2018 Le Mans 24 Hours Looking forward to 16 June 2018!

 
Asian Le Mans Series teams chosen to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 
Congratulations to all the Asian Le Mans Series teams that are heading to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June this year!
 
Fresh from winning both the LMP2 and LMP3 Classes in the 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series, Chinese flagged team, Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport will line up with four entries to the famed race in the LMP2 Class.
 
Joining them will be the 2016/17 Asian Le Mans Series Champions, Algarve Pro Racing, and series regular Eurasia Motorsport also lining up as a part of the LMP2 grid for the prestigious endurance race.
 
After narrowly missing out on the LMP3 Championship, KCMG have been named as the first reserve team. This means they will receive a place should another team withdraw between now and June. ARC Bratislava, the team that finished 3rd in the LMP2 Class this season, are also on the reserve list for a spot on the grid.  
 
In addition 2015/16 Asian Le Mans Series GT Champions and Series graduates, Clearwater Racing, will return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LM GTE Am Class.  Last year the team was in contention for the LM GTE Am Championship title until the final race, and have signed up for the full FIA World Endurance Championship ‘Super Season’.  
 
Cyrille Taesch Wahlen, Asian Le Mans Series Managing Director: 
“2017 was a hugely successful season for Asian Le Mans Series teams, especially for the Jackie Chan DC Racing by Jota Sport team. They achieved what they had previously only dreamed of – finishing 1st and 2nd in the LMP2 class, as well as standing on the outright podium in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
 
“The outstanding performances from all of our teams on the global stage makes it clear the role the Asian Le Mans Series is playing in opening the region up to endurance racing. By providing a solid breeding ground for new teams and drivers, the Series is an ideal first step up the ACO ladder to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
 
“I congratulate the teams that have been chosen to enter the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and look forward to seeing them on track at Le Mans in June!”
 

 
  • Fernando Alonso and Toyota up against five private teams in the top LM P1 class;
  • A 20-strong LM P2 grid;
  • Six manufacturers and 17 cars in LM GTE Pro;
  • Thirteen competitors in LM GTE Am;
  • Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, ACO special consultant.
 
The 60-car entry list for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans was revealed today (9 February) at the Rétromobile Show in Paris, before an expectant audience of drivers, team bosses and journalists. The 86th running of the French endurance classic will once again make history as two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso makes his maiden Le Mans appearance at the wheel of a Toyota TS050 Hybrid. This is also the first time that a competitor who already holds two F1 world titles will make his Le Mans debut while still actively competing in F1.  The other classes will also be hotly disputed with some very high-class entries and a perfect balance between prototypes (30) and LMGTE cars (30). Make sure you save the date for the second round of the 2018-19 Super Season of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans 2018 (16 – 17 June).
 
At the next Le Mans 24 Hours, all eyes are bound to be on Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard made clear his ambition to race at Le Mans several years ago, so this is something of a dream come true – as it is for the fans, already excited at the prospect of watching the single-seater champion steer an LM P1 prototype around the 13.626 km of the iconic circuit. Alonso will be competing in endurance racing’s top class at the wheel of the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, partnered by Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima. The Japanese constructor, the only works team in the class, will have two cars on the grid in its latest bid for Le Mans glory.
 
The updated LM P1 regulations have prompted five privateer outfits to take up the challenge against Toyota, meaning there will be a total ten LMP1s on the grid on 16 June, four more than in 2017. The ACO and FIA have clearly made the right choices with their new LMP1 strategy which has drawn entries from Rebellion Racing, Bykolles Racing, CEFC TRSM Racing, Dragon Speed and SMP Racing. The class will also feature some high-profile drivers such as André Lotterer and Thomas Laurent, the whiz kid who has risen through the endurance racing ranks marked out by the ACO.
Everything points to a David-and-Goliath type scenario in this class but, as we all know, at Le Mans anything can happen.
 
The LM P2 class has proven just as popular as last year, with 15 outfits fielding 20 cars. This year however, Ligier has the advantage with nine JSP217s on the grid, followed by Oreca with eight Oreca 07s, including one Alpine A470, then three Dallaras. Riley, the fourth chassis builder in the class, will not be represented at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year. Jackie Chan DC Racing, class winner in 2017 and overall runner-up, is back with a vengeance and four cars, two Ligiers and two Orecas. However, the Chinese team faces some stiff competition in the race for this year’s Le Mans crown.
 
The LM GTE Pro class has even broader appeal this year with six manufacturers competing: BMW is making its comeback to the discipline with the M8 and will line up alongside Aston Martin, Porsche, Ferrari, Chevrolet Corvette and Ford. There will be 17 cars on the grid, illustrating the race’s international appeal and affirming the prestige of this class where victory is hugely important for the manufacturers. Last year’s winner, Aston Martin, will be fielding its new Vantage, which it hopes will more than measure up to its predecessor. The bets are on but it’s anyone’s game at this stage!
 
Finally, there will be a healthy 13-car strong LM GTE Am grid at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, endorsing the ACO’s ideal of including amateur drivers in endurance events. JMW Motorsport is the title-holder but has some serious challengers.
 
Once again, the size and diversity of the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans grid demonstrates the far-reaching appeal of the race, with teams from all over the world representing 14 nationalities. Sixty cars will line up on Saturday 16 June, split into four classes – 10 in LM P1, 20 in LM P2, 17 in LM GTE Pro and 13 in LM GTE Am – with a perfect balance between prototypes and GTEs.
 
