Asian LMS

Newly formed 99 Racing team lining up for 2023 Asian Le Mans Series

Asian Le Mans Series
27 Jan. 2023 • 23:45
The newly formed 99 Racing team is lining up for the 2023 Asian Le Mans Series with a sole ORECA 07 LMP2 prototype.

The #98 car with its striking black, red and white livery, will be piloted by 2021 Asian Le Mans runner-up Ben Barnicoat, ex-Formula 1 driver Nikita Mazepin and Bronze-graded Spaniard Felix Porteiro, and they face a record-breaking, high-calibre 48-car entry that consists of nine LMP2 prototypes.


As in 2021 and 2022, this year’s Asian Le Mans calendar encompasses two four-hour races on consecutive days at Dubai Autodrome (11-12 February) and back-to-back contests at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi (18-19 February). 


Barnicoat, who finished a close second overall in the 2021 Asian Le Mans points, said: "I’m really excited to be driving for 99 Racing in this year’s Asian Le Mans Series with Nikita and Felix. I was teammates with Nikita back in Formula 3 so it will be fun to team up with him again for his first experience of endurance sportscar racing. Felix has been great to work with so far, and I feel we have an extremely strong line-up and team in 99 Racing for the championship. I am very grateful to Lexus Racing USA for allowing me to compete in the Asian Le Mans Series, in which I came second during the 2021 season. I am definitely coming back with some unfinished business, confident we can all achieve the win."


Mazepin said: "I am delighted to be making my return to racing in the Asian Le Mans Series. Together with my teammates at 99 Racing, I’m hoping to have a great experience competing in the sport I love."


Porteiro, who returns to racing after a 14-year hiatus, having previously ascended the single-seater ladder to the GP2 Series between 2001 and 2006 before contesting the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) until 2009, added: "I am so happy for this big challenge after 14 years without racing and I can’t wait for the Asian Le Mans season to start. I want to say thanks to 99 Racing for this opportunity. The team members are very professional and my teammates are so experienced, I am sure they will do a great job. I hope to learn as much as possible from both Ben and Nikita. Let's go!"


Dan Hodder, 99 Racing Sporting Director, said: “We’re happy to confirm that we’ll be entering the Asian Le Mans Series. It is a great championship for 99 Racing to launch into sportscar racing, which is currently going through a resurgence. With 48 entries, it is once again a highly competitive field.


“As Ben previously finished runner-up in the Asian le Mans, he will be a key component of us getting up-to-speed as the new team on the block. Of course, it’s an opportunity for Nikita to try something new in a professional yet more relaxed environment to what he’s accustomed to in Formula 1, and we can already see his desire and commitment to be competitive from the outset. For Felix to be making a comeback to racing is also a touching story, and we’re delighted to give him that opportunity.”


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