Jackie Chan DC Racing is working on returning to the Asian Le Mans Series, potentially with a two-car prototype effort for the 2017/2018 season that would include an Oreca 05 entry in LMP2.
The recently crowned 24 Hours of Le Mans class-winning squad, which currently leads the LMP2 standings in the FIA World Endurance Championship, could contest the 2017/2018 season with the continued support of Jota Sport, according to team co-owner David Cheng.
“We’re really trying to put together the core side of the Asian team. Asian Le Mans is definitely on our radar for this season but it has to fit in how the team develops as well,” Cheng told Sportscar365.
“We of course want to have crossover with the [WEC] program, and from Jota’s side, they’re quite interested in coming over and exploring Asia with some of their guys as well. It’s the perfect platform for that.”
Three-time Asian Le Mans class champion Cheng, who has contested every season of the series since 2013, said the focus would be on LMP2, after entering both an Oreca 03R Nissan and Ligier JS P3 Nissan last season.
The Chinese owner/driver, however, would also not rule out a LMP3 entry if the right deal came together.
“The focus, if we do it, would be on P2,” Cheng said. “We do have a P3 car available and there’s a lot of prospective drivers as well. We’d run the P3 program as long as it doesn’t detract from a more focused P2 program.
“Last year we did a good job but there were hiccups along the way, some with mechanical reliability and things like that.
“I think for this year, if we did it, we need to make sure it’s a strong effort. We have to be really focused and make sure we can’t bite off too much than we can chew.”
With new-generation LMP2 cars not permitted in the series until the 2020/2021 season, Cheng said they would likely need to acquire an Oreca 05, which is currently in high demand, as nearly all of the cars have already been upgraded to Oreca 07 specifications.
ORECA technical director David Floury, however, has revealed they do have enough parts to still build brand-new Oreca 05s, if needed.
“It’s a possibility,” Floury told Sportscar365. “And the teams that buy an [Oreca] 05 to race in Asia can still convert it [to an Oreca 07 in the future].”
With a LMP2 program for next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona and Twelve Hours of Sebring also under consideration, it could result in a busy winter for the Chinese-backed, British-run team.
Cheng stressed that any supplementary program, however, cannot detract from their primary focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship.
“It’s a huge jigsaw puzzle,” he said. “Does it all fit together? We think so, but until we know for sure, we really can’t pull triggers.”