The Asian Le Mans Series entrants touched down in Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit (SIC) for the final round showdown for the 2016 / 2017 Sesdon. This Saturday 21st January 2017, at 8:15 AM and 12:45 PM (Local time +8 GMT) respectively will be the start of free Practise 1 & 2 sessions. Qualifying for the GT and GT-cup will start at 5:15 PM (Local time +8 GMT) while the LMP2, LMP3 and CN classes will start at 6:15 PM (Local time +8 GMT).
On Sunday 22nd January 2017, the 4-hour race will start at 12:15 PM (Local time +8 GMT) This final round will see who will be crowned the Asian LMS champion. The winners will secure their places for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June later this year.
In this Final round, only the CN class team title is decided. In the GT Cup class, Team #77 NZ and Team # 96 TKS will be gunning for the title. They are both piloting a Porsche 911 GT3 and share 26 points each.
In the LMP2 class, Jackie Chan DC Racing is going into the final round as class leader, with 69 points for the #35 Oreca 03R Nissan. Algarve Pro Racing their #25 Ligier JSP2 Nissan in second place with 50 points. Aidan Read will be joining the line-up with #25 for this round, alongside Andrea Pizzitola and Andrea Roda. The #24 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Judd is sitting in third with 45 points. Race Performance are at 37 points with their #8 Oreca 03R Judd.
As for the LMP3 class, ARC Bratislava #4 Ginetta is leading the pack with 55 points. Tockwith Motorsports, #26 Ligier JSP3 is close behind sitting 2nd in the classification with 51 points. Third and also fighting for the class win is the #1 Jackie Chan DC Racing Ligier JSP3 with 48 points. Also in the contention for class win is the ARC Bratislava sister car, the #7 Ginetta LMP3, with 40 points, and the #85 G-Print by Triple 1 Racing Ligier JSP3 with 30.
In the GT Class, #5 DH Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 is leading the class with 52 points while #37 Team BBT Ferrari 488 GT3 is in second with 38 points. Sitting in third is #3 DH Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 who has 35 points. Still within a title chance is #61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 with 32 points and the #38 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 at 30 points.
The provisional entry list currently stands at 28 cars, with 4 LMP2, 10 LMP3, 11 GT and, 1 CN and 2 GT Cup, making the 4 Hours of Sepang the strongest endurance race in South East Asia. This also means that there is an average of 28 cars per round this season, a steady increase over last year’s entry and indeed a marked improvement. The final round will see PS Racing ADESS 03 return in the LMP3 class, having missed out in Buriram, and FIST-Team AAI will be entering their #93 ADESS 03 as well, thus having three reputable brands representing the LMP3 category.
It is also worth noting that five ex-F1 drivers can be counted amongst the participants of this final event of the 2016-2017 season – Fairuz Fauzy, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Olivier Beretta and Ho-Pin Tung have all been test and/or reserve drivers for Formula 1 in their racing careers, and Alex Yoong having raced for Minardi for two seasons.
The fight for the series titles will reach its pinnacle this weekend, especially in the LMP2, LMP3 and GT classes with the class winning crews making their way in June to la Sarthe in France thanks to their invitation to the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Credits: Photos and content – Justin Hong