The reserve list comprises nine teams, six LM P2 and three LM GTE Am. They will be called in as replacements in the order given.
 
At ACO, history is as important as the future, which is why we are delighted to announce that Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich will be joining us as a consultant this year. The former racing director of Audi, who led his team to 13 victories will be sharing his wealth of sporting, marketing and technical experience with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC. Now retired from Audi, Dr. Ullrich is honoured to be working with the ACO: I enjoyed working with the ACO as team manager. Today’s collaboration adds another dimension to the healthy relationship we have built up over the years. I’m proud to take on this role and look forward to giving back to a discipline which gave me so much as a competitor.
 
The 36 entrants for the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship Super Season were also announced at the conference. The competitors will be racing Le Mans twice, in June this year, and next year, marking the grand finale of the FIA WEC season. To keep the competition wide open throughout, the points system has been reviewed.Instead of carrying double points, the 24 Hours of Le Mans be worth 50% more than the 6-hour races.As well as the 36 FIA WEC cars, the grid of the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans will be supplemented by winning teams from the whole spectrum of endurance racing. Invitations to participate will be extended to the four 2018 race class winners as well as four winners of the European Le Mans Series, one from the Michelin GT3 Cup, four from the Asian Le Mans Series and two from the Weathertech United Sports Car Championship. The remainder of the grid will be filled by the successful applicants whose names will be announced in February 2019 as is the tradition.
 
With the names of all sixty teams for 2018 revealed, thoughts turn to June, with organisers, teams and all involved looking forward to another tremendous weekend of racing. As usual, Le Mans 24 Hours action kicks off with Test Day on 3 June, the rehearsal for the big day.
 
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “The 24 Hours of Le Mans, the FIA World Endurance Championship, the European Le Mans Series and the Asian Le Mans Series are all in fine fettle and endurance racing assumes its rightful place in the motorsport world. I am delighted to see a grid of 60 magnificent cars for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Endurance racing has widespread appeal. The discipline continues to attract manufacturers and teams from all over the world and drivers with diverse backgrounds. All the ingredients are there – everything that makes this discipline so special – and we can look forward to the 86th 24 Hours of Le Mans being as thrilling as ever for endurance racing fans”.
 
Vincent Beaumesnil, Racing Director of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “Once again, we have a sparkling line-up for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and we are proud to attract competitors of such calibre. Our hard work has paid off. In each class, we made the right choices in terms of regulations, ensuring that endurance racing is here to stay. We had a host of applications and had to make some tough decisions. With a perfect balance between prototypes and GTs – 30 of each – teams will be grappling for position right down to the line, in each class and overall.”
 
Jean Todt, President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA): “The 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans will be round 2 of the FIA World Endurance Championship ‘Super Season’ and once again it has an entry that is worthy of the world’s greatest endurance race.  Sixty cars from all over the world, including seven manufacturer teams, all competing for glory at Le Mans.  With this year’s race being the first of two visits to La Sarthe in the 2018/19 FIA WEC, the 86th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be doubly exciting to watch and enjoy.  Look forward to seeing you there.”
 
Richard Mille, President of the FIA Endurance Commission: “The entry list for the 86th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is extremely strong and the sixty cars that will line up for the start on Saturday 16 June will represent the best in the world of endurance racing. While I have a long association with Le Mans, the 2018 race will be my first as President of the FIA Endurance Commission, which will make it a very special event on a personal level as well.”
 
 

Full Race Report: Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport win the 4 Hours of Sepang

4 Hours of Sepang – Full Race Report:
 
Race winners for the 4 Hours of Sepang:
LMP2
1 #8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Oreca 05 Nissan
2 #37 BBT Ligier JS P2
3 #33 Eurasia Motorsport Ligier JS P2
 
LMP3
1 #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Ligier JSP3
2 #11 Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport Ligier JS P3
3 #1 WIN Motorsport Ligier JS P3
 
GT
1 #91 FIST Team AAI BMW M6 GT3
2 #90 FIST Team AAI Ferrari 488 GT3 
 
GT Cup
1 #77 Team NZ Porsche 997 GT3
 
Hour 1:
The 4 Hours of Sepang got underway in very warm and blustery conditions. With an ambient temperature in the mid 30’s and a track temperature of over 50, it was set to be one of the toughest races for the team and drivers.
 
Starting from the second row, it was Thomas Laurent in the #8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Oreca 05 Nissan that takes the lead from Jazeman Jaafar in the sister #7 car in second going into the first corner. Behind them was reigning LMP3 Champion Nigel Moore in the #65 Viper Niza Racing Ligier JS P3 in 3rd outright!
 
Another car to have a great start was the #4 ARC Bratislava Ligier JS P2. After starting at the rear of the grid, Konstantins Calko finishes the first lap in 8th. However it was too good, and after race control reviewed the start, Calko was deemed to have jumped the start and was given a drive through penalty.
 
As ARC Bratislava had made an engine change to the #4 Ligier JS P2 after problems in qualifying, they were also given a mandatory 2 minute stop and go pit lane penalty. This was going to make the race very tough for the team as they came out last and more than a lap behind the leaders.
 
Unfortunately, a poor start for LMP3 series leader and class pole sitter, the #18 KCMG Motorsport Ligier JS P3 saw then them drop to 10th at the star of the race.
 
Likewise, the GT Class leading #91 FIST Team AAI BMW M6 GT3 falls back, allowing the #66 Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT Audi R8 LMS to take a commanding class lead.
 
