After fielding three cars in last week’s season-ending Three Hours of Sepang, Craft Racing is set for an expansion in next year’s Asian Le Mans Series, with plans also being put in place for a run at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Asian-based squad, led by team principal Mark Goddard, made its prototype debut in Malaysia, which saw Craft run Murphy Prototypes’ Oreca 03 Nissan in conjunction with the Irish squad.
Craft also fielded two Aston Martin Vantage GT3s in the GTC category for the first time. A third place finish in class for the No. 007 entry of Stefan Mucke and Keita Sawa was enough to clinch second place in the teams’ championship, and an automatic invite to Le Mans.
“Our main focus [in Asian LMS] will be Aston Martin and the GT class but we also obviously have an interest in LMP,” Goddard told Sportscar365. “We’re quite excited about LMP3, or CN as it will be called next year.
“We fully intend to enter some cars in the CN class. We would very much like to have a LMP2 car. Obviously the budget is quite high but [Sepang] has been a toe-in-the-water experience.”
Goddard said they already have one Aston Martin confirmed for next year, with a second full-season entry likely. The team could be fielding entries in all three classes, if programs targeted for LMP2 and the new-for-2014 CN class materialize.
As for its Le Mans entry, which is eligible for use in the GTE-Am class, Goddard said they will run a leased Aston Martin Vantage V8 crewed by its Asian-based mechanics, in the spirit of the auto invite.
“Scoring an early invitation allows us time to prepare properly for the race in June and we can begin organizing the logistics, sponsors and the driver line-ups for the race,” he said. “It will be a big challenge ahead but we have worked hard for many years to achieve this and we are ready for the task.”
Goddard, a U.K. native who has spent the last 20 years in Asia, is fully committed to seeing the Asian Le Mans Series grow in the years to come.
“The Asian Le Mans Series, I think, is a very well promoted, high level series,” he said. “When I first came out to Asia in 1994, we thought within five or six years, [motorsport] was going to be huge. It hasn’t quite worked out that way.
“But particularly in the last four or five years, you can see that it’s now really beginning to grow, in China as well. I think the potential for the future is extremely good for Asian motorsport. Now is the right time to be part of it.”