Jackie Chan DC Racing is set for an expanded effort in the FIA World Endurance Championship, with the Chinese squad confirming two full-season LMP2 entries as part of a new partnership with Jota Sport.
Team owner David Cheng confirmed to Sportscar365 plans of entering a pair of Oreca 07 Gibsons, with the three-time Asian Le Mans Series champion set to pilot the No. 37 Oreca, and countryman Ho-Pin Tung in the No. 38 car.
Cheng said the remainder of the lineups is currently yet to be announced.
“We’re finalizing everything right now, with driver lineups and everything like that,” Cheng told Sportscar365.
After a season under the Alpine banner, the biggest change will come on the operations side, in a link-up with Jota, which had run the G-Drive Racing effort last year.
“I’ve already got a very good feeling that I and our partners will enjoy racing alongside Sam Hignett, David Clark and all the team at Jota Sport,” Cheng said.
“I think with the knowledge that we gathered last season in the WEC and the great results we enjoyed in the Asian Le Mans Series allied to the experience of Jota Sport will be a very potent combination this season.
“We will be aiming to grow the Chinese team further and ensure that it remains a force in international endurance racing for many years to come.”
Discussions between the two teams began in the middle of last year, prior to Romain Rusinov’s eventual move to TDS Racing.
“This new alliance will ensure we can carry the momentum that both squads had from 2016 in to the current campaign and continue the winning ways which saw such a successful end to last season,” Jota Sport team director Sam Hignett said.
“Jota Sport has a proud history as a winning endurance racing entity, but we also have a very strong heritage of working with other ambitious teams and partners.
“I am delighted to be working with Jackie Chan DC Racing this season and am confident we can taste considerable success together.”
Cheng said a number of Chinese crew will be integrated into the British-based squad.
“From our Jackie Chan DC Racing side, we’re increasing our effort in the hands-on stuff on the team and technical side,” he said.
“It’s not purely just someone else doing everything for us. It will still be a cooperation but we’ll be a lot more involved next year.
“As a team, I think it’s another step at growing, especially at the WEC level. It’s a difficult championship as it is if you come in completely fresh. It takes a lot of teething.”
With the arrival of Rebellion Racing into the new-look LMP2 class, Cheng is expecting the fight for the championship to be as strong as ever, despite the majority of teams opting for Oreca machinery.
“In some ways, Rebellion has raised the level of drivers as well again,” he said. “Their lineup looks very strong.
“But to be honest, I think we have a lineup that can really compete with them. For us, this is a full-fledged effort. We’re leaving nothing on the table.”
It’s unclear if Signatech Alpine, which operated the DC Racing entry of Cheng, Tung and Paul-Loup Chatin last year, will continue with two cars, although the team has already re-signed Nicolas Lapierre as part of its WEC title defense.
Gustavo Menezes, who was upgraded from Silver to Gold rating following the championship season, and drove for DC Racing in the 2016-17 Asian LMS season, is understood to likely be returning to Alpine this year.