Jackie Chan DC-Racing wins Asian Le Mans Series LMP2 and LMP3

• Jackie Chan DC-Racing victories in LMP2 and LMP3
• Malaysian Newcomer reaches podium with Eurasia
• Solid win for BMW, while Audi was unlucky

The most competitive season of Asian Le Mans Series just finished with its final 4 hour race at Sepang International Circuit. The biggest challenge for the strong drivers line up was the heat, although predicting rain, it never came. Drivers without cooling shirt staying in a tiny LMP cockpit for around 90 minutes had a tough time keeping up with their concentration level. 100% focus is key in racing, and if drivers do not practice awareness in heat, they certainly will have drop outs of focus. One driver Hanss Lin in the Taiwan beer car getting 3rd in the LMP3 category felt heavily exhausted after the race.

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Besides the sweat, we saw a surprising Qualifying with an amazing bright smile on Mark Goddard team leader of Eurasia.
Just a week ago, he was not sure, if he can get a team together, as his drivers were racing Bathurst, but Sepang international circuit jumped in and supported with a young Malaysian driver, who has not even seen a LMP car from the inside. After just 3 practising Sessions, he set Pole Position and started as the leader of the race.

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AS we saw decreasing audience during last years races in Malaysia, Asian Le Mans Series brought a fair crowd on the grid surrounding the drivers at their cars – making the job for Photographers more difficult, but Media people enjoy challenges.

We assume the big amount of Malaysian drivers participating and being supported by Sepang International Circuit were one of the reason for the fans driving 1 hour from KL center.

On the grid, 6 LMP2 cars, 5 LMP3 cars and 4 lonely GT cars.
Having taken thousands of pictures of different racing cars, LMP cars are of different beauty at certain angles. These cars do look impressive and feeling their acceleration and downforce at the corners increases your heart beat, just by listening to them. Asking some of the drivers never driven a LMP car before, “These cars are powerful and with the amazing downforce, a little mistake and you will lose too much time. Staying focused and clear concentrated is the key.”

The line up at the start is clear – at the front LMP – at the end the slower GT cars. But wait a moment, there was a yellow LMP3 car at the very last. The Slovakian Team had to change the  engine after Qualifying, that the regulation put them on last position. The owner Miro Konopka is incredible friendly and is basically a friend of the big motor-scene in Austria, as Bratislava is just a stone throw away from Vienna. He enjoys racing in Asia and likes the competition, great stations in Asia and professional championship.
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What are the highlights of the race. The battle for LMP2 was intense and it was a swapping of lead throughout the whole race, mostly leading Jackie Chan DC team with the Overall standing lead car number 8 with Stephane Richelmi, Harrison Newey and Thomas Laurent. But it had a tough challenge with their team car with a fully Malaysian team Awho fiq Ikhwan Yazid, Jazeman Jaafar and Weiron Tan. Eurasia and later in the race the team of Billionaire Boyz Team with Anthony Liu, who was suffering severe  back pain. At the End of the race car #8 wins, bbt #37 second and with a bit of luck Eurasia  #33 third. The Malaysian Car #7 could not restart their engine after the last pitstop 20 minutes before the finish, but were still able to finish the race at the last lap.

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In LMP3, we saw a strong Taiwan Beer Team #11, but the heat was too much for team owner Hanss Lin, who did not race for 2 years. Impressive work to finally finish third with his team mate Shaun Thong.
Second place goes to Win Motorsport with William Lok team owner,  with Richard Bradley and Philippe Descombes. William got an injury on his foot during Qualifying driver change and suffered heavy pain during the race. The heat and the pain kept him quite busy to stay focused on the track. Disappointed not winning the championship and not going to 24hours Le Mans, he will come back at next season, stronger as never before.
The Winner again – Jackie Chan DC- Racing with Guy Cosmo, Patrick Byrne and Gabriel Aubry, who take the car to 24hours of Le Mans.
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GT – the slow cars at the back.
For the drivers who joined an endurance race with  LMP cars the first time, it was a quite stressful race. Thai driver Bhurit Bhirombhakdi- usually driving the Audi R8 LMS one make Cup with same speed cars said:” I looked more into the back-mirror then in front, as these fast approaching LMP cars are a real challenge. Its a great experience, but very difficult to drive a slower car with this much faster once. Driving a Ferrari with all the flashy lights in the cockpit was new to be, but passing LMP cars were challenging”
Tianshi Audi was the team leading basically the whole race, almost 1.5 Laps ahead of the BMW and way off the Ferrari and Porsche. But 1 lap after driver change to Mitchell Gilbert, another 1 hour to go, the car stopped with a broken Gearbox. Surprising and disappointed face in the Team with Ron Reichert has team manager. “We exchanged several parts of the Gearbox just before this weekend, so its very surprising that the new Gear shaft is broken, I have never seen this before. As it was running 3 Hours perfectly during the race, as well as practice and Qualy, we need to analyse what caused this extreme damage to the Gearbox.” Financially it would mean – another 50-60K Euro to fix the car for the next race.

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At the End BMW Team AAI wins the race and the ticket to 24 hours Le Mans. Second went to the Ferrari and third to the Porsche GT car with Will Bamber and Graeme Dowsett. The Porsche is unique, as it was used by his brother Earl to win PCCA before and raced at Bathurst before. A Legendary car, which might soon be in Earl Bamber’s hand again for sentimental reasons.
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While glimpsing at the 12hours Bathurst Live coverage we enjoyed the gorgeous weather out there at the track. Especially driving a Porsche Macan as a Service road car during the race – provided by Team NZ to support the team with images.
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The Award ceremony was short, pretty casual, without any trophies – unfortunate stucked at the custom-  and while some had to catch their flights, some continue their party until 5am in the morning. That shows, that everyone enjoyed the weekend a lot.