Out in front of the pack it was very clear there was to be no team orders for the two Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA Sport entries with the pair locked in a tight battle for first place.
 
In a very disappointing end to the season for the team leading the Bronze Cup (award to LMP2 entries running all bronze classed drivers), the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 Nissan slowed dramatically. With Dean Koutsoumidis behind the wheel and after just 30 minutes of the four-hour race, the car slows to a complete stop in turn 14.
 
With the car in an unsafe position, the race director bought the safety car out on track to ensure its safe removal.
 
The pit lane became very busy at this point, with many teams using this as an opportunity to pit and complete their stop.
 
Once the race resumes it was the two JCDC cars remain in front with #33 Eurasia Motorsport Ligier JS P2 having recovered from their poor start to be in 3rd position.
 
In the lead of the LMP3 class was the #1 Ligier JS P3 from WIN Motorsport that led the class at the end of the hour. In the GT class the #91 was also on the move and had taken second place from the team’s sister car, the #90 FIST Team AAI Ferrari 488 GT3. The #91 BMW then pits for new tyres and a driver change with Markus Palttala jumping in the car.
 
As the first hour came to a close, the #11 Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport Ligier JS P3 was given a drive through penalty for speeding in the pitlane in their earlier pitstop.  
  
Hour 2:
In a very busy start to the second hour, the #7 passes the #8 to take the lead of the race. Behind them the #33 with Malaysian driver, and pole sitter,Nabil Jeffri was closing in on the leading Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport cars, hoping to make it a Malaysian 1-2 in the race.
 
The #18 KCMG Motorsport Ligier JS P3 was also on a charge with Louis Prette behind the wheel. He closed the gap to the #1 WIN Motorsport Ligier JS P3 and passed them to take the lead of the LMP3 Class.  
 
With Massimilian Wiser in the driver’s seat, the #66 Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT Audi R8 LMS continued to pull out a solid lead in the GT class.
 
At the half way point of the second hour in the race both the #7 and #8 pit for fuel, tyres and a driver change.
 
The team managers for both cars are immediately called to race control, with the outcome of that visit being the #7 and #8 given a penalty of 10 seconds time penalty being added to their next pit stop for spinning their wheels in their earlier stops.
 
At the end of the hour, it was Nabil Jeffri in the lead of the race in the #33, with fellow Malaysian Afiq Ikhwan Yazid in the #7 just 5 seconds back.
 
The #18 KCMG entry had pulled out a comfortable lead over from #11 with #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Ligier JS P3 behind them in 3rd place in the LMP3 Class.
 
Out in front of the GT class the Audi continued to hold a commanding lead over the #91 BMW M6 GT3 and #90 Ferrari 488 GT3. 
 
Hour 3:
Early in the third hour, the #11 Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport Ligier JS P3was also given a 10 second pit stop penalty for spinning wheels – to be added to their next stop.
 
Out in front, Harrison Newey began his stint in the #8 and takes the lead of the race from the #7 sister car.
 
In LMP3 the fight was intensifying ,with Shaun Thong in the #11 closing the gap to the #18 – at the 15-minute mark of the hour, Thong took the Class lead and continued to pull away from the #18.
 
The GT battle was also heating up with Jesse Krohn in the #91 chasing down the #66. He caught and passed the Audi with 20 minutes left in the hour. A spin shortly after from the #66 saw them drop further back.
 
With 15 minutes left in the 3rd hour of the race, the GT Championship was turned on its head. The #90 Ferrari spun at turn 13 and gets stuck in the gravel with was Bhurit Bhirombhakdi behind the wheel. The marshals were able to get him out of the gravel trap, but he dropped well back.
 
With the safety car is called again to allow the marshals to remove the car from the gravel trap, the pit lane was again a very busy place with teams pitting for fuel, tyres and driver changes.
 
While this is happening, there was more drama for the GT class with the #66 Audi slowing and coming to a complete stop on the main straight. Gilbert was able to get the car restarted, but not before dropping a lap behind the lead GT car, the #91 BMW. Unfortunately for the #66 it was then pulled into the garage where the team diagnosed a broken gearbox and were forced to retire from the race.
 
After the pits tops, and at the top of the hour, it was the #33 with Jake Parsons behind the wheel that took the lead after choosing not to pit under the safety car. The #8 that had a driver change, with Richelmi getting into the car, was 2nd, 3rd was now BBT, and in 4th place was Weiron Tan in the #7.
 
Hour 4:
 
In LMP3 the battle continued to be fierce as the hour started with the #11 leading the #18 by just the slightest of margins. KCMG then put Josh Burdon in the car and on the race restart after the safety car he passed the #11 and took the lead of the class.  
 
In the battle for the outright with, drama hits the #33 as it spins from the lead and drops back to 3rd place.
 
A stop and go penalty was then given to the #7 for a further pit lane infringement, forcing them to pit from 2nd place to serve their penalty.  They re-joined in 4th place, but when the #33 stops for a routine stop they move up to 3rd place, with BBT running in 2nd place.
 
As the final hour went on in LMP3 class, the #18 was pulling out an increasing lead from the #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Ligier JS P3, that was in turn extending their gap to the #11.
 
Drama once again hit the LMP3 class with less than 30 minutes to go. The pit stop time for the #18 was declared as being under investigation, with the result being that their stop did not meet the mandatory stop time and they were handed a stop and go penalty for the 1 sec their pit stop time was under.
 
