Good morning from a stiflingly hot Zhuhai International Circuit as the Asian Le Mans Series begins another chapter with round one of the 2016/17 season.
It’s the first time back here since the ILMC in 2011, indeed it was during a free practice session here that the unique happening of the time passing 11 seconds past 11 minutes past 11 on 11/11.11 occurred!
Back then it was factory Audis vs factory Peugeots, both soon to be memories, now it’s LMP2 vs LMP3 and GT3.
And it’s a 30 car grid, something that would have seemed fantasy levels only 18 months ago has been built fantastically quickly by Cyrille Taesch Wahlen and his hard working ACO team.
Some of the cars have already been on track in testing this week and there’s more of the same today (Friday) ahead of the official free practice and qualifying tomorrow and the 4 hour race on Sunday.
30 cars are listed and we believe all 30 are here though some will not be on track today.
And a colourful grid they make, with some familiar teams in familiar colours.
Some familiar teams in unfamiliar colours!
And some unfamiliar teams in some spectacular colours!
First a couple of bad news/ good news tales:
A significant shunt in testing yesterday destroyed the TianShi Racing Audi, luckily the Sainteloc Racing team have the Audi here that they ran in the Blancpain GT Pro class last year and that has been rapidly prepped for action this morning. The team though are unsure over the lifing on some parts and it will be down to the judgement of Christopher Haase after the session today on whether the car will continue for the weekend’s action.
Algarve Pro meanwhile were left twiddling thumbs and no doubt shouting into phones as their freight was delayed until just before 7pm last night after a carnet error left them firefighting customs clearance issues. The cars though are both now here and being prepped but will mis this mornings test session.
LMP2’s 4 car entry then is complete, the Race Performance and Jackie Chan DC Racing Orecas both on track this morning, the latter featuring an all over ad for Kung Fu Yoga, Chan’s latest Action Comedy blockbuster.
LMP3 sees an entry in double figures and with more variety than seen anywhere before with the exception of the Road to Le Mans race last year. We’ll catch up with some of the teams during the day.
The sole CN entry for PS Racing is here too, the Ligier JS 53 charing garage space with the team’s Adess 03 LMP3 car.
And in GT there’s plenty of variety. A pair of McLarens (with both the AAI and OD racing teams having a second car here too!)
AAI’s AMG GT and BMW M6 GT3.
Absolute Racing’s Bentley, the first to contest an ACO rules race since Le Mans in 2003!
Absolute also field an Audi R8 as do KCMG.
There are Lamborghini Huracans for FFF Racing and Vincenzo Sospiri Racing (below).
And a fleet of Ferrari 488 GT3s with DH Racing entering two, and GT Asia regulars Team BBT, Spirit of Race and reigning GT champs Clearwater Racing fielding one apiece.