Asian Le Mans Series newsletter 2009-09-01

Already 23 entries for a "Grande Premiere!" The Asian Le Mans Series will kick off in Japan on 31st October 2009. Well before the closing date for entries (5th September), the presence of 23 cars has already been confirmed. All the big endurance...

Already 23 entries for a "Grande Premiere!"

The Asian Le Mans Series will kick off in Japan on 31st October 2009. Well before the closing date for entries (5th September), the presence of 23 cars has already been confirmed. All the big endurance names will be there!

Lola-Aston Martin, Pescarolo-Judd, ORECA-AIM and Audi R10 -- it's a great start! The 2 races on the Okayama circuit on Saturday 31st October and Sunday 1st November, each lasting 3 hours, will launch the Asian Le Mans Series, and will be the theatre of a no-holds-barred battle between the main protagonists in both prototype and GT endurance racing. The Aston Martin Racing team has entered a works Lola-Aston Martin for Jan Charouz, Stefan Mucke and Tomas Enge, the current LMS leaders. In LM P1, they will be up against 2 Pescarolo-Judds, the ORECA O1-AIM and the two Team Kolles Audi R10s. Paul Drayson Racing will make its debut in this category with a brand-new Lola coupe powered by a Judd engine. There is also a 100% Japanese team, as Professor Yoshimsa Hayashi and his students' Tokai University squad have entered the Courage-Oreca LC70-YGK seen at Le Mans in 2008.

"We're very happy to welcome several Asian teams", says Remy Brouard, the ACO General Manager. "The Asian Le Mans Series will be a key element in the Intercontinental Trophy project we're determined to set up in 2011, which will include a selection of between five and seven races from all the Le Mans Series: LMS, ALMS and Asian LMS".

There will be several Asian teams competing including two in GT1, the Team Nova Aston Martin and the 2 JLOC Lamborghinis, whose main rival will be the French-entered Saleen of Larbre Competition. Another Aston Martin DBR9 is expected in GT1. Japanese teams are also present in LM GT2 with the Hankook KTR Porsche 997 RSR and the Team Daisin Ferrari F430 GT, while an Aston Martin DBR9 will come from Hong Kong.

The big news in GT2 is the arrival of one of the works BMW E 92 M3s racing in this year's ALMS entered by RLR (Rahal Letterman Racing), which have just scored a double at Road Atlanta.

At present there are 8 entries in the LM GT2 category rounded off by the 2 Felbermayr-Proton team Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs, the Hankook Farnbacher team's Ferrari F430 GTs, and Robertson Racing with one of the new generation Ford Doran GT MK 7s (with both Robertsons among its drivers). Japan will be its only race outside the USA this season.

For the moment, there are 3 entries in LM P2: the Italian team Racing Box with its Lola-Judd coupe, the OAK Racing Pescarolo-Mazda and the Navi Team Goh Porsche RS spyder. The ACO and ORECA wanted to invite the first 2 teams in the Formula Le Mans Cup Championship to Okayama. Unfortunately, it proved impossible as the launch of the Asian Le Mans Series clashes with the start of the new Formula Le Mans Winter Cup.

With 4 days to go to the closing date for entries, the field is made up of 12 different marques representing 6 nations.


The teams are not the only ones interested in the inauguration of the Asian Le Mans Series: the partners have also made a big effort. Thus, the ACO has just received the backing of AIM as the main sponsor. The Japanese engineering company joins MICHELIN GREEN X CHALLENGE, MAZDA -- supplier of the official intervention and safety vehicles - DHL and BOSCH: a list of prestigious brands which may grow longer in the coming weeks.


The Japanese spectators at Okayama can look forward to a thrilling weekend. The inaugural races of the Asian Le Mans Series will be held at the same time as the 11th round of the WTCC, the World Touring Car Championship, run in two heats on Sunday, whose promoter is Eurosport


The OKAYAMA circuit

It was built in 1992 and measures 3,703 kms. It is 60 kms north of Okayama and hosted the Pacific Grand Prix in 1994 and 1995 under the name of the Adria circuit.

With the FIA-WTCC

The Asian Le Mans Series at Okayama is being held at the same time as the FIA-WTCC, the World Touring Car Championship whose promoter is Eurosport Events.

MICHELIN Green X Challenge

The challenge, which is organised in the context of the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Le Mans Series and the ALMS, rewards teams that have optimised performance and fuel consumption: it will be extended to the Asian Le Mans Series.

4 automatic selections for the 2010 LE MANS 24 HOURS

The winners (both races combined) in all 4 categories, LM P1, LM P2, LM GT1 and LM GT2, will be automatically selected for the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours.

An influx of Japanese drivers?

Numerous Japanese drivers are currently in discussion with LM P1 and LM P2 teams for a seat, so Takuma Sato, Hideki Noda, Seiji Ara, Shinji Nakano and Sakon Yamamoto may be part of the best teams.


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About this article
Series ALMS , Le Mans , European Le Mans
Drivers Tomas Enge , Seiji Ara , Shinji Nakano , Hideki Noda , Stefan Mücke , Sakon Yamamoto , Remy Brouard , Jan Charouz , Paul Drayson
Teams OAK Racing , Larbre Competition