Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA Wins In Zhuhai (29.10.17)

Photo: asianlemansseries.com

Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA, with its #8 Nissan-powered ORECA 05 driven by Thomas Laurent, Harrison Newey and Stéphane Richelmi, won the opening round of the 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series in dominant fashion.

Pushing the #8 entry hard to the chequered flag was the #37 BBT Ligier JS P2 driven by Davide Rizzo, Anthony Xu and, taking the final stint, Luis ‘Pipo’ Derani.

The final podium spot in the LMP2 class was taken by the #4 ARC Bratislava Ligier JS P2, piloted by Miro Konopka, Konstantins Calko and Rik Breukers.

The five-car LMP3 category, all Ligier JS P3s, was won by the #18 KCMG entry driven by Josh Burdon, Louis Prette and Neric Wei. Second in the LMP2 class was the #11 Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport entry, piloted by Hanss Lin, and Shaun Thong. The final step on the podium was taken by the #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA entry driven by Guy Cosmo and Patrick Byrne.

FIST-Team AAI took a 1-2 in the three-car GT field, the #91 BMW M6 GT3, piloted by Junsan Chen, Jesse Krohn and Chaz Mostert, taking the win, followed 22.214 seconds behind by the sister #90 Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Lam Yu, Ollie Millroy and Rafaelle Marciello.

Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA enjoyed a day of mixed fortunes. After locking out the front row of the grid in qualifying, the second-placed #7 entry, with David Cheng at the wheel for the start, started slowing soon after the lights went out. An electrical problem was diagnosed but the car fell to the back of the class and was retired after completing 41 laps.

The #8 car, meanwhile, dominated the field from pole. Thomas Laurent took the opening stint and was soon opening a gap to the #37 BBT Ligier with Davide Rizzo at the wheel. There was drama, however, for the #8 car after contact with the #66 Tianshi Racing Team Audi R8 LMS, driven by Massimimiliano Wiser, resulted in damage to a legality panel. Although the #8 car was not immediately called in, it was required to replace it at its next pit stop.

The lengthy stop for the #8 car resulted in Harrison Newey, son of Adrian Newey and in his first prototype race, re-joining in sixth position. Newey, however, showed himself as a star of the future, by pushing hard from the start of his stint and retaking the lead at the half-way mark, a position which Richelmi was able to consolidate to the chequered flag.

#18 a.a. 17.10.29

Photo: asianlemansseries.com

Starting from pole position in the LMP3 category, the #18 KCMG Ligier JS P3 fell back to third in class during the first hour but a solid stint from Monégasque Louis Prette, his second drive in prototypes, had the car at the front of the class by the half-way mark. Josh Burden then took the #18 car over to bring it home 58.727 seconds ahead of the #11 Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport entry, piloted by Hanss Lin.

FIST-Team AAI qualified its #90 and #91 entries first and second in class and held that order throughout the first half of the four-hour race. Jesse Krohn, however, took the class lead in the #91 BMW M6 GT43 in the second half aof the race and brought the car home for its first win of the 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series.

The second round of the series will be held at Fuji Speedway, Shizuako Prefecture, Japan on December 1 – 3.

2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series Set For Zhuhai Opener (27.10.17)

The 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series opens at Zhuhai International Circuit in Zhuhai City, Guangdong Province, China on October 27/29 for the 4 Hours of Zhuhai, the first of four rounds which will see the series visit China, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia.

The series was launched in 2013 and the management and promotion of the championship being taken over by the Automobile Club De L’Ouest (ACO) in 2014.

Open to entries from the LMP2, LMP3, GT3 and GT Cup ranks, the series offers the prize of an entry to the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans to the class winners and, as a result, has attracted interest from teams based outside of Asia as a potential doorway to the grid for the world’s premier endurance race.

Continue reading 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series Set For Zhuhai Opener (27.10.17)

British GT Continues With Multi-Class Format / Invites Entries For 2018 Season (25.10.17)

Photo: Jakob Ebrey / BritishGT.com

Series organiser of the British GT Championship, SRO Motorsports, has announced that the multi-class format will continue for the 2018 season and that entries are now being accepted, earlier than in previous years.

SRO had been discussing the idea of splitting the grids for separate GT3 and GT4 races due to the increasing popularity of GT4 machinery. However, after considerable discussion with all the stakeholders, the existing format will remain.

Despite talk over the past two seasons of the demise of the GT3 category in a national series, SRO has reserved 14 of the 34 full-season spaces for entries in the premier class. It has said, however, that this number could be revised either way ahead of the launch of the 2018 season.

Continue reading British GT Continues With Multi-Class Format / Invites Entries For 2018 Season (25.10.17)

Johnston And Farmer Return With TF Sport For 2018 British GT Championship (24.10.17)

Photo: Andy Lloyd

Surrey-based TF Sport has announced that Derek Johnston and Mark Farmer will remain with the team to contest the 2018 British GT Championship.

Johnston, GT3 Drivers Champion in 2016 with team-mate Jonny Adam, finished third in the GT3 drivers standings in 2017 with two wins, at Snetterton and Donington and two further visits to the podium.

Farmer, driving alongside Jon Barnes, finished fourth in the GT3 drivers standings in 2017, enjoying a second-place finish at Donington in the final round and a trio of third places, at Oulton Park, Snetterton and Brands Hatch.

“I’m delighted to be staying in the British GT Championship, TF Sport and the Aston Martin family for the 2018 season”, said Derek Johnston.

“We really smashed it at the end of the year – those final two rounds – so I really want to keep the momentum rolling into next year,” said Mark Farmer. “TF are a top team and I want to change as few parameters as possible and I think that I’m driving better than ever. We didn’t get a win this year but overall it was an excellent season with four podiums and, more importantly, we were always up there demonstrating that we were competitive.”