At that point, the gap between Burdon in the #18 and their Championship rivals in the #6 was just 14 seconds. Before coming in, Burdon gave it everything, but it was not enough and he came out 10.7 seconds behind Gabriel Aubry in the #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Ligier JS P3.
 
This gap was too great for the KCMG entry to close given the strong pace of Aubry, meaning the Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport took the race win and with it claimed the LMP3 Class Championship and the highly coveted invitation to compete in the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMP2 class.
 
In GT with the #66 Audi out of contention, and the #90 well behind them, it was Jesse Krohn in the BMW that was comfortably leading the class with 30 minutes to go. Krohn held this lead throughout the final 30 minutes, not making any mistakes. The result was a 1-2 finish for the FIST Team AAI and the Championship win.  The #90 came home second, giving the team two invitations to complete in the LM GTE Am class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
 
Drama then hit the LMP2 class in the closing stages of the race. The #7 stalled during its final pit stop and the team were not able to get it restarted. The team pushed the car back into the garage in a desperate attempt to get the car back out on track. While this was happening, BBT came in for their final stop and were able to get back out comfortably in front of the #7 and in 2nd place behind the #8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Oreca 05 Nissan. The Eurasia #33 was also able to pass the #7 while it was in the garage to take 3rd place.
 
The #7 Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA Sport Oreca 05 Nissan ust made it back on track in time to take the chequered flag, ultimately finishing the race in 5th place.
 
Out in front, it was yet another faultless run from the crew in the #8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Oreca 05 Nissan with their drivers, Stephane Richelmi, Harrison Newey and Thomas Laurent coming home first. The drivers and their teams have performed well all season and proved deserved champions. Their remaining title challengers coming into the final race, the #37 BBT Ligier JS P2 entry of Pipo Derani, Anthony Xu Liu and Davide Rizzo came home 2nd, securing 2nd place in the Championship.
 
In 3rd was the #33 Eurasia Motorsport Ligier JS P2 entry of Nabil Jeffri, Marco Asmer and Jake Parsons. 4th was enough to secure the #4 ARC Bratislava Ligier JS P2 crew of Miro Konopka and Konstantins Calko 3rd place in the Championship.

Asian Le Mans Series Celebrates 2017/18 Season

Teams and drivers recognised at end of season awards celebration
 

The night after the 4 Hours of Sepang caped off a season full of close and exciting racing, the Asian Le Mans Series has celebrated the outstanding performance and achievements of the teams and drivers that have competed in the 2017/18 season. 

In addition to recognising the series Champions, the following titles were also announced last night:
 
Team of the Year:
Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOA Sport

On top of an already impressive 12 months, the Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport team won both the LMP2 and LMP3 Class Championships. Along the way they won every race of the 2017/18 season in the LMP2 Class, as well as winning two races in the highly competitive LMP3 Class.
  
Rookie of the Year:
Harrison Newey

#8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Oreca 05 Nissan
This season was the first time 19-year-old Harrison had raced in anything other than an open wheeled race car, as well as racing for longer than 30 minutes at a time. Not only was he able to adapt quickly to the different driving style required for endurance racing, he quickly became a very important part of the Championship winning team.
 
Man of the Year:
Ron Reichert

Team manager – #66 Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT Audi R8 LMS
The Man of the Year Award goes to a person who has achieved something important in the Championship. At just 26, Ron has achieved much in a very short amount of time with the team that is now recognised by Audi Sport as a full Customer Racing team in Asia. After initially planning just to enter the Chinese round of the Championship, he managed the team’s first races outside China and the very successful step up to the Asian Le Mans Series. 
 
Bronze Cup – LMP2:
#25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 Nissan
Ate Dirk De Jong and Dean Koutsoumidis
 
 GT Am trophy:
#66 Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT Audi R8 LMS
Massimiliano Wiser and Weian Chen 

 

 

2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series Championship winners:

LMP2:
1 –  #8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Oreca 05 Nissan – 95 points
Stephane Richelmi, Harrison Newey and Thomas Laurent
2 – #37 BBT Ligier JS P2 – 70 points
Anthony Xu Liu, Davide Rizzo and Pipo Derani
3 – #4 ARC Bratislava #4 Ligier JS P2 – 51 points
Miro Konopka and Konstantins Calko
 
LMP3:
1 –  #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Ligier JSP3 – 77 points
Guy Cosmo and Patrick Byrne
2 – #18 KCMG Motorsport Ligier JS P3 – 54 points*
Louis Prette, Neric Wei and Josh Burdon
3 – #11 Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport Ligier JS P3 – 54 points
Hanss Lin
*Awarded 2nd place based on having more race wins.
 
GT:
1 –  #91 FIST Team AAI GT3 BMW M6 GT3 – 95 points
Jesse Krohn and Junsan Chen
2 – #90 FIST Team AAI Ferrari 488 GT3 – 78 points
Ollie Millroy
3 – #66 Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT Audi R8 LMS – 48 points
Massimiliano Wiser Weian Chen
 
GT Cup – #77 Team NZ Porsche 997 GT3
 
Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport have secured two invitations to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMP2 Class, and FIST Team AAI have secured two invitations to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LM GTE Am Class.
 
The full entry list for the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans will be announced by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest on Friday, 9 February 2018. 

 
 
 

Asian Le Mans Series Champions Crowned in Malaysia

The final four invitations for the 24 Hours of Le Mans confirmed.

