This weekend’s Asian Le Mans Series season-opener at Fuji Speedway marks a number of firsts, but none more for David Cheng, who is debuting his new DC Racing team in the maiden outing for the Ligier JS P3.
The two-time and defending series champion has lined up alongside countryman Ho-Pin Tung in Onroak Automotive’s new LMP3 car, which along with the ADESS-03 makes its competition debuts in Saturday’s two-hour race.
“Onroak Automotive and Ligier have done a really good job to put out this car,” Cheng told Sportscar365.
“What we’ve seen lately in the ELMS, even this far into the season, the Ginettas sometime struggle. AAI is here this weekend and their car has been on and off.
“We took delivery of our car on Sept. 20. We did one day of shakedown and had a few little problems early in the day. But after that, it just was running like clockwork.”
The Chinese squad, which is receiving technical assistance from Eurasia Motorsport, arrived in Japan this week with limited running time, with Tung only getting his first laps in the car this morning.
Both Cheng and Tung, however, boast previous race experience in the JS P3’s big brother, the Ligier JS P2, which has made for an easier transition for both drivers.
“While the LMP2 car is a fantastic car to drive, the LMP3 offers very nice settings,” Tung told Sportscar365. “Suspension-wise, it’s quite different. Of course, there’s a slightly different downforce setting. We have no TC.
“In many ways, you can feel it’s more of a junior version of the LMP2 but you can feel it’s a product that’s inspired by the JS P2.
“That’s also proven by that it’s quite competitive in terms of lap times.”
Tung posted the third quickest overall time on Friday, within three seconds of the pace-setting LMP2 car, which Cheng says is promising heading into his team and the car’s maiden race.
“We get to this weekend and we’ve had no mechanical problems so far,” Cheng said. “Everything is just finding the setup that we need for this car.
“Onroak has sent their guys over to support us. The Eurasia crew has done a really good job to set up this car. Ho-Pin has been really helpful, along with myself, to find the setup.
“It’s a new car and it’s going to have a lot to work with. But for the debut of a brand-new car in its first race, I’d say it’s going way smoother than any of us would expect.”