The #24 Ligier JS P2 Judd of Algarve Pro Racing won the final round of the 2018-19 season at Sepang International Circuit thanks to a spirited drive by Harrison Newey, Andrea Pizzitola and Ate Dirk De Jong.
Despite APRs win however it was the #22 United Autosports Ligier finishing second with Phil Hanson and Paul di Resta that took the LMP2 title comfortably, earning the Anglo-American team their first invite to the 2019 Le Mans 24 hr.
Victory for the UA pair was lost when they received a 20 second stop and hold penalty allowing Newey a clear run for the win. The result means that Hanson and Di Resta maintained a 100% podium record this season with seconds at Shanghai, Fuji and Sepang and a victory at Buriram.
“There’s an underlying sense of disappointment.” Hanson said after the race “But we had a very controlled race at the beginning. We came here to do a job, and that was to win the championship and we’ve come away with that, a Le Mans entry.
“Le Mans is the biggest race in the world, it’s nice to get there, a Le Mans entry is something we’re very happy with!” said United Autosports boss Richard Dean in summary.
Third step on the podium went to the Panis-Barthez Competition Ligier-Judd driven by Francois Heriau, Jean-Baptiste Lahaye and Matthieu Lahaye, a lap down on the leaders.
The LMP2 Am Trophy honours went to the ARC Bratislava crew of Darren Burke, Miro Konopka and Kang Ling who also sealed the class title and an automatic invitation to this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“It was very hot, very difficult in the last stint as we were down on power so had to make the tyres last two stints and nurse it to the end,” said Burke. “We made sure we got to the end, and because others had problems we didn’t have to push. We got the Le Mans win for the team too!”
In LMP3, Inter Europol Competition sealed the class title with the second victory of the season for their regular pairing of Jakub Smiechowski and Martin Hippe. The Polish team finished a minute ahead of the best of the Ecurie Ecosse/Nielsen Racing Ligiers driven at the end by Christian Olsen and as with the other class winners, taking the championship earned them an invite to Le Mans in June.
Japanese AsLMS debutant’s Car Guy Racing stormed to the GT class championship win and earned themselves an auto-invite to Le Mans with a faultless fourth victory from four races. Ferrari factory driver James Calado took the flag for the squad’s yellow 488 GT3 after stints from Kei Cozzolino and Takeshi Kimura earlier on.