In their debut in the Asian Le Mans Series, the all-Malaysian line up in the #7 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Oreca 05 Nissan has claimed a hard-fought victory in 6 Hours of Buriram.
Round 3 saw Jazeman Jaafar, Weiron Tan and Afiq Ikhwan Yazid debut in the Series. Racing under an initiative by Sepang International Circuit (SIC) with a vision to put up a team for the prestigious Le Mans 24-Hour Endurance next year, the trio clearly needed little time to gel as a team before combining their skills and racing brilliance to make an immediate impact to win the LMP2 class.
They were, however, pushed hard throughout the grueling race by their teammates in the #8 Oreca, of Stephane Richelme, Harrison Newey and Thomas Laurent who finished second. It was the first ever all-Malaysian victory in the Asian Le Mans Series. Third place goes to car #37 of Team BBT (Anthony Xu Liu-Davide Rizzo-Pipo Derani).
Commenting on the victory, Jazeman described the feat as unbelievable as there were plenty of tense moment that they had to endure before scoring the win.
The win, added Jazeman, was the perfect dose of confidence as they approach the final round of the series in Sepang next month.
“I had such a great time in Thailand. Racing with Weiron and Afiq was really special and bringing home the win for Malaysia and SIC made it even sweeter. It was unfortunate to clip the cone and I’m just pleased it didn’t hurt us and I was able to lap quick enough to make the time back.
“Claiming the fastest lap of the race has also proven my true performance especially with such strong talented drivers in the field. It’s great that we head to Sepang for the next round as winners and it gives us a strong momentum there. I hope that we’ll have plenty of support for our home race and the final round of the championship.
“My thanks go to all the crew at Jackie Chan DC Racing x Jota Sport and to David Cheng for giving me this opportunity – I’m loving racing in Asia,” said Jazeman, who competed in the single seater racing in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series and the Formula BMW before moving on to racing in the GT races in the Blancpain Endurance Series previously.
Echoing views expressed by his new partner, Afiq said it was a dream debut that turned out to be one of the best races for him.
“First of all, I would like to thank SIC for this opportunity and make this race happen. It was one of the best race in my career – an all-Malaysia line up, my first debut in an LMP2 car and yet we manage to win the race.
“Racing with Jazeman and Weiron was really awesome. They have been helping me a lot throughout the weekend. It is a big step for me racing from a GT3 car to an LMP2 car. It was not easy to drive but I manage to get it right and put everything together. I hope we have more races together in future and I am looking forward to race in the final round in Sepang.
“I hope we can be on top of the podium again,” said Afiq, who is a former karting champion before moving on to GT racing in 2013 and winning the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia Series in 2015.
Like his partners, Weiron is also looking forward to the final round in Sepang for a repeat of the “unbelievable” performance.
“First of all big thank you to SIC for this fantastic opportunity, to my teammates Jaz and Afiq for stellar performances and to the whole DC Racing crew for an amazing job well done. A lot of team effort had been put into this weekend and to win on our LMP2 debut as a full Malaysian line-up is just unbelievable!
“I am extremely grateful and we are all looking forward to our home race in Sepang next!” said Weiron, who made his name after finishing fourth overall in the Pro Mazda Championship in the US in 2015 after years of kart racing.
In LMP3, it was the #18 KCMG Motorsport Ligier JS P3 that returned to the top step of the podium. The Class was saw one of the closest battles seen with every entry holding a top two position – on merit – at one point during the race. Ultimately it was the #11 Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport Ligier JS P3 that came home second with the #1 WIN Motorsport Ligier JS P3 finishing 3rd.
After just 0.001 separated the top two in qualifying the stage was set for an epic fight for the GT Class victory and the race delivered. There was a three-way battle between the Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT Audi R8 LMS, and the Ferrari 488 GT3 and BMW M6 GT3 from FIST Team AAI. Accident damaged curtailed the Ferrari’s race, leaving the Audi and the BMW to continue trading places for much of the race, with the BMW coming out on top.
This is the third round of the 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series was held on Children’s Day in Thailand, and the track was full of family’s keen to check out the excitement of the 6 Hours of Buriram.
An audience of close to 20,000 filled the grandstands, with approximately 200,000 family members filling the circuit precinct to celebrate Children’s Day. They were not disappointed by the on track action, with battles occurring up and down the field throughout the whole 6 hours.
As this race is a 6 Hour race, two hours longer than the standard Asian Le Mans Series race, the teams were permitted to use additional Michelin tyres – one extra set for prototype entries and two extra sets for the GT entries to allow for the extra two hours racing.
LMP2: #7 Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA Sport Oreca 05
LMP3: #18 KCMG Motorsport Ligier JS P3
GT: #91 FIST Team AAI GT3 BMW M6 GT3
GT Cup: #77 Team NZ Porsche 997 GT3