After outlining to DSC as early as last July (Story Here) that they were looking at options to join the 2017 FIA WEC, Clearwater Racing have now confirmed that they will apply to contest a full season in the World Championship in a Ferrari 488 GTE.
The team are set to utilise the same driver trio as is currently contesting the 2016/17 Asian Le Mans Series with Mok Weng Sun, Keita Sawa and Matt Griffin, the first full season WEC entry for Sawa and Mok Weng Sun though Matt Griffin has several Wec starts including a full season with AF Corse in 2013.
The effort will see the Ferrari using their current livery (though a switch to the chrome-based look for Le Mans is a distinct possibility!
The team will continue to use their faithful and highly effective Asian crew, with additional support from AF Corse.
2017 then should see Clearwater’s second appearance at the Le Mans 24 Hours after racing there last year with an entry granted thanks to their Championship win in the 2015/16 Asian Le Mans Series (in a McLaren 650S GT3) – they brought their Ferrari 458 GTE home fourth in the GTE Am classification.
It also marks a step up in the predicted programme, a senior team source told DSC in November that the likely WEC programme might start at Le Mans this year, the switch to a full season effort a recent decision it seems.
Cyrille Taesch Wahlen, Asian Le Mans Series Managing Director: “It’s great to see one of our teams taking the next step on the endurance racing ladder. It goes to show that the Asian Le Mans Series is doing what it set out to do, which is to give teams the opportunity to work their way up to competing in a World Championship. We will of course miss them in our paddock, but we wish them the best of luck with their endeavour.”
Mok Weng Sung, Clearwater Racing Team Principal: “We’ve been thinking about this for a while, but it’s a big commitment, financially as well as time wise. I’ve been waving back and forth on the idea, and then this weekend I just had a good chat with the team and said ‘Let’s go do it’. I was actually planning on retiring from racing after this season in the Asian Le Mans Series; I’ve been doing it for 11 years and I’ll be turning 50 next year, so I thought I’d wind it back. But the lure of being able to race in the premier GT championship in the World was just too much of a lure, and of course I want to go back to Le Mans, and so to have a guaranteed entry as well as the ability to race on the greatest circuits on the planet with top rated teams, I just said – Let’s go do it!”