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Asian Le Mans Series Champions Crowned in Malaysia

Algarve Pro Racing win the 4 Hours of Sepang and United Autosports win the 2018/19 Asian Le Mans Series!


Second place in the 4 Hours of Sepang was good enough for the #22 United Autosports Ligier JS P2 Nissan of Phil Hanson and Paul De Resta to win the outright Championship in the 2018/19 Asian Le Mans Series. The #24 Algarve Pro Racing team of Andrea Pizzitola, Harrison Newey and Ate Dirk De Jong gave it their all, winning the race and finishing second in the Championship. 
 
In the LMP2 Am Trophy, ARC Bratislava finished 4thoverall and 1stin class in the 4 Hours of Sepang to claim the Championship win. Driving the ARC Bratislava entry were Miro Konopka, Ling Kang and Darren Burke.  Their main title rivals, the #23 United Autosports Ligier JS P2 Nissan suffered a gear box problem that saw them retire from the race. The #25 Algarve Pro Racing entry also retired from the race, securing the championship for ARC Bratislava. 
 
The fight for the LMP3 battle was intense throughout the race, but ultimately it was the #13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JS P3 driven Jakub Smiechowski and Martin Hippe that won the race in dominant style to claim the LMP3 Championship title. In 2ndplace was the #7 Ecurie Ecosse / Nielsen Racing Ligier JS P3 and third was the #2 United Autosports Ligier JS P3. Third place was good enough for the team to secure 2ndplace in the Championship for Chris Buncombe, Garett Grist and Wayne Boyd. 
 
In GT Japanese team Car Guy of Takeshi Kimura, Kei Cozzolino and James Calado capped off a fantastic season by making it four race wins from four starts in their #11 Ferrari 488 GT3 to win the GT Championship! It was not a simple exercise as they were forced to withstand significant pressure from the pole sitting #88 TianShi Racing Team Audi R8 LMS. The #88, raced by Xu Wei, Chen Wei An and Dries Vanthoor finished the race second and the #51 Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi, Ozzy Negri Jr and Francesco Piovanetti finished 3rd, and claimed 2ndplace in the Championship. 
 
The GT Am title went to the second TianShi Racing Team Audi R8 LMS, the #66. Their race unfortunately finished in the garage with a DNF. 
 
On top of the added pressure of it being the Championship decider, the race was run in very high temperatures and humidity making for one of the toughest races of the season. This made the success of the winning teams all the more sweet. 
 
Full race results can be found here. 

Championship points can be found here

Champions crowned and four invitations for the 24 Hours of Le Mans confirmed!

2018/19 Asian Le Mans Series Champions: 

LMP2:  #22 United Autosports Ligier JS P2 Nissan
Phil Hanson /Paul De Resta
 
LMP2 Am Trophy:  #4 ARC Bratislava Ligier JS P2 Nissan 
Miro Konopka / Ling Kang / Darren Bourke
 
LMP3: #13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JS P3 
Jakub Smiechowski /Martin Hippe 
 
GT: #11 Car Guy Ferrari 488 GT3
Takeshi Kimura / Kei Cozzolino / James Calado
          
These four teams will also receive and invitation to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
 
The full entry list for the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans will be announced by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest on Friday the 1st of March 2019. 

Championships up for grabs in Asian Le Mans Series Finale!

4 Hours of Sepang Preview

The final round of the Asian Le Mans Series will be held this weekend at the Sepang International Circuit. After a season full of close and exciting racing, all four championships, and their respective invitations to this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, remain up for grabs!

The 4 Hours of Sepang, will see the arrival of an additional LMP3 entry from the ARC Bratislava team, and the return of both the #8 Spirit of Race LMP2 entry and the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing LMP3 entry.

The R24 LMP3 entry will see and all new driver line up including Katherine Legge. Dries Vanthoor will return in the #88 TianShi Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3, and series new comer Qi Peiwen (Aven) will be in their #66 Audi.

Entry list for the 4 Hours of Sepang

 

LMP2

After missing the previous round in Thailand, the #8 Spirit of Race Ligier JS P2 will be back with Côme Ledogar, Alexander West, and Pipo Deranifor the 4 Hours of Sepang. While the #8 is expected to be fighting for the race win, the Championship battle is now down to just three teams, series debutants, United Autosports, 2016/17 Champions Algarve Pro Racing and ARC Bratislava.

