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Asian Le Mans Series

Increased 22-Car Grid for Sepang Finale

Two returning cars and an additional Ginetta LMP3 bolster Asian LMS grid for final round…

Photo: MPS Agency

Two returning cars and an additional Ginetta LMP3 have boosted the Asian Le Mans Series grid to 22 entries for this weekend’s season finale at Sepang.

Jackie Chan DC Racing has pledged a single Ligier JS P3 Nissan after only contesting the opening race at Shanghai, while Spirit of Race is back with its LMP2-class Ligier JS P2 Nissan after surrendering its championship lead by missing the recent 4 Hours of Buriram.

A new driver lineup of James Winslow, Jake Parsons and Rick Yoon will race the Jackie Chan team’s Ligier, with the usual crew of Pipo Derani, Come Ledogar and Alexander West confirmed in the Spirit of Race machine.

Derani, Ledogar and West won the opening round of the series but sacrificed their lead by skipping Buriram due to what were described as “family commitments”.

Meanwhile, ARC Bratislava is set to bring Ginetta back into the Asian LMS for the first time since Japanese squad TKS ran the prototype in the 2017 round at Fuji.

Ginetta factory driver Mike Simpson and Australia’s Neale Muston will co-drive the ARC entry.

All the other entries are full-season efforts, although there have been some crew modifications for the final round including three new drivers for the R24 Ligier in LMP3.

Four Titles to be Decided

Paul di Resta and Phil Hanson took full advantage of the Spirit of Race team’s absence in Thailand to take an 18-point lead in the LMP2 standings.

The United Autosports pair dominated the Buriram race with their Ligier JS P2 Nissan and need to finish fifth or better at Sepang to clinch the title and an automatic invitation to this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Their closest rivals are Fuji winners Andrea Pizzitola and Harrison Newey, who share the No. 24 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 Judd with Ate de Jong.

The LMP2 Am Trophy class, which also carries a Le Mans invite, is much closer with ARC Bratislava’s Darren Burke and Kang Ling just nine points ahead of United’s Guy Cosmo, Patrick Byrne and Salih Yoluc.

United Autosports also has a stake in the LMP3 title fight, with its Ligier JS P3 Nissan crew of Garret Grist, Wayne Boyd and Chris Buncombe sitting eight points off the Inter Europol Competition Ligier driven by Jakub Smiechowski and Martin Hippe.

Car Guy Racing’s 100% victory record in the GT class means it only needs to finish, or take pole, to secure the championship and one of the 18 remaining Le Mans entries.

Qualifying for the 4 Hours of Sepang takes place on Friday, Feb. 22 at 3:35 p.m. local time (2:35 a.m. ET, 7:35 a.m. GMT) with streaming available on the Asian Le Mans Series YouTube channel.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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