David Cheng, set to race this weekend in the Asian Le Mans Series finale in the #1 Jackie Chan DC Racing Ligier JS P3 was just a little late on parade here with a pressing engagement in Beijing at the premiere of team co-owner Jackie Chan’s new movie Kung Fu Yoga, featured on the all-over livery for the team’s Championship leading #35 Oreca 03 Nissan. David arrived in time for afternoon track action.
Familiar faces in attendance here but not racing include 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours LMP2 winner Richard Bradley, in attendance in support of the WinEurasia effort but not on the driver roster. Also here is 2015 ELMS Drivers Champion Jon Lancaster, looking longingly at the Asian LMS cars as he gets down to business driver coaching in the South East Asian F4 Championship which supports the 4 Hours of Sepang this weekend with 6 races on Saturday and Sunday!!
Whilst Sunday’s race will confirm the Auto entries for the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours for the Overall Championship winners, the LMP3 Championship winners (in LMP2) and the GT winners (in LM GTE Am), expect a relatively high proportion of entry requests from Asian LMS teams to have been posted for the 2017 race, we believe into double figures (including those bound for the 2017 FIA WEC with an automatic entry for successful applicants!).
The season entry for the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours, FIA WEC and ELMS is announced on 2 February.
Private testing today saw most of the cars present on track:
Sessions split between the Prototypes and GTs saw the #3 DH Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 of Alex Riberas top the GT times 2:02.650 (the Team NZ Porsche the faster of the GT Cup pair, 2:12.259)
In the Prototype sessions it was Gustavo Menezes that topped the times in the #35 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 03R Nissan 1:56.770, Andrea Pizzitola though closed to within a tenth by the flag in the #25 Algarve Pro Ligier Nissan.
In LMP3 Nigel Moore was the only man under 2 minutes, 1”59.659 for the Tockwith Motorsports man in the #26 Ligier heading a Ligier 1,2,3 in class.
Both sessions saw red flags, the LMP session for an off from the Team AAI Adess that glanced the barrier, some nose damage the worst result.
In the GT session there were a pair of interruptions, the first for the Audi Team Korea R8 LMS stopping on course, the second for one of the AAI BMW M6 GT3s off into the gravel.