Prototype Champions: Both of these entries will receive an invitation to compete in the LMP2 Class at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans.
LMP2 – #8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Oreca 05 Nissan
LMP3 – #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Ligier JSP3

GT Champions: Both of these entries will receive an invitation to compete in the LM GTE Class at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans.
1 #91 FIST Team AAI GT3 BMW M6 GT3
2 #90 FIST Team AAI Ferrari 488 GT3

Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport have secured two invitations to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMP2 Class, and FIST Team AAI have secured two invitations to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LM GTE Am Class.

The full entry list for the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans will be announced by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest on Friday, 9 February 2018.

GT Cup Champions:
1 #77 Team NZ Porsche 997 GT3


4 Hours of Sepang – Race Results:
 
LMP2 – #8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Oreca 05 Nissan
LMP3 – #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Ligier JSP3
GT – #91 FIST Team AAI BMW M6 GT3
GT Cup – #77 Team NZ Porsche 997 GT3

 
In a race run in extreme heat throughout, both on and off the track, the final race of the 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series has delivered yet another race that came down to the wire.
 
It was yet another faultless run from the crew in the #8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Oreca 05 Nissan with their drivers, Stephane Richelmi, Harrison Newey and Thomas Laurent coming home first. The drivers and their teams have performed well all season and proved deserved champions, their remaining title challengers coming into the final race, the #37
 
In LMP3 it was a case of agony and ecstasy for our Championship contenders. As has been the case all season there were four teams that led at various points during the race. Ultimately it was the #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Ligier JSP3, driven by Guy Cosmo, Patrick Byrne, and Gabriel Aubry that won the class.
 
In the closing stages of the race, it was the #18 KCMG Motorsport Ligier JS P3 with Josh Burdon in the lead of the class, however a penalty for a not meeting their required pit stop time saw the #18 receive a 1 second Stop and Go penalty, ceding the lead to the #6,  Gabriel Aubry fending off Burdon’s late race challenge to bring the car home first and claim the LMP3 Class win and the very important invitation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport team.
 
In GT it was a similar story with the #66 Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT Audi R8 LMS leading the way deep into the third hour after a very strong start from all three drivers, Massimiliano Wiser, Weian Chen and Mitchell Gilbert. The car lost drive on the main straight, and although Gilbert was able to get the car running again, the team was forced to retire the car shortly in the pits.
 
At almost the same time, the #90 FIST Team AAI Ferrari 488 GT3 also hit trouble, with a spin causing the car to get beached in the gravel trap dropping down the order after an earlier lengthy delay with the car refusing to refire.
 
This left the #91 FIST Team AAI BMW M6 GT3 driven by Jesse Krohn, Markus Palttala and Junsan Chen to come home first and claim the Championship victory.
 
The #90 was able to get back on track and finished the race 2nd, claiming a 1-2 for the FIST Team AAI team in the Championship, and of course to win the two invitations to join the LM GTE Class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans later this year.


 

Quotes from Champions:
 
LMP2 – #8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Oreca 05 Nissan
Stephane Richelmi:

“Winning is never easy, but for sure I am happy about the job we have made and everyone has done a flawless job. A big congratulations to my two team mates, we all could see in WEC what Thomas could do but for Harrison he came from Formula 3 and had a lot of things to manage, and he made no mistakes, especially in Buriram.
 
“Both of them managed the gear box issues there like they have a like of experience and I was very impressed. And the team of course again did a great, great job.”
 
Harrison Newey (Rookie):  
“I have definitely enjoyed it. The ACO has put on a great show here. The Championship has been brilliant. I think the primary reason for motorsport is to have fun and I have definitely had fun – it was a super job by the organisers!
 
“I had never even sat in a prototype prior to racing at Zhuahi and I found myself at home very quickly although I did do two races with my visor closed because of the light! I have to share a seat with someone as well! It is all new challenges and it has been super fun!
 
“I really have to thank the team for teaching me about sports cars – they really help me – I wouldn’t be here with-out them! They have come straight from Daytona so they deserve to win the Championship.
 
Thomas Laurent
“It is a very special day today – I did my first endurance race here in Sepang with Jackie Chan DC Racing in LMP3. We won all the races, but unfortunately I missed one race, so the team won the Championship, but not me. Second year it was the same, but this year I got what I wanted 3 years ago. So it is really nice for all three of us to win it together this year.
 
“I think the team has done an amazing job for the last three years – I really enjoy driving with them. It is unfortunately my last race with them but maybe I will come back with them later.
 
“It is here that I learned the most about racing. My team has taught me a lot, and it is why I am here in this position racing in LMP1 this year.”
 
LMP3 – #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Ligier JSP3
Guy Cosmo

“It has been a long journey for me to get here – my upbringing was not the same as the young kids these days with a plan – my times started as a hobby with my father! I am so very thankful to be here!
 
“You always have the Championship goal in mind anytime you show up – you want to win – but first and foremost it was an opportunity for Patrick to dive into professional sports car racing. I think he has done it with flying colours.
 
“It has been really enjoyable for me, and I am so proud of Patrick.  
 
Patrick Byrne
“This feels great! It is my first Championship so it feels really good. The aim was to have fun, step up to the next level in the LMP3. We have never been to any of these tracks, and while we have a fantastic team that works really hard, it is a lot harder to learn the new tracks, it takes more effort to do everything. But everything we have put into it we have got back so I am really happy!
 
“We would love to come back – we have had a lot of fun and it is a great series. The quality of driving has been great – I think this year was the most safety cars we have had all season and the incidents were not that serious. The only shame is that the races are on in the night back home! I would definitely say to anyone they should come over and try it! Great racing, great tracks, and a really god way to see Asia!
 
