The #1 DC Racing Ligier JSP3 was first to cross the line at the 6th and final race of the 2016 Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup, giving them the team title as well as the LMP3 driver title for Jamie Winslow. The #94 WINEURASIA Ligier JSP3 crossed the line in 2nd, and the #69 Team Aylezo Ginetta LMP3 came third. The CN car, the #68 PS Racing Ligier JS 53 finished 4th overall, and the #77 team NZ Porsche GT3 Cup won the GT Cup class.
Under a sweltering noon-day sun, the race got off to a quick start, with Charlie Robertson at the wheel of the pole sitting #67 PRT Racing Ginetta LMP3 speeding off and creating a wide gap to the rest of the field early on. It was hard going for Neale Muston in the #1 DC Racing Ligier JSP3 and Yoshiharu Mori in the #94 WINEURASIA Ligier JSP3 to keep up, but they kept a good pace, running in 2nd and 3rd. The #67 Ginetta led until the pit stops, where unfortunately, the car overheated and shut down, and the team spent the rest of the race in the pit box.
This left the way open for Jamie Winslow in the #1 DC Racing Ligier JSP3 to take back the lead, which he kept until the chequered flag. The #94 WINEURASIA with Edgar Lau at the wheel tried to make up the gap and take on the leader, but with the heat, it was a lot for the car to handle, so he backed off and brought the car home in a comfortable 2nd. Team Aylezo, with Zen Low and Weiron Tan sharing the wheel, also kept up a good pace to finish third with their #69 Ginetta LMP3, a very good performance for the team’s debut with the car.
“It was a great race today,” said Neale Muston. “It really went to plan. I just had to go out there and drive fast, tuck in behind Charlie and keep him in sight, keep the lap times as low as possible, and I think we did that quite well. The car performed beautifully, thanks to the team. Thanks as well to my fellow competitors. It was a good, clean race and very enjoyable. Thanks a lot to James for the opportunity to come over and partner him. And well done to him for being the champion.”
It was another clean race for the #68 PS Racing Ligier JS 53. They didn’t have the same power today as in yesterday’s race, mainly due to the heat, but Sebastien Mailleux and Iori Kimura managed to bring it home in 4th overall, giving Mailleux the CN Driver title as well as the CN team title for the PS Racing.
“It was much hotter than yesterday,” said Mailloux. “And we had some bad rear tyres, so it was hard to set good times. But we still had a consistent race, we had a good car from PS Racing. Thank you to the team. I think this Sprint Cup has been a good season, a good event. I’m very happy and I’d like to thank the organisers for it and look forward to coming back.”
The #77 Team NZ Porsche GT3 Cup got off to a strong start with John Curran at the wheel, quickly overtaking Anthony Chan in the #28 Team Lotus HK Lotus Evora GTC. By the time the pit window opened, they were leading over their rival by nearly 30 seconds. Once the changeover took place at the pit stop, Dominic Ang in the #28 Lotus Evora GTC managed to catch Team NZ and overtake Graeme Dowsett, before unfortunately going off track and finishing the race stuck in the grass, allowing Dowsett to bring the #77 Team NZ Porsche GT3 Cup home to claim the Team and Driver Titles in the GT Cup Class.
“Thanks again to Asian Le Mans. It’s an awesome series,” said John Curran. “The plan today was just to bring the car home. I was quite fortunate yesterday to secure the win, which led us to bring the car home today. We had some technical issues with the car yesterday, which we thought we’d fixed, but they came back to plague me towards the end of my stint, and I made sure that it would be really bad for Graeme when he got in. It was a good race, and a great series.”
Today’s results means that DC Racing, PS Racing and Team NZ all get free entries to the 2016-2017 season of the Asian Le Mans Series, which starts in Zhuhai, China, at the end of October.
To celebrate the champions and the promising first season of the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup, the organisation put on an awards ceremony at the track on Sunday evening, where the teams received their trophies.
Graeme Dowsett of Team NZ: “Again I’d like to thank the ACO and the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup, the organisers for an excellent job. It’s been very enjoyable and we’ll definitely be back. Concerning the race, as John said, he did hand me a handful of a car. It got worse towards the end and basically it was down to a sticking throttle. I thought I could actually do the slow down lap without touching the throttle. The team did well today. We had a fairly easy plan to achieve, which we did, luckily. Commiserations again to the Lotus team. They certainly put all their heart and effort into it. It’s a shame that the car let them down again. But thank you again and we look forward to the next event of the Asian Le Mans.”
Cyrille Taesch Wahlen had this to say on the result of this first season – “This first season has been quite successful, because we managed to bring a good number of LMP3 cars to the series, all entered by Asian Teams. I think for next year, there might be 2-3 more at least. For a series that was announced in mid-January this year, and that started in May, it’s a good result and looks promising. It also means that the LMP3 car, as a new product in Asia, is being understood and is becoming more and more attractive. They are very good looking cars. They also like the fact that the Sprint Series is based in Sepang. We’ll keep the CN class again in the Sprint Cup next year, to give it a chance, and hopefully more will join. I’m sure the field will grow in the GT Cup class. The plan for next year is to have 4 rounds; the calendar will be announced at the latest at the end of October during the first round of the Asian Le Mans Series at Zhuhai, to give teams time to prepare.”