will also have live timing.

In addition, the races will also be broadcast live on www.Motorsport.TV and MotorTrendonDemand.

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.

 


6 Hours of Buriram Schedule:
Friday:
09:10 – 10:40 Free Practice 1
12:50 – 14:20 Free Practice 2
16:30 – 16:45 Qualifying LMP2 and LMP3
16:55 – 17:10 Qualifying GT and GT Cup

Saturday:
08:45 – 09:30 Pit walk / Autograph session
12:00 – 18:00 6 Hours of Buriram

Tickets:
Tickets for the 6 Hours of Buriram, Asian Le Mans Series will be free for all children (under 15 years of age).

Grandstand ticket: 1 Day = THB300 / 2Day = THB500

The official ticket agency is All Ticket Thailand