Absolute Racing will expand into the prototype ranks next year, with a planned end-of-season run in the 2016/2017 Asian Le Mans Series and a full-season program in the 2017 Asian Le Mans Series Sprint Cup with its newly purchased Ligier JS P3. (En Français)
“We have drivers interested in the LMP3 product,” team director Fabien Fior told Endurance-Info. “Everyone’s seen the performance of the Ligier JS P3. Our interested customers come from GT and single-seaters.
“For us, it’s a new challenge. More and more young Asian drivers want to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Le Mans is still the most representative race with a very strong worldwide image.”
The Chinese squad, co-owned by Fior and fellow expat Ingo Matter, have become one of the leading GT outfits in Asia, and recently expanded operations to the U.S. in Pirelli World Challenge, in partnership with Bentley.
It already fields a Continental GT3 and Audi R8 LMS in Asian LMS, with the goal of adding a second Bentley beginning with the Fuji round in December.
With a nine-car LMP3 grid in last weekend’s season-opener in Zhuhai, Fior is optimistic about the growth of the entry level prototype class on the continent.
”Before LMP3, there was no alternative,” he said. “In Asia, we must bring the culture of the prototype…. I’m convinced that the market will expand in Asia without ending GT.
“Something was missing in the endurance platform. This is an additional option for young people in Asia… The cost of LMP3 will also push gentlemen to take the plunge.”
Drivers for the targeted end-of-season effort have yet to be announced.