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Asian Le Mans Series

Algarve Pro Locks In Second LMP2 Lineup

Asian LMS champion Algarve Pro confirms second LMP2 entry; D’station back in GT…

Photo: MPS Agency

Algarve Pro Racing has confirmed a second LMP2 entry for the 2021 Asian Le Mans Series taking place in February.

The Portugal-based team last week announced plans to pursue a defense of its 2019-20 Asian LMP2 title with the confirmation of an Oreca 07 Gibson to be driven by John Falb and open-wheel racers Rui Andrade and Franco Colapinto.

Algarve Pro has since added a second LMP2 effort involving Ferdinand Habsburg, Rene Binder and reigning Euroformula Open champion Ye Yifei.

Habsburg raced in the DTM this year for Audi customer squad Team WRT and finished 10th in the drivers’ standings as the highest-placed competitor from a privateer squad.

The Austrian driver, who also represented Audi in the Total 24 Hours of Spa, has one prior LMP2 start driving a Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca in the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’ve always loved racing outside of Europe a lot, just because you always learn something new about a different culture or racing culture,” said Habsburg.

“Going with Algarve Pro Racing to the Middle East to race in the 2021 Asian Le Mans Series will be a new adventure, and it’s something I am super excited about.”

Yifei is the only member of the driver lineup without prior experience in sports cars.

The 20-year-old Chinese racer was previously a member of the Renault Sport Academy and contested the 2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship before moving to Euroformula Open which he dominated with 11 victories.

“I’m really excited for the challenge that lies ahead,” said Yifei, who was also a member of the Rebellion-Williams LMP2 esports squad for the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

“I have quite a lot of single-seater experience and success, but the Asian Le Mans Series will provide a few new elements that I will have to get a handle on in order to be competitive.

“LMP2 cars are bigger and heavier than the junior open-wheelers I’m used to and the multi-class racing structure places far more emphasis on tire and traffic management, so there will be a lot to learn.”

Binder carries the most LMP2 experience into Algarve Pro’s lineup, with seasons under his belt in the European Le Mans Series for Inter Europol Competition and Panis-Barthez.

However, the Austrian’s outings in the category have only come in the Ligier JS P217 Gibson, rather than the Oreca chassis that he is due to share with Habsburg and Yifei.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to join Algarve Pro Racing, and I’m excited about competing in the Asian Le Mans Series for the first time,” commented Binder.

“To be able to work with one of the best teams and one of the best engineers in LMP2 is very special for me and I can’t wait for testing to begin at Yas Marina in early February.”

D’station Returns to GT Ranks

Aston Martin outfit D’station Racing has also confirmed its presence on next season’s Asian Le Mans Series grid.

The Japanese team, which finished sixth in the 2019-20 standings and won at Shanghai, will field an Aston Martin Vantage GT3 for Tomonobu Fujii, Satoshi Hoshino and Tom Gamble with technical support from Aston Martin Racing.

Fujii and Hoshino represented D’station last season while BRDC SuperStars member Gamble joined them for the season-ending 4 Hours of Buriram when Ross Gunn was unavailable due to clashing commitments in the FIA World Endurance 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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