The curtain came down today (24 February, 2019) on the Asian Le Mans Series and with it Eurasia Motorsport cemented its position as not only being able to produce the fastest car in the field, but also as a superb training ground for Gentlemen drivers wishing to compete at the highest level.
From the podium position at the start of the season in China, through to today’s superb sixth position at their home circuit of Sepang, it’s been a successful campaign for the team who continue to provide the ideal platform for both Professional driver and aspiring Amateur racers.
Aidan Read and Nobuya Yamanaka teamed up for the final time in Malaysia, the former very much the Professional driver, the latter, learning quickly from the team and his experienced teammate. Nobuya was given the opportunity to start the four-hour season finale, very much an experience in its own right, given the tightly contested field.
Starting third after a great lap from Aidan in the 15-minute qualifying shoot-out on Saturday, the Japanese racer was quickly into the rhythm and hitting his target lap times. Nobu’s first stint was however somewhat compromised as he found himself bottled up behind the #44 ARC Bratislava driven by Neale Muston. While he was ultimately unable to find a way to pass his rival, it was a great battle for seventh position and the Bronze-rated driver duly pitted on lap 30 to hand over to Aidan.
The Australian racer was immediately right on the pace, lapping in the 2:02 bracket from the outset and fastest of the LMP3 runners. It was to be just a short stint though as a Safety Car period saw the team take an alternative strategy and box for a second driver change just eight laps later. Nobu resumed in clear air, again hitting his target lap times before Aidan took over with the mandatory driver time completed at the two-hour mark.
Shortly afterwards, Aidan showed the absolute speed of the #36 Eurasia Motorsport Ligier JS P3, with the fastest lap of the race – a 2:01.369 – a time four-tenths clear of the field at any point of the race. Aidan then found himself in a battle with the then class leader to un-lap himself before he pitted for a final time. Exiting seventh and hoping for a Safety Car – to further help with strategy – he and the team were able to make progress in the final hour to take the chequered flag in sixth position.
“We had the fastest car out there, as underlined by Aidan, and to finish sixth doesn’t perhaps sound so special, but it was an outstanding performance from the crew and both drivers,” said Team Principal Mark Goddard. “Nobu drove really well, especially at the start in very difficult conditions. He was hitting all of his lap time targets and equally, it was his most consistent race he’s had with us so we’re very happy with his performance.
“Our alternative strategy could have paid further dividends, but its wasn’t to be on this occasion,” he continued. “Had we had a Safety Car in final stages a podium position was possible. We ended the season with a very strong performance, more than exceeding our own expectation, so a big thank you to the team for their hard work and we look forward to returning to this series for the 19/20 season.”
Eurasia Motorsport now gear up for a new venture as the Asian-based team joins the TCR Asia championship, where it is to field rising star Daniel Miranda in the race-winning Hyundai i30 N TCR. News of the team’s 2019 LMP programme will follow in due course.