“I would like to say thank you to the team at DC Racing JOTA, thanks to Gabriel for joining us, both he and guy drove well – we couldn’t have done any of it without them!”
 
Gabriel Aubry
“I wanted to keep really quiet on the radio in the last stint, I just focused on my driving. This was just my second race in a closed cockpit – it is really hot – but I am really pleased I put in all the hard work training before we got here, it really paid off! I really felt good, it almost felt like an open wheeler race! I like sports car and endurance racing! We will keep the conversation open with JOTA and the team though and perhaps I will come back to the Asian Le Mans Series!
 
GT – #91 FIST Team AAI BMW M6 GT3
Markus Palttala
“First of all it is great to be here in the Asian Le Mans Series, with a very nice team. We were a little bit worried ahead of the race especially because of the heat and how abrasive the track here. In the end we had no issues, so it was a great job by the guys in the team.”
 
Jesse Krohn
“You never hope for bad luck for you competitors – you want to do it on track, with pace with great team work, so it was unfortunate to win like this. But I have to say I was pretty relived at the end because we knew if we had to push to the limit we may have issues so in the end I am very happy with the result.”
 
Junsan Chen
“It was our plan for this season to win the two Le Mans 24 Hours entries, This is the first time that we will return to the Le Mans Circuit and we wish for a better result than last time we were there.
 
“Because we have just finished the race I have no answer, but after now we have to sit down and have a serious conversation. We will immediately sit down with the team after here. We will then make the decision, so I do not have an answer for you now.”  

 

 

Malaysian LMP2 rookie takes pole position for 4 Hours of Sepang

Nabil Jeffri and Eurasia Motorsport have claimed pole position in the Asian Le Mans Series finale!

LMP2 – Nabil Jeffri #33 Eurasia Motorsport Ligier JS P2
LMP3 – Josh Burdon in the #18 KCMG Ligier JS P3
GT – Jesse Krohn #91 FIST Team AAI BMW M6 GT3
GT Cup – Graeme Dowsett #77 Team NZ Porsche 997 Cup

In just his first ever weekend in an LMP2, Malaysia racer Nabil Jeffri has put his Eurasia Motorsport Ligier JS P2 in pole position for tomorrow’s 4 Hours of Sepang. Not only was it his first time competing in the car, Jeffri had, prior to this week, never even seen the inside of an LM P2!

Pipo Derani in the #37 BBT Ligier JS P2 will start alongside him on the front row of the grid. The next row will be filled by the Oreca 05 Nissan pair from Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA Sport. It was championship leading car, #8 with Stephane Richelmi behind that just beat the #7 all Malaysian entry with Jazeman Jaafar

After just 5 minutes of the session, the ARC Bratislava #4 Ligier JS P2 pulled off the track in turn 11. As a result of their problems, the team will start from the rear of the grid.

Chasing the LMP2 Bronze Cup, for entries of all bronze rated drivers, the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 Nissan will start in 12th place.

Given the very tight Championship battle for the LMP3 Class honours, and the Le Mans entry that goes with it, the extra point for pole position was even more important.

The #18 KCMG Motorsport Ligier JS P3 came into the weekend with just a one-point lead, but another class pole position for their drive Josh Burdon saw the team extend that lead to two.

Reigning LMP3 Champion, Nigel Moore, in the #65 Viper Niza Ligier JS P3 will start second, and the #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Ligier JS P3 starting 3rd in Class. The #11 Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport Ligier JS P3 will start 4th and the #1 WIN Motorsport Ligier JS P3 will start 5th in Class.

In yet another closely fought Class Championship, it was a battle to the very end of the GT session. In the end it was Jesse Krohn in the #91 FIST Team AAI BMW M6 GT3 that claimed pole position. Just 0.2 seconds back was the #66 Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT Audi R8 LMS with their new driver, Mitchell Gilbert behind the wheel. 3rd in class was the #90 FIST Team AAI Ferrari 488 GT3.

Leading the way in the GT Cup will be the #77 Team NZ Porsche 997 GT3 Cup.

On offer this weekend, is not just Championship glory, but also four highly coveted entries to the premier endurance race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With all Championships still up for grabs there was everything to play for and the race looks set to be full of close, tight racing.


POLESITTER QUOTE – Nabil Jeffri #33 Eurasia Motorsport Ligier JS P2:

“I found out I had the drive on Saturday night! I am really glad I am here, and that Sepang Circuit have given me this opportunity to drive for Eurasia. They are the team I started my racing career with in Formula BMW in 2010. Thank you to Mark Goddard (Eurasia Motorsport Team Owner). I really thankful – I am a Malaysia driver, racing in my home town!

“I had not even seen the inside of an LMP2 before I arrived here this weekend. In fact I have not even raced in a sedan before! I have raced in single seaters my whole life – from Formula BMW, Formula 3 and the last two years I have done GP2.

“My main concern has been about how hot it will get in the cockpit – especially given how hot it is here. I am really happy to drive my first LMP2 with Eurasia and take my first pole!

“To be honest I was not happy with my lap – I feel there was easily a 1 second more we could have found if I had put the lap together perfectly. I must thank my team mate Marco Asmer who has helped me a lot this weekend to get used to the LMP2 and endurance racing. He made my life a lot easier and really helped to get pole position.

“We are not in the Championship battle so we will be going all out for the race win tomorrow. My team mates are very strong and the team is very strong so I really hope we can convert the pole into a race win!”

