Aidan Read wrapped up his Asian Le Mans Series campaign in style Sunday (24 February) in Malaysia as he and teammate Nobuya Yamanaka brought home the #39 Ligier LMP3 in a creditable sixth position on a day where the young Australian driver, celebrating his 20th birthday, proved to be the fastest driver in the class.
Aidan, again acting as coach and mentor to his Gentleman driver teammate, had tested extensively at the Malaysian circuit ahead of the season and arrived confident that they and the Eurasia Motorsport team had a strong base set-up. The team worked through the two practice sessions before Aidan went on to record a time good enough for third on the grid.
Nobu took the start, battling hard with the fellow Bronze-rated drivers and enjoying a great tussle for seventh with Neale Muston in the Bratislava entry. Aidan took over for a short eight lap stint on lap 30, setting the then fastest lap of the race before a strategy call saw Nobuya take over the car once again.
Aidan’s second stint began at the mid-way mark and on lap 54 he put in an impressive lap time of 2:01.369s, a time that would remain four-tenths quicker than anything achieved by his rivals. As the race drew towards the four-hour window, Aidan moved up to sixth position, but despite his best efforts to reel the highly rated Dutchman Kay van Berlo ahead, could only halve the 28 second deficit over the remaining laps to settle for a very credible sixth position.
“It was a really good race for us,” Aidan explained. “Our pace was exceptional on new tyres and the balance of the Ligier was superb. The development work we did in testing paid great dividends and we were the fastest car in our class, by a margin.
“Nobu did an excellent job too, it was his best performance yet and he didn’t put a wheel wrong as he managed his pace with the Bronze drivers around him. With the Safety Car, the team decided to extend his stint which meant I was in the car for the final two hours.
“We’re happy with the result but we had been hoping for a lucky Safety Car in the closing stages. That could have seen us finish on the podium, but it was a well-executed race from the team. It has been a great season and it is a year since I first met Nobu and his progress over that time has been impressive. Also, we can’t forget that Shanghai podium, that was the icing on the cake.”
Aidan now tuns his attention to the next phase of his career as he travels to Europe for the first time for a season long campaign. Details of his programme will be announced at a later date.