This weekend’s Six Hours of Shanghai sees a revitalized LMP2 grid, with the arrival of the pair of Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03bs, as well as OAK Racing’s Morgan-Judd, which makes its second consecutive FIA WEC start.
While the pink and black-liveried entry scored a podium finish last time out in Fuji, it’s arrived in Shanghai with an all-new driver lineup, with Mark Patterson being joined by the team’s Asian Le Mans Series pilots Ho-Pin Tung and David Cheng.
Despite the Chinese duo have been undefeated in the Asian championship this year, Tung realizes the task at hand this weekend, with going up against the top LMP2 competitors in the world.
“It’s a big challenge for us being in such a competitive field,” Tung said. “It’s the biggest LMP2 field this year, bar Le Mans. For us, the main focus is for us to do our job on the track.
“It will be very difficult of course. We’re talking about world class drivers and teams. At the same time, OAK is a proven combination, not only just this year, but in the past few years. I think they’ve been the benchmark in LMP2.”
There are a number of new dynamics this weekend within the French squad, as Mark Patterson makes his team debut, while Tung and Cheng adapt to Dunlop tires for the first time.
While Tung and Cheng are coming off victory here in Shanghai just three weeks ago, it came on a shortened layout, and with less competition than seen here this weekend.
“It’s quite a different circuit because you miss a lot of the high-speed corners,” Tung said. “It does need a different setup on the car.
“Of course OAK ran here last year with the Morgan, but with the Nissan engine. We’re running the Judd here. We need to make a few tweaks to make it work well for all of us.”
Tung, who made three starts in this year’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship with OAK, is also happy to see the familiar faces of ESM make the trip to China, resulting in a seven-car entry in LMP2.
“It’s great to see ESM racing here as well with two cars,” he said. “I think that gives a lot of [creditability] to the WEC since they’ve been front-runners in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship this year.
“For me personally, I’ve had some very nice battles with ESM and it’s great to continue battling here on our continent in my country.”