4 Hours of Buriram race winners, Phil Hanson and Paul di Resta in the United Autosports #22 Ligier JS P2 Nissanhold a commanding lead of 18 points in the 2018/19 season. Currently second are the 4 Hours of Fuji winners, Harrison Newey and Andrea Pizzitola in the #24 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 Judd. For the final round they will again be joined by Ate Dirk De Jong.

The #4 ARC Bratislava Ligier JS P2 Nissan being driven by Miro Konopka, Kang Ling and Darren Burke are also still in with a chance. To win, they must win the race, the #22 DNF, and the #24 finishes 2ndor worse.
 

LMP2 Am Trophy

The ARC Bratislava #4 Ligier JS P2 Nissanalso comes into the final round of season with a 9-point lead in the LMP2 Am Trophy class. Their closest rivals are the #23 United Autosports Ligier JS P2 Nissan, Guy Cosmo, Patrick Byrne and Salih Yoluc who are 9 points behind them.
 

LMP3

The LMP3 Championship has been intense this year and going into the final round there are four entire still in contention for the win.

With a race win and two second place finishes the Class, LMP3 Championships leaders, Jakub Smiechowski and Martin Hippe inthe #13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JS P3 have an 8-point lead.

In second place is the United Autosports #2 Ligier JS P3 Nissan, driven by Chris Buncombe, Garett Grist and Wayne Boyd, and 9 points behind them is the sister United Autosports, Ligier JS P3 Nissan, the #3 driven by Matthew Bell, and Kay van Berlo. While it is a long shot, the #79 Ecurie Ecosse/Nielsen Racing Ligier JS P3 Nissanis 20 points behind the Class leaders. With 26 points on offer for pole and the race win, it is still possible.

The 4 Hours of Sepang will see the welcome return of the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing entry. Racing for the team will be Rick Yoon, Jake Parsons and James Winslow.

As previously announced, the line-up of the R24 entry will feature Katherine Legge, Margot Laffite, and Michelle Gatting for the 4 Hours of Sepang.

 

GT

Series new comers, Japanese team Car Guy have dominated the GT class this season winning every race in the 2018/19 Season, with their #11 Ferrari 488 GT3. In the 4 Hours of Sepang, drivers Takeshi Kimura, Kei Cozzolino and James Calado will again come under intense pressure from the Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 being driven by Alessadro Pier Guidi, Ozzy Negri Jr and Francesco Piovanetti. The #51 can still win the Championship, but they must win and the #11 not score any points.

Official Audi Sport driver Dries Vanthoor will return with the TianShi Racing Team (TSRT) in the #88 Audi R8 LMS GT3. He will be racing with Xu Wei and (David) Chen Wei An.

Joining the #66 entry will be new driver Qi Peiwen (Aven) who has previously race in the teams SEAT TCR entry. He will join Zhang Yaqi (Dennis), and Max Wiser.

 

4 Hours of Sepang Schedule:

Friday, 22 February 2019

08:15 Full grid photo
15:10 – 16:40 Free Practice 1

Saturday, 23 February 2019

10:45 – 12:15 Free Practice 2
15:35 – 15:50 GT Qualifying
16:00 – 16:15 LMP2 & LMP3 Qualifying

Sunday, 24 February 2019

09:30 – 10:00 Autograph Session
12:00 – 16:00 4 Hours of Sepang

World Class broadcast schedule – live, in full and for free!
The Asian Le Mans Series will again be broadcasting all qualifying sessions and races in full, on the Asian Le Mans Series Facebook and You Tube pages, ensuring as many people as possible can watch the races.

For the Australian audience, Speedcafe.com will also be streaming both qualifying and the 4 Hours of Sepang race live on their website.

In addition, the coverage will be streamed live on Tencent Sport in China, Set India on SonyLIV, MotorTrend on Demand in the United States and Europe, and through Motorsport.tv.

 

Current Championship standings:

LMP2 & Outright Championship

62 points – United Autosports #22 Ligier JS P2 Nissan (Phil Hanson & Paul Di Resta)
44 points – Algarve Pro Racing #24 Ligier JS P2 Judd (Harrison Newey and Andrea Pizzitola)
39 points – ARC Bratislava #4 Ligier JS P2 Nissan (Miro Konopka, Ling Kang & Darren Burke)

LMP2 Am Trophy

69 points – ARC Bratislava #4 Ligier JS P2 Nissan (Miro Konopka, Ling Kang & Darren Burke)
60 points – United Autosports #23 Ligier JS P2 Nissan (Guy Cosmo, Patrick Byrne & Salih Yoluc)
48 points – Algarve Pro Racing #25 Ligier JS P2 Judd (Mark Patterson, Anders Fjordbach & Christopher McMurry)

