CrowdStrike Racing by APR has designs on the 2023-24 Asian Le Mans Series LMP2 titles and a second 24 Hours of Le Mans entry with George Kurtz, Colin Braun and Malthe Jakobsen, the clear intention being to carry the team’s title-winning form across from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Algarve Pro Racing was a fixture of the Asian Le Mans grid from the series’ launch in 2015 right through to 2021, when it added a third LMP2 title to those achieved in 2016-17 and 2019-20, and the ‘Gentleman’s Trophy’ it won in 2017-18.
After a year away, the Portugal-based team made a comeback in 2023 and, fresh from sealing this year’s European Le Mans Series (ELMS) Overall and LMP2 Championships, will return once again for the 2023-24 season, which features halts in both the United Arab Emirates and South East Asia.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian Le Mans Series has run exclusively at Dubai Autodrome and Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, but the new season will commence with two races at one of the series’ original venues, Sepang International Circuit near the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, before revisiting the UAE.
Algarve Pro will enter this landmark Asian Le Mans season as CrowdStrike Racing by APR, extending a partnership that yielded IMSA victories, podiums and pole positions en route to Michelin Endurance Cup glory and the Jim Trueman Bronze Cup, as well as a monumental LMP2 Pro-Am victory in the Centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in its very first year.
CrowdStrike’s Kurtz will reunite with fellow Le Mans winner Braun, and the line-up will be completed by 2022 ELMS LMP3 Champion Jakobsen.
“We are very excited about participating in our first Asian Le Mans season and are looking forward to experiencing new tracks and facing new competition,” said Kurtz. “This marks the first time a fully CrowdStrike-branded car competes in a full season in the region, and our team is locked in to perform at the highest level. CrowdStrike Racing by APR earned a Le Mans win and an IMSA Championship already this season, and APR has a history of success in the Asian Le Mans Series. We will keep our heads down and work towards our goal like we would in any race series.”
Braun, who has three Rolex 24 at Daytona wins to his name, including one in LMP2, added: “I’m very excited to be joining CrowdStrike Racing by APR’s entry in the 2023-24 Asian Le Mans Series. Certainly, after a huge win in the Centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, we have some good momentum and confidence in our programme.
“The entire team sure knows how to put together a fast car. I’m personally looking forward to learning new circuits, and having Malthe’s experience will be a huge asset. I know George (Kurtz) and I will be working hard on the simulator to prepare.”
Twenty-year-old Jakobsen was crowned 2022 ELMS Champion shortly before being selected as a Junior Driver for Team Peugeot TotalEnergies in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
The Danish teenager is actively contributing to the development of the ground-breaking Peugeot 9X8 Hypercar by participating in test days and simulator sessions at the French car brand’s factory.
However, in an effort to maximise his racing experience, he graduated to an LMP2 race seat in the 2023 Asian Le Mans Series, achieving an overall win before accruing Pro-Am trophies in the ELMS and at the Centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Looking ahead to his third consecutive Asian Le Mans campaign, Jakobsen points to CrowdStrike Racing by APR’s successes on both sides of the Atlantic and the strength of its driver line-up as reasons to be optimistic, and he believes his prior experience at Sepang in the 2018-19 Formula 4 South East Asia Championship could give him a slight advantage over much of the competition.
“I’m delighted to be going back into the Asian Le Mans Series after a successful season last time around, and I’m happy to be doing it with CrowdStrike Racing by APR,” said Jakobsen. “The team won the LMP2 Pro-Am class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans Centenary and has been incredibly fast in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, in which it won the Michelin Endurance Cup and Jim Trueman Cup that will guarantee an entry to the 2024 edition of Le Mans.
“Algarve Pro has also won the European Le Mans Series and I believe the team will provide a competitive package, and there’s even more reason to be optimistic when you consider I have George (Kurtz) and Colin (Braun) as my teammates. I always try to be realistic and not overshoot what’s possible, but I strongly believe we can win the championship and the automatic Le Mans entry, which is the main driving force.”