FIA World Endurance Championship team DC Racing is set to move to the LMP2 class in the 2016/2017 Asian Le Mans Series, potentially with its Oreca 05 Nissan, as part of a ramped up effort for the Chinese squad.
Team owner/driver David Cheng confirmed to Sportscar365 plans to graduate to the LMP2 ranks, after claiming the inaugural LMP3 title with longtime co-driver Ho-Pin Tung and young Frenchman Thomas Laurent in the 2015/2016 season.
Cheng said the plan would be to retain the same driver lineup, but in a new car, although there’s currently one piece of the puzzle that’s still being determined.
“For me an Ho-Pin as well, we’ve done the last three years [in Asian Le Mans Series] and won the last three titles,” Cheng told Sportscar365.
“In some sense for us, there’s no point in going back to LMP3. It will be great to run in the winter and keep us sharp. Asia is important for us and our partners.
“The biggest headache right now is the first race. I think for everyone, just for car availability and spare parts as well. It’s trying to jump-start something.”
With the season-opener in Zhuhai one week after the European Le Mans Series finale, and two races prior to the end of the FIA World Endurance Championship season, Cheng is currently searching for a car to use for the first race.
He said they’ve looked at Signatech’s Alpine A450b Nissan that was run in the WEC last year, but is short on spare parts and would be expensive to ship over for just one race.
Signatech, meanwhile, has a spare Oreca 05 chassis that could be built up into an additional car but Cheng said it would break the WEC’s carnet associated with that chassis.
“We’re definitely trying,” he said. “We’re going to have to pull the trigger on something by the end of this weekend, otherwise there’s just not enough time.”
Cheng said the 2015/2016 Asian LMS effort will likely feature a mix of existing personnel from the Signatech-run WEC team, as well as Asian-based crew they will be building up on their own.
The team also plans to campaign its 2015 LMP3 title-winning Ligier JS P3, but with a yet-to-be-determined driver lineup.
Cheng, meanwhile, confirmed intentions of returning to the WEC next year, although with details still to-be-determined.
The U.S.-based Chinese driver has teamed with Tung and Panciatici in the Baxi DC Racing Alpine A460 Nissan and head into this weekend’s fifth round of the WEC season in Mexico City.
“The only thing I know for sure is that this team, DC Racing, will be back in WEC,” Cheng said. “Exactly how we’re going to do it, we’ll spend the next few months figuring it out.”