Asian Le Mans Series regulars Clearwater Racing has applied for a full-season entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship to race a Ferrari 488 GTE in the GTE-Am category, it was announced on Saturday.
The Singaporean team came fourth in class in last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, but has elected to enter the full WEC championship in 2017, becoming the first Southeast Asian team to do so.
Clearwater’s current driver lineup in the Asian Le Mans Series of Keita Sawa, Mok Weng Sun and Matt Griffin will race the 488 GTE, which will be dressed in a similar livery to its current car.
The program will be run by AF Corse, which operated the team’s one-off Le Mans entry last year, secured by winning the 2015-2016 Asian Le Mans Series.
“We’ve been thinking about this for a while, but it’s a big commitment, financially as well as time wise,” said team principal and driver Mok Weng Sun.
“I’ve been waving back and forth on the idea, and then this weekend I just had a good chat with the team and said ‘Let’s go do it.’
“I was actually planning on retiring from racing after this season in the Asian Le Mans Series; I’ve been doing it for 11 years and I’ll be turning 50 next year, so I thought I’d wind it back.
“But the lure of being able to race in the premier GT championship in the world was just too much of a lure, and of course I want to go back to Le Mans, and so to have a guaranteed entry as well as the ability to race on the greatest circuits on the planet with top rated teams, I just said – Let’s go do it!”
Added Asian Le Mans Series managing director Cyrille Taesch Wahlen: “It’s great to see one of our teams taking the next step on the endurance racing ladder.
“It goes to show that the Asian Le Mans Series is doing what it set out to do, which is to give teams the opportunity to work their way up to competing in a World Championship.”
Teams have until Jan. 24 to submit entry requests for the WEC and Le Mans, with the entry lists to be announced on Feb. 2.