The Asian Le Mans Series has revealed its full entry list with driver lineups for the 2023 season, which kicks off with a doubleheader at Dubai Autodrome this weekend.
Ex-Formula 1 driver Nikita Mazepin will make his LMP2 debut with the newly-formed 99 Racing team, sharing the No. 98 Oreca 07 Gibson with 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Neel Jani and former World Touring Car Championship racer Felix Porteiro.
Russian driver Mazepin stepped back from racing 11 months ago when the Haas team terminated his F1 contract, along with the title sponsorship agreement of the company owned by his father, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The 23-year-old has never competed in sports cars, with all of his prior circuit racing coming in single-seaters.
Lexus factory driver Ben Barnicoat was originally set to be part of the 99 Racing squad but he has been replaced by Jani, who is also racing in the European Le Mans Series.
Elsewhere, reigning ELMS Pro-Am champions Salih Yoluc and Charlie Eastwood will drive for DKR Engineering, teaming up with Ayhancan Guven in the No. 3 Oreca.
United Autosports is running a pair of cars in LMP2 with Peugeot Hypercar driver Paul Di Resta and last year’s IMSA DPi champion Oliver Jarvis both involved.
Rolex 24 at Daytona LMP2 class winner James Allen will link up with Kyffin Simpson and John Falb at Algarve Pro Racing.
Nielsen Racing, Inter Europol Competition, Cool Racing and ARC Bratislava are also competing in the nine-car LMP2 category, which requires each lineup to include a Bronze-rated driver.
The Bronze mandate also applies to the LMP3 and GT classes, and all Bronze drivers in the field will be required to qualify for the four races that make up the season.
A total of 24 GT3 cars are entered, with several brand factory drivers set to compete.
Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup champions Jules Gounon and Raffaele Marciello are representing Mercedes-AMG teams HubAuto Racing and GetSpeed Performance respectively.
Gounon’s fellow Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour winner Luca Stolz is with Haupt Racing Team, which like GetSpeed is running a pair of Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos.
Nicklas Nielsen and Miguel Molina, who will drive for Ferrari in the FIA World Endurance Championship Hypercar class this year, are listed in Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020s from AF Corse and Formula Racing.
Peugeot Hypercar driver Mikkel Jensen is part of the Car Guy Ferrari squad, while IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD Pro competitors Ross Gunn and Klaus Bachler are with TF Sport and Herberth Motorsport.
The LMP3 class includes several new and returning names. Defending champion CD Sport has retained two of last season’s runners-up Michael Jensen and Nick Adcock, but has also added four drivers to its ranks including an all-new No. 2 crew of Vladislav Lomko, James Sweetnam and Fabien Michal.
Corvette Racing WEC driver Nico Varrone has joined WTM by Rinaldi Racing and will partner with the team’s continuing duo of Torsten Kratz and Leo Weiss.
American racer Bijoy Garg is making his Asian LMS debut with RLR MSport after three seasons in USF2000, along with compatriot Wyatt Brichacek who has joined Inter Europol Competition after a stint in the Indy Pro 2000 Championship.
The opening four-hour race in Dubai takes place at 3 p.m. GST (6 a.m. ET) on Saturday. The second race of the doubleheader event is scheduled for the same time on Sunday.