***The Asian Le Mans Series returns for the second round of the 2016-17 season with a 27-strong entry list made up of LMP2, LMP3, GT3 and GT Cup machinery. This is more than double the entry from last season’s Fuji round, in which only 13 cars took part.
***Asian LMS is not the only series on the program this weekend in Fuji. The Inter Proto Series is also in action with some famous drivers amongst the ranks, including the likes of Tsugio Matsuda, Ronnie Quintarelli, Kohei Hirate and Daiki Sasaki.
***The Four Hours of Fuji will start at 12:15 p.m. local time on Sunday (10:15 p.m. Saturday ET) and can be streamed on the series’ YouTube channel.
***The minimum refuelling time in the LMP3 category has been set at 149 seconds, with at least three stops to be made during the four-hour race.
***Algarve Pro Racing has a new sponsor in energy drink brand Extreme. The Portuguese team hopes to continue this collaboration while competing in the European Le Mans Series in 2017.
***United Autosports team manager Max Gregory is at Fuji working as a strategist for Tockwith Motorsports. The British team took LMP3 pole position with drivers Philip Hanson and Nigel Moore.
***While Amato Ferrari was present at Fuji on Friday, the AF Corse boss has now left Japan to head to the Ferrari Finali Mondiali at Daytona International Speedway.
***Shaun Thong completes the G-Print by Triple 1 Racing lineup in the No. 85 Ligier JS P3 Nissan, joining Hanss Lin and Julio Acosta.
***OD Racing has a new trio in its McLaren 650S GT3 this weekend, with Fairuz Fauzy and Jono Lester joined by Philippe Descombes. The Frenchman raced with Wineurasia in LMP3 for the season-opener at Zhuhai.
***FFF Racing Team by ACM received its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 on Wednesday from Macau. The chassis it is racing at Fuji is the car driven by Mirko Bortolotti at the FIA GT World Cup. As for next year, the team still intends to compete in International GT Open with a Lamborghini.
***VS Racing is undertaking a double program this weekend. Alongside its commitment in Asian Le Mans Series with a Lamborghini Huracan GT3, the Italian team is also present in Valencia for the Lamborghini Super Trofeo world final.
***Aylezo Ecotint Racing is expected to add a second Ginetta Nissan LMP3 for the Thai round. Riki Christodoulou, cousin of reigning Nürburgring 24 champion Adam, has joined the lineup this weekend in the existing car alongside Zen Low and Weiron Tan.
***FRD Motorsports team boss Kenneth Ma is set to organize an LMP3 championship in 2017, called the FRD LMP3 Series. Ma has already received his first Ligier JS P3. More details are expected to be announced soon.
***Onroak Automotive is continuing to build Ligier JS P3s, and it is expected that the 100th example of the popular LMP3 chassis will be built by spring.
***While Absolute Racing has pulled out of the Fuji race due to logistical reasons after the FIA GT World Cup at Macau two weeks ago, the team is expected to return to Asian Le Mans Series action next month at Buriram, Thailand. Its multi-car lineup should include its new Ligier JS P3 Nissan.
***The Audi R8 LMS run by Team Audi Korea sports a new livery at Fuji. Kyong Ouk You, Marchy Lee and Alex Yoong will share the No. 31 Audi this weekend.
***Takuma Aoki makes his series debut this weekend in the sole GT Cup entry, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup run by TKS. The ex-Grand Prix motorcycle racer was paralyzed in both legs following a motorcycle accident in 1998. Amongst his previous successes includes fifth place in the championship of the top tier of Grand Prix motorcycle racing in 1997 with Repsol Honda.
***Paddock rumors suggest that KCMG and Race Performance are amongst the teams interested in the Dallara LMP2 chassis for 2017, which is eligible for European Le Mans Series and FIA World Endurnce Chamopnship competition. New-generation LMP2 cars are not allowed in the Asian LMS.
***Mazda is hosting a festival this weekend in Okayama, with several cars including a Mazda Prototype that raced in this season’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and a 787B. Next week, the NISMO festival will be at Fuji, and is expected to host several Nissan drivers including Tsugio Matsuda, Ronnie Quintarelli, Jann Mardenborough, Michael Krumm and others.
Laurent Mercier contributed to this report