Algarve Pro Racing will enter the Asian Le Mans Series with two very exciting driver lineups in the Asian Le Mans 2021, which is scheduled for February.
The team are the defending Asian LMS champions in the LMP2 category, and has previously also won the Gentleman Trophy standings
Rene Binder will share one of the cars with Ye Yifei and Ferdinand Habsburg. Binder has turned into being a sportscar driver, after starting out in single-seaters. He raced in the World Series Formula V8, before moving into Indycar in the USA, followed by the European Le Mans Series for Panis Barthez Competition in 2019, and for Inter Europol Competition in 2020. He has had two Le Mans starts so far. The family company is usually present on the cars, which is quite a significant factor too.
Chinese driver Ye Yifei also has a single-seater background. He won the French F4 Championship in 2016, before moving into Formula Renault. He finished third in the 2018 version of the Eurocup, being entering FIA Formula 3 Championship, which is support series for Formula 1. That wasn’t the most successful move, with a sixth position as his best race result. He switched to the Euroformula Open Championship in 2020, winning the title with a huge margin to second. He hasn’t done any races with a roof above his head just yet, so he will have to get used to that.
Ferdinand Habsburg started out in, guess what, single-seaters. He finished second in the Euroformula Open Championship in 2016, and finished third in the Spanish Formula 3. He raced in the FIA Formula 3 Championship in 2017 and 2018, claiming a single win during those two years. The Austrian got a seat in the R-Motorsport DTM programme for 2019, but unfortunately there wasn’t much success for them, shutting down after just a single season. He got a deal with Audi Sport Team WRT in DTM for 2020, where he claimed a Pole Position, and a podium position, which is quite well done, being one of the privately entered cars. He raced at the Daytona 24 hours in 2018 for Jackie Chan DC Racing, which is the only LMP race on his CV so far.
The second car for the team will have John Falb as the most experienced driver. The American will have Franco Colapinto and Rui Andrade as his teammates. Falb won the ELMS LMP3 title in 2017, before moving to the APR team and LMP2 for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, including two Le Mans participations. Falb is, however, the Gentleman driver in the car, so will have to rely on his teammates, bringing the ultimate laptime to the car.
Argentinian Colapinto won his national karting championship in 2016 and 2018, before going to Europe, with the Spanish F4 Championship as his first goal. He on the title in 2019, and moved on to Formula Renault Eurocup in 2020, where he finished third in the Championship, in addition to finishing third in the Toyota Racing Series. He is the youngest driver of the outfit, being just 17 years old.
21-year-old Rui Andrade is born in Angola, and also has a background in Spanish F4. He was teammates with Ye Yifei throughout the 2020 season, but wasn’t able to match the Chinese driver results wise. He was competing against Colapinto in the Toyota Racing Series in 2020, so that’s another connection between the drivers.
Furthermore, Andrade, Colapinto and Habsburg have the same management, which is run by Jamie Campbell-Walter and Nicolas Minassian.
Algarve Pro Racing has a collaboration with G-Drive Racing, so they are going to run with the orange colours, that is well known from the ELMS and Le Mans – and not to forget, the championship-winning car from the 2019/20 season.
The car will most likely be designated to be an Aurus 01 Gibson, which is the “Russian version” of the ORECA 07. Opposite to the European Le Mans Series this year, and the coming years, the car will run on Michelin tires for the Asian LMS.
Asian Le Mans Series 2021 will run over four races in February at the Yas Marina track in Abu Dhabi.