Yifei Ye to make Porsche debut in Asian Le Mans Series

New Porsche driver Yifei Ye will make his debut with the German manufacturer in next month's Asian Le Mans Series ahead of a return to the LMP2 ranks.

Yifei Ye to make Porsche debut in Asian Le Mans Series
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The reigning Asian and European Le Mans Series champion, who was announced as a Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific selected driver in November, will race a Porsche 911 GT3 R run by reigning champion team Herberth Motorsport in the two-weekend, four-race series in the Middle East. 

Ye's participation in the ALMS alongside Klaus Bachler and Antares Au in Dubai on 12-13 February and then the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi the following weekend will be a precursor to an LMP2 campaign in either the World Endurance Champion or the ELMS.

The aim of Porsche Motorsport's Asia-Pacific arm is to prepare the 21-year-old Chinese driver for a potential seat in one of the German manufacturer's new LMDh prototypes, which will race in both the WEC and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023.

Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific boss Alexandre Gibot told Motorsport.com: "It is definitely going to be diverse programme for Yifei in 2022 – we believe a mix of GT and prototype racing will be good preparation for LMDh.

"Racing in the Asian series is a great first step to integrate Yifei into the Porsche family. But clearly the best preparation for LMDh is to race in LMP2.

"There is potentially a door open for Yifei in the LMDh programme and we have to give him the best environment to be able to show his level of performance."

Gibot explained that no final decision had been made on Ye's P2 programme for the coming season, despite a test outing for the Swiss Cool Racing ELMS team late last year.

"There are different options at the moment and we hope to make an announcement after the ALMS," he said.

Gibot highlighted the importance of Ye returning to the Le Mans 24 Hours, a race in which he lost class victory with the WRT team on the final lap as a result of an electronics issue last year, and the difficulty facing ELMS teams in gaining entries in light of the bumper 39-car WEC field announced earlier this month.

Ye will be adding to his sportscar repertoire at the wheel of a GT3 car after the winning the Asian and European LMS crowns with Oreca LMP2s run by G-Drive Racing and WRT respectively.

Ye said he is "excited to be racing a GT car for the first time".

He will head to the Middle East next month with only one day of testing in a Porsche GT car at the Algarve circuit near Portimao in October.

"I had no testing in the LMP2 car prior to the first weekend in Asia last year and did well with no experience," he said.

"But a prototype was nearer to the [Euroformula Open] Formula 3 car I raced in 2020, so I know I have got a lot to learn but I am confident I can adapt."

Gibot didn't rule out further GT outings at some key races such as the Spa 24 Hours round of the GT World Challenge Europe for Ye over the course of 2022, but stressed that his main focus will be P2.

Ye said: "I think there are more opportunities to do some GT racing to come and a good result in one of those iconic races is good to have on your CV.

"It will be beneficial to do some different things at such a young age to help me become a more complete driver, and that will make you more useful to a factory team."


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