LMP3

62 points – Inter Europol Competition #13 Ligier JS P3 (Jakub Smiechowski & Martin Hippe)
54 points – United Autosports #2 Ligier JS P3 (Chris Buncombe, Garett Grist & Wayne Boyd)
43 points – United Autosports #3 Ligier JS P3 (Matthew Bell & Kay van Berlo)

GT

76 points – Car Guy #11 Ferrari 488 GT3 (Takeshi Kimura, Kei Cozzolino, James Calado)
52 points – Spirit of Race #51 Ferrari 488 GT3 (Alessandro Pier Guidi, Ozzy Negri Jr & Francesco Piovanetti)
39 points – TianShi Racing Team #66 Audi R8 LMS (Xu Wei & Max Wiser) – they are also the lead GT Am entry.

 

Full championship points here.

 

Up for grabs – four invitations to the 24 Hours of Le Mans:

In addition to the glory of winning the outright and class championships, the teams will be fighting for an elusive invitation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The winners of the LMP2 and LMP3 classes will each receive an invitation to compete in the LMP2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2019. New for the 2018/19 Asian Le Mans Series, there will be an added recognition for LMP2 amateur entries – not only will they be fighting for their own Championship honours, they will also be for an invitation. There will also be one invitation to race in the LM GTE Am class for the winner of the GT class.

 

Prestigious partners:

The Asian Le Mans Series is proud to be run in partnership with the following 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 20thconsecutive 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.

The new-look LMP3 for 2020!

The LMP3 class was introduced by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) in 2015 and the next generation of cars will make its competition début in 2020. Four manufacturers have been selected to help ACO take the class forward. Here we present the 2020 version of LMP3, with some key figures and comments from Vincent Beaumesnil, Sports Director.

LMP3 is a feeder series and forms the first tier of the ACO’s endurance pyramid. The class was introduced by the organisers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015 and will enter a new phase in 2020.

The second-generation chassis will race from 2020-24, fielded by teams and drivers looking to gain a footing in the endurance discipline. The class has been a resounding success with, to date, 170 LMP3 cars entered in various racing series. Several drivers have used the class as a springboard, including Thomas Laurent, LMP3 winner of the 2016 Road to Le Mans who took the LMP2 crown at the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans (finishing second overall) and came third at Le Mans in 2018. LMP3 is also popular with amateur drivers.

Competitive cars, a top-flight sporting programme, an affordable budget, a straightforward mechanical set-up and technology within everyone’s reach will continue to form the backbone of the series. LMP3 was designed as a training ground for endurance racing, an arena in which drivers, team members, engineers and mechanics can hone their skills and prepare for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA World Endurance Championship.

HOW LMP3 WILL LOOK IN 2020-2024 :

-The four manufacturers selected are Ligier, Duqueine Engineering, Ginetta and Adess.

-Oreca remains the exclusive powertrain (engine, gearbox and electronics) supplier.

-The car will be an upgrade of the manufacturers’ present vehicles, not an entirely new car. An upgrade kit has been defined, covering safety, performance and design.

-The costs stipulated in the regulations are €4,900 to upgrade the current engine, and €50,000 for the chassis upgrade kit (technical passport included), making a total €54,900 to upgrade the current car for 2020. A new 2020 car will cost a maximum €239,000 (technical passport included).

-Customer quality will be a prime concern with technical support at circuits, a spare parts service and a technical passport.

KEY TECHNICAL INFORMATION FOR LMP3 IN 2020-24 :

-Engine power has been increased by 35 hp, to 455 hp.

-The new Nissan VK56 engine will be introduced. The current engines (Nissan VK50 V8) will be adapted to deliver the same power and performance as the VK56. Competitors can thus keep their current engines until they come to the end of their useful life and then acquire the new one.

-Introduction of traction control.

-As for the chassis, some safety-related changes have been approved for the driver’s headrest structure and the driver’s seat, and Zylon side panels will be introduced.

-A bodywork upgrade kit and mechanical modifications are also permitted, provided costs do not exceed the price of the kit indicated in the regulations

WHEN WILL THE 2020-24 LMP3 BE INTRODUCED?

– 2020 season: European Le Mans Series, Michelin Le Mans Cup, Road to Le Mans, Ultimate Cup, V de V

– 2020-21 season: Asian Le Mans Series

– 2021 season: All other competitions

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.”