There will be a bit of national team vibes, when Round 3 of the Asian Le Mans Series 2017/18 will be run at the Buriram in Thailand. At least there will be a car with only Malaysian drivers.
Jazeman Jaafar, Weiron Tan and Afiq Ikhwan Yazid will share the Jackie Chan DC X JOTA #7 at both Round 3 and 4 in this seasons Championship.
Jaafar got his first taste of Asian LMS about a month ago, when he raced in the second round at the Fuji track. He shared car #7 with David Cheng, but the team owner himself will jump out of the car, and let the three young drivers have a go. 25 year-old Jaafar is the most experienced of the three, having raced the faster cars like British Formula 3, Formula Renault 3,5 and the Blancpain Endurance Series. He has been sniffing around just outside Formula 1, but hasn’t got the chance yet, and after focusing on sportscar racing instead, the question is if he will ever get it.
Weiron Tan is 23 years old and has already been around the world racing. He naturally started out in Malaysia, but moved on to Formula Gulf, on to Formula Renault 2.0 in the UK and German Formula 3, before heading to the USA in the Pro Mazda Championship. After racing in that, he started to travel homeward again, doing a season of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, before racing in the China GT in 2017. But he has got knowledge of the Asian Le Mans Series 2016/17 too, having raced for the Aylezo Ecotint Racing team in the LMP3 category.
Afiq Ikhwan Yazid is the oldest of the three drivers, being 26 years old, but while the others has been around the world, Yazid stayed in Asia. After doing single-seater racing in the Formula BMW Series, JK Racing Asia Series and Formula Masters China, he decided to go in to the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia in 2013. That was a good decision, since he is the current Champion after having won it three times in a row. It will be a new experience for him to race a Prototype, but he already knows Buriram and, of course, the home circuit Sepang from the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia.
The Jackie Chan DC X JOTA team currently leads the Asian Le Mans Series 2017/18 with car #8, while #7 has had a troubled start to the season, and no longer being able to contend for the Championship.
But this could very well be a warm-up for the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the three Malaysian drivers, where the Jackie Chan DC team could end up with a total of five cars. They won the Le Mans race in 2017 in LMP2, currently on their way to winning in both LMP2 and LMP3 in the Asian Le Mans Series 2017/18 and will most likely be going for two full season entries in the FIA WEC too.
If they actually are going to turn up with five cars, or if they will say no to some of those potential entries, will be revealed on 9 February, when the entry list for the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2018 is announced.
Round 3 of the Asian Le Mans Series 2017/18 will be run on Saturday 13 January at the Buriram circuit in Thailand.