World class broadcast schedule – free, live and in full:
There will be live streaming of 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.

Asian Le Mans Series renews contract with Michelin

 

Michelin to remain the official tyre partner until the 2020/21 season.

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) announced today that it will continue to place its trust in Michelin, to be the official tyre supplier and technical partner to the Asian Le Mans Series for three more seasons.

Michelin has a long and successful history of racing with the ACO dating back almost 100 years. After winning the inaugural race in 1923, Michelin claimed its 26th victory and 20th consecutive victory in the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans last year. It has also been the official tyre partner in the Asian Le Mans Series since it was first established in 2013.

One of the world’s leading tyre manufactures on and off the track, Michelin offers the Asian Le Mans Series teams and drivers tyres that are able to deliver fast, reliable and safe performance. They must withstand the toughest of conditions placed on them during endurance races. They must perform in the extremes of temperatures as well, from the blistering heat of Sepang, to the very low track temperatures in Japan. For Michelin, the longevity of the tyres is the key to success with consistency of lap times and long-lasting performance the priorities.

Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest:
“The Automobile Club de l’Ouest is delighted that the partnership between Michelin and the Asian Le Mans Series is being extended for a further three seasons, as it’s proof of the trust that unites us. Michelin has been a partner in endurance and the Le Mans 24 Hours for many years. We’re very happy that the French manufacturer has followed us since the start of our Asian adventure by supplying the whole field on an exclusive basis. The continental series of Le Mans-type races form the base of the endurance pyramid, which is very important to us. We share many common values with Michelin, and with them at our side our ambition is to continue promoting endurance on the Asian continent.”

Cyrille Taesch Wahlen, Asian Le Mans Series Managing Director:
“I am very happy with the renewal of our partnership with Michelin. Their tyres meet the high standards we expect of our partners both on and off the track. For us, this is a true global partnership combining performance, technology and promotion. The Asian Le Mans Series can rely on the experience and many successes of Michelin in endurance racing, including their success in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”

Pascal Couasnon, Michelin Motorsport Director:
“Michelin is pleased to extend its partnership with the ACO in Asia, a region which is increasingly present in the world of Motorsport. After the extension of the partnership with the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the upcoming arrival of Michelin as the main partner of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the Group reinforces its role as a leading manufacturer of Endurance racing throughout the world.”

Patrick Dias, Michelin Asia-Pacific Motorsport Director:
“We are united in our shared values around motorsport – both viewing motorsport, specifically endurance racing, as a tool to promote innovation, safety, and the transfer of technology between our sport and the road. We are also both focused on growing motorsport in the Asian region and ensuring the standard of endurance racing in this region remains high.”

Four will be a common theme in the 2018/19 Asian Le Mans Series.

It will visit four grade one circuits, in four different countries within the region, be comprised of four races of at least four hours in length, and of course the teams will be fighting for the four highly coveted entries to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
 
As in previous years, the winner of the LMP2 and LMP3 classes will each receive an entry in the LMP2 class at the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans and there will be two LM GTE class entries for GT winners.
 
While the new calendar is similar to this season, there are a number of important changes.
 
The season commences at the end of November, ensuring it avoids clashes with other Asian series, but also allowing Asian teams wishing to compete in other Championships globally the opportunity to do so.
 
The first round of the Season will be held at the Shanghai International Circuit, the first of four FIA Grade 1 Circuits.  This will be a return to the Chinese circuit for the Asian Le Mans Series for the first time since 2014.  Shanghai has been an ever-present feature of the FIA World Endurance Championship, (FIA WEC) since its inception in 2012. This year the two races will be back to back with the Asian Le Mans Series visiting the week following the FIA WEC.
 
The race will also be run in conjunction with the China Touring Car Championship (CTCC), adding to the profile of the event in China.
 
The Series will again race in Fuji Speedway in December, and it will return to Buriram in Thailand in mid-January. After a hugely successful event earlier this year that drew a crowd of over 100,000, the Thai round will again be held as a part of Children’s Day activities.
 
As it is this year, the final round will be held in the Sepang International Circuit, however in a significant date change, the final round will be held at the end of February, after the Chinese New Year period.

 


 

 

Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: 
“The ACO is fully supportive of the development of the Asian Le Mans Series. The Asian Region is a key one for us and we see great potential, not only in terms of teams and drivers, but also in the growing interest in endurance racing from a new audience.
 
The 2018/19 calendar will feature races held at world class circuits and reflects the high standard of racing we have seen in the Asian Le Mans Series.”
 

Cyrille Taesch Wahlen, Asian Le Mans Series Managing Director: 
“Our objectives for next season were to create both a more attractive calendar, and to develop, with the teams, a more attractive platform.  
 
We have secured, four Grade 1 circuits on dates that fit perfectly within the FIA WEC ‘Super Season’ break, whilst also giving more teams from both the region, and abroad, the opportunity to join us.
 
We will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure we create a sustainable environment for the Series.”

 
Further details relating to the 2018/19 Asian Le Mans Series will be released in the coming weeks, including decisions designed to respond the market and team needs. Entries will open in early March.
 