#11TF a.a. 17.10.24

Photo: Andy Lloyd

“Now I’m looking forward to round one and the season ahead.”

TF Sport Director Tom Ferrier is equally as focused on the coming season.

“It’s great to have them both commit so early for next season,” said Ferrier. “We’ve worked together with considerable success for a number of years now, so I’m really happy to confirm our two-car presence in this especially strong Championship.”

The 2018 British GT Championship opens at Oulton Park on March 31 – April 2.

British GT Champion Rick Parfitt Jnr Wins 2017 Sunoco 240 Challenge (16.10.17)

Rick Parfitt Jnr (left) With Team-Mate Seb Morris (Photo: Jakob Ebrey / BritishGT.com

Rick Parfitt Jnr, team-mate of fellow British GT GT3 drivers champion Seb Morris in the #31 Team Parker Racing Bentley GT3, has won the Sunoco 240 Challenge and with it a fully-funded drive in the 4-hour BMW Endurance Challenge in the build-up to the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

42-year old Parfitt Jnr, who began his racing career in the 2012 Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge, beat Brett Smith of Eurotech Racing by the narrowest of margins. Smith, who took over driving duties in Eurotech’s Honda Civic Type R following injuries to his father at Croft Circuit, finished less than half a point behind the Bentley driver on 96.11 points.

A delighted Parfitt commented on social media:

“Soo happy and excited to have won the Sunoco 240 Challenge! Daytona, here I come! Thank you to all that have supported me.”

Rick Parfitt Jnr joins his team-mate Seb Morris as a recipient of a Sunoco Challenge prize. Morris won the Sunoco Whelen Challenge for the 2016 season and with it a drive in the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Morris finished 14th overall in the #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DP1-V.R he shared with Dane Cameron, Eric Curran and Mike Conway.

The BMW Endurance Challenge takes place on January 26 2018.

ELMS Showdown On The Algarve (16.10.17)

The 2017 European Le Mans Series arrives at Algarve International Circuit, Portimão, Portugal for its sixth and final round on Sunday October 22.

35 cars will take to the grid across the three classes with 12 entries in the premier LMP2 class, 17 in LMP3 and six in the LMGTE category.

In the LMP2 class entry list the sole change for Portimão in comparison to the previous round is that Ricardo Sanchez replaces Jonathan Hirschi in the #39 GRAFF ORECA 07.

In the LMP3 class Timor Boguslavskly is declared as the third driver in the #5 By Speed Factory Ligier JS P3.

Elsewhere in the LMP3 category, Andrea Dromedari moves from the #12 Eurointernational entry to the sister #11 car to partner Giorgio Mondini. James Dayson joins Ricky Capo and Maxwell Hanratty in the #12 entry.

In the #19 M.Racing-YMR Norman M 30 Erwin Creed replaces Neale Muston.

Looking at the LMGTE class, Will Stevens continues in the #66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F488 GT3, driving alongside fellow British drivers Robert Smith and Jody Fannin. Beechdean AMR continues its policy of developing new driver talent with the introduction of Immanuel Vinke to drive the #99 Aston Martin V8 Vantage alongside Andrew Howard and Darren Turner.

LMP2.

The #22 G-Drive Racing ORECA 07, on 98 points, has a 18-point advantage over the second-placed #32 United Autosports Ligier JSP217 in the teams standings. The #22 entry has enjoyed great consistency in 2017 with two victories at Monza and Spa-Francorchamps and a trio of second places at Silverstone, the Red Bull Ring and Le Castellet. Memo Rojas, Ryo Hirakawa and Léo Roussel will be looking forward to a trouble-free run in order to secure the title.

The #32 United Autosports entry has also taken two wins but a disappointing sixth place at Monza and a fifth-place finish at Le Castellet means that William Owen, Hugo de Sadeleer and Filipe Albuquerque will, realistically, need a victory and some luck if they are to finish 2017 as team champions.

Sitting in third place on 61 points in the LMP2 teams championship is the #40 GRAFF ORECA 07 with the driver line-up of James Allen, enjoying his first season in prototypes, Richard Bradley and, for the latter half of the season, Gustavo Yacaman. Victory last time out at Spa-Francorchanos means that, conceivably, the #40 crew could finish the season in second place.

LMP3:

United Autosports is looking to repeat its class championship that it won in 2016 when Alex Brundle, Christian England and Mike Guasch dominated the category.

In 2017 it is again the #2 entry that enters the final round leading the championship. The American driver pairing of John Falb and Sean Rayhall have a 19-point lead over the #18 M.Racing-YMR driven by Alexandre Cougnaud and Antoine Jung.

Falb and Rayhall have emulated Brundle, England and Guasch’s consistency of 2016 with victories at Silverstone and Le Castellet and second-place finishes at the Red Bull Ring and Spa-Francorchamps. The #18 M.Racing-YMR entry has taken three podium positions this season with a second-place finish at Monza and third-place finishes at the Red Bull Ring and Le Castellet. A pair of sixth places however, at Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps, means that the challenge on the Algarve is significant.

LMGTE:

The closest of the three categories, just 17 points separates the top-four in the teams championship with the #90 TF Sport Aston Martin V8 Vantage of Salih Yoluc, Eaun Hankey and Nicki Thiim enjoying a slender one-point advantage at the top of the table over the #66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F488 GT3 of Robert Smith, Jody Fannin and Will Stevens.

2016 saw a disappointing finish to the European Le Mans Series for Colchester-based JMW Motorsport and, after victory at La Sarthe, the team will be looking to close the season in style. TF Sport, meanwhile, with victories at Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps and never having been off the class podium this season, will be full of confidence. It will be fascinating battle.

The lights go out for the Four Hours of Portimão at 13:00 local time on Sunday October 22.