After a lot of turnarounds in the Asian Le Mans Series organization, the 2015/2016 season is three weeks away from its first race under the ACO direct management of the series with the lead of Cyrille Taesch-Wahlen, after two seasons in the low under the former S2M management, which meant less races in the schedule in favor of a healthy championship at first moment.
The first entry list for the 2 Hours of Fuji contains 13 entries, which is something to celebrate if compared with count of 9 effective entrants of the 3 Hours of Inje in 2013, which was the innaugural race of the reborn championship, after a four-year hiatus. Unfortunately these numbers could have been enhanced if the AsLMS season starter didn’t have a clash with the European Le Mans Series season finale at Estoril, meaning that some squads with the intention of joining the Asian competition will be out for the moment.
The main acts of the show, the LMP2 class, will be composed by only two entries, as it was in 2013 and 2015, but this time the only former entry on track will be Eurasia Motorsport, fielding and ORECA 03-Nissan, which will be opposed by the guys from Race Performance, also with na ORECA 03, trying to restart their sportscar activities after more than half of a year of absence of any ACO-organized competition.
New for 2015, as it was for the ELMS, the LMP3 class will have three cars in the field, but instead of the horde of Ginettas that has been seen during the European season, the AsLMS will feature the debut of both the Ligier JS P3 and the ADESS 03 models, by the hands of DC Racing and AAI Motorsports.
The Jun San Chen-led squad makes the leap into prototype competition after two seasons racing with GT cars, Tatsuya Tanigawa and Ryohei Sakaguchi being the main cards of the team. DC Racing is a new squad created by the Chinese driver David Cheng, and the boss-driver will share the car with Ho-Pin Tung, which in fact means they made a “downgrade”, abandoning the OAK Racing Morgan LMP2 model where they conquered the championship in 2013 and 2014.
The production-based category of the Field, the GT class was meant to bring cars from LMGTE, GT3 and GT300 platforms, but at the first moment will be filled by GT3 cars only. Curiously, there are some interesting entries in the fields between the same faces and colours.
Team AAI will field a pair of BMW Z4 GT3s, with boss-drivers Jun San Chen and Han Chen Chen leading their respective cars. They will again count with the services of the BMW Müller brothers, but this time will be Dirk Müller instead of Jörg.
Clearwater Racing, a strong team in GT Asia and in other GT competitions, will Field a single McLaren 650S, again to be driven by Mok Weng Sun and Keita Sawa, one of the best driver combinations that the Asian continent can offer. As parto f their relationship with McLaren, Rob Bell joins the team as their third driver.
Absolute Racing and Spirit of Race are the other common GT Asia brands that will join AsLMS at Fuji, with the presence of Rui Aguas in the SoR Ferrari 458 GT3 as a highlight. The Malaysian squad Nexus Infinity Racing also enters with a Ferrari 458.
Between the group of Asian-based teams, an European squad attracts attention, as the ARC Bratislava squad, which was common entrant in the Le Mans Series, 24 Hours of Le Mans, FIA GT and Blancpain Endurance Series, fields na Audi R8 LMS for driver-boss Miroslav Konopka alongside multitask-driver Pierre Kaffer.
The field will be completed by the GT-Am class KCMG Porsche Cup car, with team boss Paul Ip confirmed as a driver.
The 2 Hours of Fuji, which will share track time with the 6 Hours of Fuji, sixth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, will receive the green flag on October 10th. The complete entry list can be seen here.
PHOTOS: Asian Le Mans Series, Eurasia Motorsport, AAI Motorsports