 
2018/19 Asian Le Mans Series Calendar details:
 
Round 1: 
China
Shanghai International Circuit
23 – 25 November 2018 
 
Round 2: 
Japan
Fuji Speedway 
7 – 9 December 2018
 
Round 3: 
Thailand
Buriram Chang International Circuit
10 – 12 January 2019
 
Round 4:
Malaysia 
Sepang International Circuit
22 – 24 February 2019

Teams do battle for Asian Le Mans Series Championship Honours

 
Up for grabs are not only the Championship titles, but also four highly coveted entries to the premier endurance race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series is coming to a nail biting conclusion with all Class Championships, and the four invitations to race in the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans that go with them are still undecided.  
 
The winners of the LMP2 and LMP3 classes will receive an invitation to join the LMP2 class in the race held in France in June this year. The top two finishers in the GT Class will receive an invitation to compete in the LM GTE-Am class.
 
The 4 Hours of Sepang will take place this coming Sunday on the Malaysian circuit located just 15 minutes from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The grid will once again see a mix of cars which is synonymous with the Le Mans brand of endurance racing with both prototypes and GT cars sharing the track for the 4-hour race.
 
With the possibility of rain effecting both qualifying and the race, the weekend is shaping up to be very exciting.
 
The Sepang International Circuit (SIC) will also be home to the 1st LMP3 Asia Festival. As a part of the celebrations, SIC held a convoy featuring a Ligier JS P3 to Putrajaya to raise awareness of the category and promote the finale of the Series this weekend. There will also be VIP hot laps in an LMP3 (Ligier JS P3) during the weekend allowing guests to experience the thrill of these magnificent machines.  
 
Fans will also have the chance to check out around 500 cars from various car clubs that will be on display behind the grandstands, while local school children will be invited for a special behind the scenes look at the Asian Le Mans Series teams and cars. 
 

 

LMP2:
With a maximum of 26 points up for grabs in the 4 Hours of Sepang, the LMP2 Championship title is set to be a battle between the #8 成龍 Jackie Chan DC Racing X Jota Sport Oreca 05 (70 points) and the #37 BBT Ligier Sportscars JS P2 (52 points).
 
After winning their debut round as a trio in the #7 Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA Sport Oreca 05 Nissan, the all Malaysian entry is hoping to spoil the party. Jazeman Jaafar, Weiron Tan and Afiq Ikhwan Yazid became the first all-Malaysian line up to win a round of the Asian Le Mans Series and they are hoping to take a home ground advantage and give the Malaysian crowd something to cheer about.
 
Sepang will also see Eurasia Motorsport return to the Asian Le Mans Series with their Ligier JS P2 after missing the previous round of the Series. Marco Asmer returns and will be joined by Nabil Jeffri and Jake Parsons. 
 
 
LMP3:
1 point. That is all that separates 1st and 2nd currently in the LMP3 class of the Asian Le Mans Series. In has been an incredibly tight battle all season, the top four teams remain in with a chance of winning the Championship ahead of the final round of the season.
 
Leading the way, after winning the previous round, is the #18 KCMG Ligier JS P3 (53 points) followed closely by the #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x Jota Sport Ligier JS P3 (52 points). Behind them at the #65 Viper Niza Racing Ligier (40 points) and the #11 Ligier JS P3 of Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport (36 points). 
 
A new part of the 4 Hours of Sepang this year will be the 1st LMP3 Asia Festival. As a part of this festival, the LMP3 teams also racing for a prize pool of $45,000USD in Sepang – to be used towards entries in the 2018/19 Asian Le Mans Series. (More information.)
 
 
GT:
The three-way battle in the GT Class of the Asian Le Mans Series has been intense all year, particularly between the two FIST Team AAI entries. With the Audi R8 LMS from Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT finishing the season very strongly, the Championship will be decided this weekend.

Currently holding a 9-point lead is the #91 FIST Team AAI BMW M6 GT3 (69 points), from the #90 FIST Team AAI Ferrari 488 GT3 (60 points). In third currently is the #66 Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT Audi R8 LMS (48 points).

The #66 Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT Audi R8 LMS will also have a new face behind the wheel with Mitch Gilbert joining the team for this round.  
 
The driver line ups in both FIST Team AAI entries have been changed ahead of the final round. 
 
In the BMW M6 GT3, due to prior commitments, Chaz Mostert has been replaced by Finnish driver, Markus Palttala. In the Ferrari 488 GT3, Ollie Millroy will be joined by two Thai drivers, Sarun Serrthoranakul and Bhurit Bhirombhakdi who competed in Round 1 of the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup in 2017. Racing with Kantasak Kusiri, he won the first race, and finished 2nd in the second race.
 
Sepang is one of the biggest bases for the FIST Team AAI, will this bring enough of a home town advantage to help them secure a 1-2 finish in the GT Class Championship, and the two, money can’t buy invitations to the 24 Hours of Le Mans?  

World class broadcast schedule – free, live and in full: 
As always there will be live streaming of qualifying and the race in full on the Series Facebook page 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.
 
In China, the race will be broadcast through the Tencent Sports network on both PC and mobile services.
 
 
Tickets:
Tickets can be purchased through the Sepang Circuit – 
Main grandstand ticket Sunday (Free entry on Saturday) – RM11
Paddock access (including main grandstand access) – RM106
 
Provisional Schedule:
Friday:
14:00 – 15:30 Private test session
 
Saturday:
08:40 – 10:10 Free Practice 1
11:40 – 13:10 Free Practice 2
17:00 – 17:15 Qualifying LMP2 and LMP3
17:25 – 17:35 Qualifying GT and GT Cup
 
Sunday:
10:00 – 10:30 Pit walk / Autograph session
13:00 – 17:00 4 Hours of Sepang
 
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.