On the eve of the opening round of the 2016/2017 Asian Le Mans Series at Zhuhai in China comes news of a strong alliance between the ACO-supported and managed championship, and Asia’s leading GT competition, the GT Asia Series.
As a natural progression to the relationship which first began in 2015, both Series will strengthen their co-operation to provide a raft of opportunities for competitors over the coming 18-months.
“Since 2015 we’ve had an agreement with the ACO to ensure that we worked alongside the Asian Le Mans Series to support their program with ours by avoiding calendar clashes and promoting the involvement of our teams looking for an endurance challenge over the winter period,” Motorsport Asia Limited CEO David Sonenscher confirmed.
“With the renewed push the ACO has had with Asian Le Mans this year, it was only natural that we formalized and extended our relationship to look towards the future, and I think now, Asian teams that have been competing in this market have themselves a fantastic program for the year ahead.”
As part of the new agreement, the winner of the 2016/2017 Asian Le Mans Series GT class will get a free entry into the 2017 GT Asia Series, whilst the winner of the 2017 GT Asia Series will receive a free entry into the 2017/2018 Asian Le Mans Series (GT class).
Significantly, the winner on combined points of the 2016/2017 Asian le Mans Series and the 2017 GT Asia Series, will receive an invitation to the 2018 Le Mans 24H in the LMGTE Am class.
They will also collect points towards the new Michelin Asia GT Challenge which will consist of the combination of the GT Asia and Asian Le Mans Series GT3 classifications. The top three [full season entrants] teams in this outright classification will receive significant prize money from Michelin, with the winner of the 12-events (19 races) receiving the ultimate GT accolade – entry into the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“This will provide a fantastic platform for drivers and teams to compete in both championships, and provides a great business case for teams looking to compete at the highest level in Asia,” Sonenscher added. “Just this year we saw Clearwater Racing – a three-time winner of the GT Asia Series compete in the 2016 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, placing fourth in LMGTE Am on debut, proving just how competitive our local teams are. It’s almost impossible to be granted entry into this iconic event, but thanks to our new relationship with Asian Le Mans, it becomes a very real opportunity!”