The Jackie Chan DC Racing x Jota Sport outfit made a spectacular start to the Asian Le Mans Series season this weekend. The team fielded two Oreca 05-Nissan cars in LMP2 and a Ligier JS P3 in LMP3, and bagged both pole position and victory in LMP2. The icing on the cake was the win for Harrison Newey, son of well-known Formula One engineer Adrian Newey, in his endurance racing debut.
The #8 Oreca 05-Nissan n°8 driven by Thomas Laurent, Stéphane Richelmi and Harrison Newey powered to victory in the 4 Hours of Zuhai (China), the Asian Le Mans Series season opener. Thomas Laurent, LMP2 class winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, took pole on Saturday. He then started the race on Sunday, making a clean getaway from the first bend and staying out in front for the entire race. However, after an incident involving an LMP3 car, the car went into the pits where the team set about repairing significant rear left damage. Harrison Newey, son of engineer Adrian Newey, currently with Red Bull Racing F1 after stints with McLaren and Williams F1, then took over the driving duties. This was his first endurance race and the 19-year-old managed to fight back from seventh to regain the lead. The crew virtually locked their rivals out of the race, leading for 131 of the 154 laps, cruising home a lap ahead of the runners-up.
Harrison Newey: “Thomas did a great job and gave me the car with a healthy lead, unfortunately we did lose a lot of time in the pit stop, so we dropped back. I pushed hard, then caught and passed the leader and felt comfortable from there. It went pretty quickly for something that is almost triple the length of any race I have done before!” I feel really good – what way to start my sportscar career. A massive thanks to the team, who really educated me and brought us this win.”
The #37 Ligier JS P2-Nissan from Team BBT, driven by Liu/Rizzo/Derani, finished second ahead of another Ligier, the #4 fielded by ARC Bratislava (Konopka/Calko/Breukers). Out of the 14 LMP2 cars to line up at the start, only the second Oreca 05-Nissan fielded by Jackie Chan DC Racing x Jota Sport (#7), raced by David Cheng and Ho-Pin Tung, had to retire early after issues with its power steering.
In LMP3, KCMG, well-known for having triumphed in the LMP2 class at the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours, also scored double with pole position and the win for the #18 Ligier JS P3 driven by Josh Burdon, Louis Prette and Neri Wei. They finished ahead of the Ligier JS P3s fielded by Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport (#11) and Jackie Chan DC Racing x Jota Sport (#2).
The battle was even fiercer in the GT class where there were just six seconds between the three frontrunners with 45 minutes left to race. In the end, the #91 BMW M6 from FIST - Team AAI (Krohn/Mostert/Chen) took the win from the #90 Mercedes-AMG GT3 fielded by the same team, which was held back by brake trouble. The #66 Audi R8 LMS from Tianshi Racing Team came third.
The second of the four rounds in this year’s Asian Le Mans Series is scheduled for 3 December at Fuji (Japan).
Photo (Olivier Beroud/VSA): Harrison Newey benefited from valuable advice from father Adrian.