Asian Le Mans Series predicts 2015/16 grid will reach 20 cars

The Asian Le Mans Series grid is set to grow to 20 cars over the course of its first season under the direct control of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest

Asian Le Mans Series predicts 2015/16 grid will reach 20 cars

The Asian LMS, which has been relaunched by the organiser of the Le Mans 24 Hours as a winter series, kicked off on the bill of last weekend's Fuji round of the World Endurance Championship with the 13 cars that make up the full-season entry.

But series boss Cyrille Taesch Wahlen explained that further cars would join the series over the remaining three 2015/16 rounds.

"We knew it would be difficult for the first race at Fuji because there were two effective clashes with the European Le Mans Series [at Estoril this weekend] and GT Asia [on the Chang circuit at Buriram in Thailand on October 24/25], but being able to restart the series within the content of the WEC was a big plus and will help put us on the map," he told Autosport.

"If we can have 20 cars, and I think we can, for the final round at Sepang in January, that would not be a bad way to complete the final season."

Taesch Wahlen stressed that the growth would encompass the two prototype classes, LMP2 and LMP3, which attracted two and three cars respectively at Fuji.

"If everything goes to plan we will have four P2s and four or five P3s in January for the final two rounds," he explained.

He also expects an influx of entries in the GT class for GT3 machinery from GT Asia "because a lot of teams are targeting Le Mans".

The Algarve Racing P2 squad, which is competing in the ELMS this year, is entered for the final three races, starting in November at the first of two events at Sepang, while Eurasia Motorsport will expand from one to two ORECAs for the final two rounds at Buriram and Sepang in January.

Taesch Wahlen said that his projection for an increased entry in P3 did not include the Eurointernational team, which had announced plans to contest the series.

The Italian-based squad has decided to focus on a winter test programme with its pair of Ligier-Nissan JSP3s rather than contesting the full series, but has declared its intent to compete in the January races with a line-up including former Minardi Formula 1 test driver Giorgio Mondini.

The Fuji race was won by Shinji Nakano and Nicolas Leutwiler in the Swiss Race Performance squad's ORECA-Judd/BMW 03R, by a one lap-margin from the best of the GT cars.

The Eurasia ORECA-Nissan 03R was delayed by a flat battery and a puncture, finishing eight laps down in 10th and last position.

Taesch Wahlen also revealed tentative plans for summer sprint series for LMP3 and Group CN machinery, which is also eligible for the Asian LMS.

"We feel there is interest and if feedback is good, we could make an announcement before the end of the year," he said.

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