Inje Circuit, Korea, August 4: Asian motorsport history was made on August 4th as the inaugural Asian Le Mans Series event kicked off with the 3 Hours of Inje in Korea. The new series is open to cars contesting the LM P2, LM PC, GTE, GTC and GTC Am classes, with entrants taking to the brand new 4.2-kilometre track north of Seoul for the first time on Friday.
Drivers quickly acclimatised themselves to the hilly, 19-turn circuit, and unsurprisingly, it was the pair of LM P2 machines that topped the timesheets in both practice and qualifying. Claiming pole position for the series' opening round was China's Ho-Pin Tung in his OAK Racing Morgan-Judd, with the Nissan-powered KCMG entry close behind. Former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi topped the GT times in his Taisan Ken Endless Ferrari 458 GTE, followed by Stefan Mucke in the #007 Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
The race started under the safety car as torrential rain swamped the early stages. After three hours, it was Chinese team KCMG's #18 Morgan-Nissan that took the overall win with Irishman Gary Thompson at the wheel, securing LM P2 honours. Finishing second, Italy's AF Corse squad had Australian Steve Wyatt and class specialist Andrea Bertolini winning in GTC, while third overall went to the other LM P2 entry, OAK Racing's Morgan-Judd. The GTE win was taken by Kobayashi and Naoki Yokomizo in their fresh-from-the-factory Ferrari 458 GTE.
The next round of this new series takes place at Fuji Speedway on September 22nd, with events at China's Zhuhai and Indonesia's Sentul circuits rounding out the series' four-event maiden season.