24h Le Mans
18/11/2018 - 12:01

The 24 Hours of Le Mans a draw for Asian teams

In addition to impressive results achieved at the 24 Hours of Le Mans by Chinese competitors, other teams from the Asian Le Mans Series have represented various Asian countries remarkably well. Tomorrow is the 6 Hours of Shanghai, fifth round of the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) Super Season, just one week from the start of the 2018-2019 Asian Le Mans Series season at the very same circuit. Here's a closer look at three such teams: Team AAI (Taiwan), Clearwater Racing (Singapore) and Eurasia Motorsport (Philippines).
The 24 Hours of Le Mans a draw for Asian teams

Formed in 1990, Team AAI won the GT title during the 2013-2014 season of the Asian Le Mans Series by fielding two different cars: a BMW Z4 and a Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, earning an invitation to compete in the LMGTE Am class at the 24 Hours. Since the BMW and Mercedes were ineligible to take the start at Le Mans, Team AAI relied on Belgian team ProSpeed Compétition to field two Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs at the 2015 24 Hours.

At this debut, the Taiwan-based team was thrilled to see both cars at the finish, in sixth and eighth places in the class for Han Chan Chen-Gilles Vannelet-Mike Parisy and Jun San Chen-Alex Kapadia-Xavier Maassen. The following year, Team AAI fielded a Corvette C7.R, again in LMGTE Am, with the help of factory Corvette driver Johnny O'Connell joined by Oliver Bryant and Mark Patterson. The 2016 running of the race was Team AAI's last participation to date, finishing ninth in the class.

Founded in 2007 first under the name Team Porsche Club Singapore Racing, Clearwater Racing followed the same trajectory as Team AAI, earning an invitation to Le Mans thanks to its GT title in the 2015-2016 Asian Le Mans Series with a McLaren 650S GT3. For its first 24 Hours in 2016, the first Singapore-based team in history to take the start of the race finished fourth in the LMGTE Am class with the Ferrari 458 Italia shared by Rob Bell, Keita Sawa and Weng Sun Mok. Mok, the team's owner, subsequently decided to compete in the 2017 World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC).

After its successful debut in LMGTE Am at the 2017 6 Hours of Silverstone, Clearwater Racing became a regular contender for a class podium, and finished fifth and eighth at the 2017 and 2018 24 Hours respectively. Having finished second in the FIA Endurance LMGTE Am Trophy at the end of the 2017 FIA WEC season, going into the 6 Hours of Shanghai Clearwater Racing is in fifth place in the class provisional overall classification for the Super Season.

The winner of two races during the 2015-2016 Asian Le Mans Series, in 2016 Eurasia Motorsport (LMP2) participated in its first 24 Hours and first season of the European Le Mans Series (ELMS), finishing fifth in the LMP2 class (ninth overall) at Le Mans. Its ORECA 05-Nissan also finished fifth overall in the ELMS that year, with as best result second place at the 4 Hours of the Red Bull Ring.

In 2017, Eurasia Motorsport's French driver line-up Erik Maris-Jacques Nicolet-Pierre Nicolet finished 13th in the class with a Ligier JS P217-Gibson. The 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans marked Eurasia Motorsport's third participation collaborating with American gentleman-driver Tracy Krohn and his two regular teammates Nic Jönsson and Andrea Bertolini. For the race, their Ligier JS P217 was decorated in Krohn Racing's distinctive green livery.

For the 2018-2019 Asian Le Mans Series season, with the first round at Shanghai on 25 November, Eurasia Motorsport will compete in both prototype classes, LMP2 and LMP3.

 

PHOTOS (from top to bottom) - Singapore-based team Clearwater Racing has made it to the checkered flag at all three editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans it has done with the Ferrari 458 Italia then the 488 GTE, pictured here. In 2015 and 2016, Team AAI did the same in the LMGTE Am class. The Eurasia Motorsport team is the only one of the three to field a prototype at Le Mans, in LMP2.