In the run-up to the 6 Hours of Shanghai, fifth round of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) this coming weekend, we are publishing a series of articles on Chinese teams and drivers at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This second installment focuses on KCMG. Based in Hong Kong, a Chinese territory once again in 1997, in 2015 the KCMG team gave China a place in 24 Hours of Le Mans history with a dominating victory in the LMP2 class.
Formed in 2007 by former driver Paul Ip, the KCMG team made its first appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2013 with a Morgan-Nissan chassis shared by Ho-Pin Tung, Alexandre Imperatori and Matt Howson. Having qualified eighth in the LMP2 class, the car was forced to retire.
KCMG quickly became a team to watch in the LMP2 field. After two victories with the Morgan in the 2013 season of the Asian Le Mans Series, the Chinese outfit moved into the World Endurance Championship (WEC) with an ORECA 03R-Nissan, winning three times and claiming third place in the LMP2 Teams classification despite another retirement at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
On Sunday 14 June 2015, KCMG became the first Chinese team to reach the top step on the podium at Le Mans, with the new ORECA 05-Nissan driven by Nicolas Lapierre, Matt Howson and Richard Bradley. It was true domination: pole position and the win, after 349 laps in the lead out 358 in LMP2. After a second victory at the 6 Hours of the Nürburgring, KCMG was runner-up in the FIA LMP2 Teams Trophy in the WEC, on the heels of a long battle with Russian team G-Drive Racing.
In 2016, KCMG fielded an ORECA 05 again in the LMP2 class as well as a Porsche 911 RSR in LMGTE Am entrusted to Christian Ried, Wolf Henzler and Joël Camathias. For KCMG's final participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans to date, these three renowned experts of the German marque's emblematic model finished 10th in the class, and the ORECA driven by Richard Bradley, Matt Howson and Tsugio Matsuda was forced to retire with an electrical problem. At the end of its last season in the WEC, the KCMG team finished fourth in the FIA LMGTE Teams Trophy. KCMG remains as active as ever in Asian motorsport (Super Formula, Asian GT) and will take part in the FIA GT World Cup in Macau 15-18 November.
Two years after KCMG's win at Le Mans, Jackie Chan DC Racing would climb even higher on the 24 Hours podium...to be continued in the second installment in this series.
PHOTOS (Copyright - Archives/ACO) - At the top, the ORECA 07 passes under the checkered flag in first place. Below, from left to right: KCMG's ORECA 03R-Nissan at the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, the trio Richard Bradley-Nicolas Lapierre-Matt Howson LMP2 winner in 2015 and the Porsche 911 RSR fielded in the LMGTE Am class in 2016.