The entry list for the Asian Le Mans Series night race at Sepang this weekend has been released, the grid size down from 26 cars (at The Bend) to 23 for the event in Malaysia.
Multiple teams in both the prototype and GT ranks, will not be making the trip to the Sepang International Circuit for a variety of reasons.
Due to unforeseen personal circumstances, team owner and driver Miro Konopka have made the difficult decision to withdraw the ARC Bratislava entry.
RLR MSport has also withdrawn its ORECA 05 from both Sepang and Buriram, as a result of the extensive damage sustained in the fire at The Bend.
The Coronavirus outbreak in China has also cost the series the presence of a further two teams. Due to the travel restrictions placed on those based in China, FIST Team AAI, (which was due to debut its Porsche in Sepang), and Astro Veloce Motorsports have had to withdraw from the final two rounds of the championship as many of their staff cannot make the trip.
The series has released a statement on the situation surrounding the Coronavirus, confirming that the two races left to run on the calendar will go ahead as it stands:
“The Asian Le Mans Series is closely monitoring all related health and travel advisories that are being issued about the Novel Coronavirus situation in China,” the statement reads. “The current advice does not have an impact on the running of the 4 Hours of Sepang and the 4 Hours of Buriram.”
In positive news, there is one additional entry, as Graff will be running a second Norma M30 in the LMP3 class for the final two races of the season. In Sepang, it will be driven by Matthias Kaiser and Rory Penttinen.
Elsewhere there’s a driver change in the #1 Eurasia Ligier JS P217. A one-off appearance for Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen in Australia, Masataka Yanagida will be back behind the wheel to race alongside Nick Cassidy and Daniel Gaunt.
The #14 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JP S3 will feature a new line up for the final two rounds. Dan Wells is making a return to the series for the first time since 2015 and he will be joined by Philip Kadoorie in the teams second Ligier JS P3.
Team JLOC will also have a slight change to their driver line up for the second half of the Championship too. The teams regular Super GT driver Takashi Kogure will replace Andre Couto in the #88 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.
This weekend’s race will be the first in the series’ history to be held at night. In a change to the normal format, both qualifying and the race will be held on Saturday, with the race starting at 17:00 and finishing at 21:00 local time.