G-Drive Racing operated by Algarve Pro Racing won its second consecutive Asian Le Mans Series LMP2 title and, in doing so, secured a coveted invitation to the 89th 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Russian-flagged team took top honours with the #26 crew of Rene Binder, Yifei Ye and Ferdinand Habsburg, who laid the groundwork for a successful championship bid by winning twice at Dubai Autodrome (13-14 February), before racing to a podium and fourth place at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi (19-20 February).
Algarve Pro Racing has been a fixture of the Asian Le Mans grid since the series’ inception and the Portugal-based team has now accumulated three LMP2 titles, the 2021 triumph backing up those achieved in 2016-17 and 2019-20, as well as the Gentleman’s Trophy’ it won in 2017-18.
In Abu Dhabi, G-Drive Racing operated by Algarve Pro Racing took a clean sweep of pole positions, a double podium in Race 3, and a second-place result in Race 4 of the season with the #25 trio of John Falb, Rui Andrade and Franco Colapinto, who ended up third in the standings.
Rene Binder (#26 G-Drive Racing operated by Algarve Pro Racing Aurus 01 LMP2): “Finally, we are the 2021 Asian Le Mans Series LMP2 Champions! I certainly want to forget all the challenges we faced in the final race in Abu Dhabi and focus on the two races we won outright in Dubai and the second place achieved in Abu Dhabi. First and foremost, I want to thank the entire G-Drive Racing operated by Algarve Pro Racing team for their great support throughout the season. I’ve really enjoyed working with them in the Asian Le Mans Series, and that’s evident in the results we achieved on the track.”
Yifei Ye (#26 G-Drive Racing operated by Algarve Pro Racing Aurus 01 LMP2): “First of all, a big thanks to G-Drive Racing operated by Algarve Pro Racing for doing a perfect job, to all the team staff, mechanics and engineers and my teammates, Rene (Binder) and Ferdinand (Habsburg). We haven’t had a single scratch on the car, all driving so brilliantly together. Last weekend in Dubai everything went perfectly with two victories, while this weekend didn’t go our way with Full Course Yellows going against us and a mistake in pit lane. But, overall, the only mission was to bring the car home safely and come home as Champions, and I’m very happy to have achieved it, especially as I had no experience of the Aurus 01 LMP2 when I arrived in Dubai. It’s a dream result and I’m keen to continue in this direction.”
Ferdinand Habsburg (#26 G-Drive Racing operated by Algarve Pro Racing Aurus 01 LMP2): “We entered the Asian Le Mans Series to learn and prepare for some more Le Mans Prototypes projects in the future, and we came away with the championship title. It came as a surprise and it’s a great feeling. We just nailed everything, made no mistakes and we were really fast the whole way. It has been great to get to know the G-Drive Racing operated by Algarve Pro Racing team and collect a few trophies along the way, and I’m really looking forward to announcing what’s coming up after such great results. It’s exciting to have achieved my first international championship title, and to have won it in style. Thank you to the entire team and to my teammates, Rene (Binder) and Yifei (Ye), for all their efforts.”
Stewart Cox (G-Drive Racing operated by Algarve Pro Racing Team Principal): “I can’t thank the entire team enough for doing such a great job under a new structure, and I’m delighted to have come away with the 2021 Asian Le Mans Series LMP2 title. I’m very pleased with the outcome on the whole, as each driver performed brilliantly throughout and there’s a lot of performance in the cars. We had a bit of bad luck in Abu Dhabi but fought back and ended up with a clean sweep of pole positions and fastest laps in all four rounds. In Race 4, John (Falb) did a great job, Rui (Andrade) drove his heart out and Franco (Colapinto) was out of this world, marking himself out as an immense talent to finish second and put up a really good fight for the win that went to the finish.”