September 23, 2013
Fuji Speedway, Shizuoka-pref. (September 22nd, 2013) - The inaugural Asian Le Mans Series event at Fuji Speedway took place on Sunday, September 22nd. Having qualified in 2nd place, the KCMG team's Morgan Nissan LMP2 machine (James Winslow, Hiroshi Koizumi, Richard Bradley) was the overall winner.
#18 KCMG Morgan - Nissan
#5 TEAM MACH NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3
For the series, which had its opening round in August at Inje (South Korea), this was the second race. Round 3 is scheduled to take place at Zhuhai, China in October, with the season-ending Round 4 at Sepang (Malaysia) in December, where the series' winners will be granted the right to compete in next year's Le Mans 24 Hours. The KCMG squad, hailing from Hong Kong, and with two wins from the pair of races held so far, is odds-on favorite for the title at this stage of the AsLMS season.
This round of the Asian Le Mans Series featured cars from four classes, including a pair of Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) machines, while a total of nine entries filled the GTE and GTC classes. There were no fewer than 11 entries from Japan's SUPER GT's GT300 class on the starting grid. On this occasion, GT300 cars were allowed to count their points' tallies toward the SUPER GT title campaigns, attracting a large number of teams, among them two Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 machines.
The 3-hour race got underway at 2pm under clear skies. Starting the KCMG Morgan Nissan from the second spot on the grid, Koizumi immediately went into the lead, overtaking the pole-sitting #24 Morgan Judd at the first corner on the opening lap, before deftly pulling away. Although Koizumi went off track once during his stint, allowing the #24 machine to get ahead temporarily, he came back with a blistering pace to once again take over the lead, on the car's way to a convincing victory. Starting driver Koizumi is an All-Japan Formula 3 entrant, and is 43 years of age. Briton James Winslow has a rich and varied career under his belt, while Richard Bradley, 22 and also British, has just stepped up from F3 to Japan's Super Formula category.
Koizumi later said at the press conference: “I was lucky to have taken over the top spot at the first corner after the start.” Moreover, Winslow stated, “We were able to run the race well together as a team. It's a driver powerful lineup, and I've been told it will be the same for the next round at Zhuhai, where we'll be aiming for the same result.”
In addition, there were two teams fielding Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 cars from the GT300 class, the #5 TEAM MACH (Tetsuji Tamanaka/Naoya Yamano) entry, and the #30 apr machine (Yuki Iwasaki/Igor Sushko/Kenji Kobayashi). The #5 car finished eleventh overall, seventh among the GT300 entries.
|1||LMP2||#18||Morgan - Nissan||J.WINSLOW||H.KOIZUMI||R.BRADLEY||108|
|2||LMP2||#24||Morgan - Judd||C-F.CHENG||D.CHENG||J.LEE||108|
|4||SGT||#11||Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3||K.HIRANAKA||B.WIRDHEIM||106|
|5||SGT||#61||Subaru BRZ GT300||T.YAMANO||K.SASAKI||105|
|6||SGT||#0||Porsche 911 GT3 R||K.MINEO||N.YOKOMIZO||104|
|11||SGT||#5||Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3||T.TAMANAKA||N.YAMANO||103|