24h Le Mans
09/11/2019 - 12:01

FIA WEC – 4 Hours of Shanghai: China and the 24 Hours of Le Mans

China has emerged as a wellspring of talent in endurance racing over the last decade. Both the KCMG and Jackie Chan DC Racing teams have won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in 2015 and 2017 respectively, and have clinched 13 victories between them in the FIA World Endurance Championship since its inception in 2012. Ahead of the 4 Hours of Shanghai, the third round of Season 8 of the FIA WEC this Sunday 10 November, here's a look at highlights in China's history at the 24 Hours and in endurance racing.
FIA WEC – 4 Hours of Shanghai: China and the 24 Hours of Le Mans

- The first appearance of a Chinese driver at the 24 Hours of Le Mans dates back to 2008 when Cong-Fu Cheng shared the wheel of Saulnier Racing's Pescarolo (the team was later renamed OAK Racing) with French drivers Pierre Ragues and Matthieu Lahaye. The trio finished third in LMP2 (18th overall), an outstanding result given the near total domination of the two Porsche RS Spyders (first and second places) in the class that year. Cheng returned to Le Mans in 2013 with Rebellion Racing, joining forces with Mathias Beche and Andrea Belicchi.

- In 2015, KCMG became the first Chinese team to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Finishing ninth overall, Richard Bradley, Matt Howson and Nicolas Lapierre dominated the LMP2 class with pole position and 349 laps in the lead.

PHOTOS ABOVE (Copyright - ACO/ARCHIVES): LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), 24 HOURS OF LE MANS. At the top, the one-two by Jackie Chan DC Racing in 2017. In the middle, Cong Fu Cheng (at right), the first Chinese driver at the 24 Hours during the 2008 Drivers' Parade, along with teammates Pierre Ragues (at left) and Matthieu Lahaye (centre). Below, the KCMG team's winning ORECA 05-Nissan in 2015.

- Jackie Chan DC Racing became the first Chinese team to reach the overall podium, with in order Oliver Jarvis-Thomas Laurent-Ho Pin Tung (second) and Alex Brundle-David Cheng-Tristan Gommendy (third). This double podium finish was thanks to a triumphant one-two in LMP2.

- Ho-Pin Tung is the first Chinese national to win Le Mans. In seven participations in the 24 Hours since 2013, the Chinese-Dutch driver (he was born in the Netherlands and enjoys dual citizenship) has become a regular in the top 10 in the LMP2 class, with just two retirements, as many podium finishes, a victory in 2017 and second place in 2019. Tung also won at home at the Shanghai round in 2018 along with French driver Gabriel Aubry and Monaco native Stéphane Richelmi. He currently boasts six wins in the LMP2 class in the FIA WEC, all won with Jackie Chan DC Racing

PHOTO ABOVE: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, JUNE 2019. For the 4 Hours of Shanghai this weekend, Ho-Pin Tung will once again join forces with French driver Gabriel Aubry. The two will team up with the Brit Will Stevens.

- Jackie Chan DC Racing is one of two teams to win both the 24 Hours and the Shanghai race. After its one-two at Le Mans in 2017, the Chinese team won at home in 2018. Jackie Chan DC Racing's main rival in the 2018-2019 FIA WEC Super Season, Signatech Alpine has three victories in the LMP2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (2016, 2018 and 2019) and one at Shanghai (2015).

- Since the creation of the FIA WEC in 2012, eight Le Mans victors have won the Shanghai round: Timo Bernhard, Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, Kazuki Nakajima, Benoît Tréluyer and Alexander Wurz. These eight drivers have 18 wins at the 24 Hours between them.