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4H Sepang: Saturday Paddock Notes

Real positivity over 2019/20 calendar, but some questions

The 2018/19 Asian Le Mans Series teams are in the midst of examining their potential programmes for 2019/20 with next season’s calendar now a known quantity.

There’s little doubt that the new addition of The Bend in South Australia, and the switch of the Sepang round to a 4 Hour race into 2 hours of floodlit full darkness are proving to very popular changes. But, some questions remain over logistics and the transitions into the newer LMP2s for the top class (LMP2 AM is set to retain the older LMP2s for another season), and to the next iteration of LMP3. Those questions are being actively addressed by the Asian Le Mans Series with the teams and car manufacturers.

Look out for the next edition of the Inside the Sportscar Racing Paddock for the very latest from the teams, and from the series organisers.

One team that has heartily endorsed the Asian Series is Inter Europol. They start the final round tomorrow leading the Championship and favourites to take the LMP3 crown and earn a first-ever slot for the team on the grid at the Le Mans 24 Hours. Three other teams though are still in with a shot of that auto entry. Inter Europol though are already firm fans of the Asian Series and are already actively looking at a return, potentially with cars in both LMP2 and LMP3.

Amongst the current LMP2 teams Spirit of Race, ARC Bratislava and Panis Barthez are also talking openly of likely returns either in LMP2 or LMP2 AM.

United Autosports meanwhile looks set to stick with their planned EMS and WEC LMP2 commitments.

Tim Greaves is a welcome addition to the ARC Bratislava pit crew, the Greaves Motorsport founder on holiday in the region and subbing for the weekend for Lee Penn as the strategist for the team’s LMP2 Am title leading effort. Son Jacob and a handful of Greaves Motorsport engineers have been supporting the Slovakian team throughout the season.

ACO President and Sporting Director Pierre Vincent Beaumesnil are both present this weekend with Fillon meeting with Susumu Yamashita, the President of Mobilityland Corporation to seal a collaborative deal for the next three seasons over their respective venues’ FIA EWC World Endurance Championship Moto rounds.

Dries Vanthoor’s pole position for the #88 TSRT Audi squad meanwhile was the first in global competition for the 2019 version of the Audi R8 LMS GT3. Cars to the new spec have already raced in the VLN, Gulf 12 Hours, Dubai 24 Hours and Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.