Its a 14 car grid for the third round after Eurasia Motorsport didn’t make it to the third round, after their planned driver squad fell victim to injury in testing with another team.
Late efforts to pull together a replacement line-up initially looked to have borne fruit but a variety of issues cost them two chances at filling the void. The team plan to return for the final round in Sepang.
The race in Buriram is the longest ever in the Asian Le Mans Series, and a race distance of six hours in unusually long too for LMP3 cars with only the Gulf 12 Hours (2 x 6 Hours) and the Britcar 24 Hours (back in 2015) featuring opportunities to race the cars over equivalent or longer distances under LMP3 regulations.
James Winslow (below) is recovering at home in Australia after his enormous shunt in the Gulf 12 Hours, the Graff Ligier losing rear braking, the pedal going to the floor at the end of the main straight with the car at 240kph, worse still the brake bias bar jammed up preventing front braking either, the very definition of a worst case scenario!
James suffered 2 fractured vertebrae, a broken wrist, fractured chest (sternum) internal bruising, damaged spleen & also paroxysmal positional vertigo causing huge dizziness.
Get well soon!
James is replaced here in Thailand by 2016/ 2017 Asian Le Mans LMP3 Champion Nigel Moore.
Team NZ though are welcome returnees to the fray here (and will complete the season in Sepang) They continue with their ex Earl Bamber Porsche, the car having proved hugely successful for the team down through the years. A newer car though is set to replace the 911 GT3 Cup, an updated version the highly likely choice.
Both FIST Team AAI cars feature new liveries in Thailand (above), the team have committed to the BMW M6 GT3 Evo kit for their pair of cars for later in the season but are not yet permitted to run with the updates here (the homologation not active until 1 March).
Algarve Pro’s John Graham has finally made it onto the race entry after repeated, and somewhat inexplicable issues with gaining the correct license from the Canadian ASN, the veteran racer, whose cv goes back to Group C days, is now the proud recipient of a Slovakian race license. LMP2 rival Miro Konopka may just have had a part to play in smoothing the way for that one!
Tomorrow is Childrens Day in Thailand and an enormous crowd is expected at and around the circuit as just about every community, government and commercial entity around puts on a show for the nation’s children. Before that though there will be quite another spectacle as the circuit and local Police put on one of their regular Friday evening drag races for local youngsters, held on a purpose-built strip along the circuit entry road and designed to encourage locals to race in controlled conditions and not on the roads, another large crowd is expected!