The Asian Le Mans Series is finally showing signs that it can follow the path of the European Le Mans Series, as awful car counts were subbed by year-by-year growing. The 2016/2017 season has everything to be way more exciting than the past one, with 31 cars registered for the whole season and high quality present in every class, thanks to the efforts of ACO once they got direct control over the series management.
The LMP2 class comes with the same 4 car grid from the final half of the last season, with all contenders but Eurasia Motorsport returning to action. Race Performance keeps the ORECA 03-Judd package with them with a different lineup and DC Racing joins the LMP2 class with a Nissan-powered ORECA 03, while Algarve Pro Racing promises a pair of Ligier JS P2 models to try to be competitive.
The LMP3 had the most interesting growing to see like it was in ELMS, with the three car grid from 2015/2016 growing to 10 entries for the upcoming season, spread between three brands. DC Racing returns to defend their class title in their reliable Ligier JS P3 while Asian Le Mans Sprint frontrunners from WinEurasia may be put as their main opposition. Also joining from the ALMSC field are ARC Bratislava with a pair of Ginettas, PS Racing as the sole ADESS 03 user and PRT Racing in another Ginetta. Aylezo Racing exchanges the CN class for a Ginetta LMP3 while SPV Racing, FRD Racing Team and G-Print by Triple 1 Racing are the series newcomers.
At the moment the CN class counts with a single Ligier JS53 for PS Racing instead of the Wolf GB08 seen last season, although this effort evolve into an LMP3 entry later in the season, depending of the plans of the Finnish team.
The GT class continues with its impressive numbers, going from 12 to 16 full season cars between eight GT3 brands. The immediate highlight here is Clearwater Racing, fourth place finishers in the LMGTE-Am class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, returning with a Ferrari 488 GT3 instead of the McLaren 650 GT3, way more closer to a GTE machinery since the GTE-Am class will move to the current GTE package next year.
Also the GT Asia stalwarts are present, with Absolute Racing coming with a pair of Bentley Continental GT3 machines, FFF Racing by ACM joining with a Lamborghini Huracán GT3 after spending some time in the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup in Europe, and the four car armada from Team AAI, with two McLaren 650S GT3 along with a new BMW M6 GT3 and a Mercedes AMG GT3. Also worth notice is Team BBT coming in with their Ferrari 488 GT3 while KCMG steps up from GT-Am to GT with a single Audi R8 LMS GT3.
Taking KCMG’s place in the GT Cup class will be the GT Cup Asian Le Mans Sprint champions from Team NZ, featuring a Porsche GT3 Cup car.
The season starts on October 30th with the 4 Hours of Zhuhai, marking the Asian LMS return to China after a single season break.
PHOTOS: Asian Le Mans Series, BuddyClub International, Clearwater Racing