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Asian Le Mans Series Entry News Roundup

Asian LMS entry list expands as new and returning teams announce 2019-20 programs…

Photo: Super GT

Experienced Lamborghini Squad Joins

Long-time Lamborghini outfit Team JLOC recently announced that it will expand its operations into the Asian Le Mans Series with a single-car entry in the GT3 class.

The former Le Mans entrant will run a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo in the four-event series, which kicks off at Shanghai International Circuit on Nov. 24.

The car will be driven by Yuya Motojima and Andre Couto – who raced for the team in Super GT this year – and Yusaku Shibata.

JLOC is set to become the first team to run a Lamborghini in Asian LMS since the 2016-17 season and will also be the first to utilize the Evo version of the Huracan GT3.

Ex-F1 Driver Merhi Joins Eurasia

Former Manor Marussia Formula 1 driver Roberto Merhi will make his return to prototype racing in Asian LMS after signing a 2019-20 deal with Eurasia Motorsport.

Merhi, 28, last raced an LMP2 in 2017 when he contested a round of the FIA World Endurance Championship with the Manor-run CEFC TRSM Racing squad.

The Spaniard will partner Australians Nick Foster and Aidan Reed in Eurasia’s No. 36 Ligier JS P217 Gibson for his first season in Asian sports car competition.

Merhi’s last professional outing was in the FIA Formula 2 Championship last year.

GT300 Team Bolsters LMP2 Grid

Super GT outfit K2 R&D has added a program in the LMP2 category to its stable and will enter the Asian LMS as K2 Uchino Racing.

The Japanese team has been a regular in Super GT’s GT300 class for several years and ran a Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the recently-concluded 2019 season.

Its LMP2 car will be driven by last year’s GT300 champion Haruki Kurosawa and Cantonese racer Shaun Thong who contested the 2019 season in a GT3 Nissan.

Photo: T2 Motorsports

Indonesian Squad Pushing Toward Le Mans Goal

Another new team joining the Asian LMS grid is Indonesian GT squad T2 Motorsports.

Its Ferrari 488 GT3 will be driven by David Tjiptobiantoro, Italy’s Christian Colombo and ex-Formula 1 driver Rio Haryanto.

T2 Motorsports ran both Haryanto and Tjiptobiantoro in SRO GT World Challenge Asia this year, while Colombo raced for the team in the 2016 Sepang 12 Hours.

The Italian driver also finished second to double DTM champion Gary Paffett in the 2000 British Formula 3 scholarship class.

Haryanto, meanwhile, is set for his first foray into endurance racing after making the switch to sports cars this year in SRO’s GT World Challenge sprint format.

Inter Europol Firms Up LMP2 Drivers

Reigning LMP3 champion Inter Europol Competition has signed Mathias Beche and James Winslow for its campaign in the LMP2 class with a Ligier JS P217 Gibson.

Former Rebellion Racing LMP1 driver Beche is set for his first Asian LMS start since 2014, when he drove a car in the CN class, while Winslow will continue his association with the Polish team after coming in as a late 24 Hours of Le Mans sub for the injured Leo Roussel earlier this year.

The pair will line up alongside Inter Europol regular Jakub Smiechowski in one of two confirmed entries for the team.

Photo: BMW

DTM Driver Eriksson Headlines AAI Lineup

BMW Motorsport driver Joel Eriksson will lead FIST-Team AAI’s driver lineup as part of the Taiwanese squad’s return to Asian LMS competition.

The Swedish driver, who is also representing AAI in the FIA GT World Cup this weekend, will share a BMW M6 GT3 with team owner Jan Sun Chen and Hongli Ye.

Eriksson also made a one-off appearance for the team in the China GT round at Shanghai last month and is now set for his first full campaign in GT3 racing.

Chen said: “After our previous six years racing with Asian Le Mans Series since 2013 and being absent from last season, FIST-Team AAI is delighted to be back with Asian Le Mans Series for the seventh year.

Graff Locks in One of its LMP3 Crews

European Le Mans Series regular Graff has confirmed one of its two crews for its first season in the Asian prototype ranks.

Eric Trouillet, David Droux and Sebastien Page are set to co-drive one of the French outfit’s Norma M30 Nissans.

Trouillet contested this year’s Michelin Le Mans Cup LMP3 series with Graff while Swiss driver Page has also represented the team in the past.

Droux, meanwhile, has driven for Duqueine Engineering, M Racing and Realteam Racing in the last three editions of the ELMS LMP3 championship.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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