With a provisional entry list that must surely delight series organisers the Automobile Club De L’Ouest, 33 cars will take to the grid for the first round of the 2016/17 Asian Le Mans when the season opens in Zhuhai, China.
The biggest growth has been seen in the LMP3 class where 11 cars will compete for the coveted invitation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Four cars are entered in the LMP2 class. Algarve Pro Racing is entering a pair of Ligier JS P2s, one Judd-powered to be driven by Matthew McMurry and Tacksung Kim and Nicky Catsburg. Its Nissan-powered entry, the #25 car, will be driven by Michael Munnemann, Andrea Pizzitola and Andrea Rode. Two ORECA 03Rs are entered. Race Performance has entered its Judd-powered #8 with a driver line-up of Giorgio Maggi, Struan Moore and Denis Lian. New entrant Jackie Chan DC Racing has entered its Nissan-powered example, to be piloted by Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent.
The whopping 11-car grid in LMP3 comprises 6 Ligier JS P3s, 4 Ginetta LMP3s and an ADESS 03. Ligier JS P3s are entered by Jackie Chan DC racing with David Cheng as the sole declared driver to date, SPV Racing with Borja Garcia and Ashraff Dewal sharing the driving duties, FRD Racing Team with Duncan Ende driving, Tockwith Motorsports with Nigel Moore and Phil Hanson driving, G-Print by Triple 1 Racing with Hanss Lin driving and Wineurasia with William Lok as the sole declared driver so far.
ARC Bratislava is bringing a pair of Ginetta LMP3s. Miro Konopka, Darren Burke and Mike Simpson are sharing the driving duties in the #4 car while Zdeno Mikulasko is the sole declared driver in the #7. PRT Racing has also entered a Ginetta LMP3 with Ate De Jong and Charlie Robertson as the only declared drivers to date. As previously reported by EnduranceandGT.co.uk, Aylezo Ecotint Racing has entered a Ginetta LMP3 where team owner Zen Low is the sole declared driver to date.
PS Racing is the lone ADESS 03 entrant, the #48 car to be piloted by Philippe Joseph Pierre Prette, Angelo Negro and Louis Prette.
PS Racing is the sole entrant in the CN class with a Ligier JS53 entered for Iori Kimura to drive.
15 cars are provisionally entered in the GT class. Ferrari is represented by five F488 GT3s. DH racing is entering the #3 car, to be driven by Rino Mastronardi. Alex Riberas and Olivier Beretta, with its #5 car to be piloted by Stephane Lemeret, Michele Rugelo and Matthieu Vaxiviere.
Team BBT brings its #37 F488 GT3. Anthony Liu, Davide Rizzo and Alessandro Pierluigi will drive. Spirit of Race has entered its #38 F488 GT3, the car to be driven by Masrat Muzayyin, Rui Aguas and Marco Cioci.
2015/16 Teams Champion Clearwater Racing returns with an F488 GT3, the #61 car to be driven by Mok Weng Sun, Keita Sawa and Matt Griffin.
Three examples of Audi R8s will be on the grid. Absolute Racing has entered its R8 GT3 with a driver line-up of Cheng Congfu and Sun Jingzu currently declared. KCMG is bringing its Audi R8 LMS Ultra with an all-Japanese driver line-up of Go Max, Toru Tanaka and Tetsuya Tanaka. Finally, TianShi Racing team has entered its Audi R8 Ultra GT3 with a multi-national driver-line-up of Peng Liu (CHN), Wiser Massimilano (ITA) and Christopher Haase (GER().
Two Lamborghini Huracán GT3s will be at the opening round. VS Racing has entered the #6 car with drivers to be announced. FFF Racing by ACM has entered its #10 Huracán GT3, a season-long regular in the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup.
Three McLaren 650S GT3 make the grid with OD Racing entering the #86 in GT Cup and Team AAI entering the #91 and #93 cars.
Absolute Racing has entered its Bentley Continental GT3, the #88, with Adderley Fong as the current sole declared driver. Team AAI has added to its GT entries with its BMW M6 GT3 and Mercedes AMG GT3.
With such a large and diverse grid, the Asian Le Mans Series must surely have “come-of-age” this season and the four-round series will mark the start of an exciting new chapter of growth in sportscar racing in the Asian region. 2016/17 promises to be a fantastic season.
Round One of the 2016/17 Asian Le Mans Series takes place at Zuhai, China on October 28-30.