Australian GT duo set for Asian LMP2 switch

The Algarve Pro Racing Ligier LMP2

The Algarve Pro Racing Ligier LMP2

Australian GT Championship drivers James Winslow and Dean Koutsoumidis will combine to contest the LMP2 class of the Asian Le Mans Series.

Winslow, a two-time Australian Formula 3 champion, and amateur GT racer Koutsoumidis will join Portuguese outfit Algarve Pro Racing, who have recently purchased a former TDS Racing Ligier Nissan LMP2.

British sportscar racer Michael Munemann will team up with the pair for the Asian Le Mans Series tilt.

A long time driver coach to Koutsoumidis, Winslow will spearhead the team’s assault having finished second in the 2013 Asian Le Mans Series driving for the KCMG operation.

The Brit will also join Algarve Pro Racing’s assault on the final three rounds of the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) alongside Munemann and former Auto GP driver Andrea Roda.

Dean Koutsoumidis and James Winslow enjoyed success in Australian GT

Dean Koutsoumidis and James Winslow enjoyed success in Australian GT

“It’s good to be back in the European Le Mans Series which is a year and half plan,” Winslow told Speedcafe.com.

“Dean (Koutsoumidis) was very keen to do Asian Le Mans and he is doing a really good job in the car and it has all come together.

“The reason we are doing ELMS and Asian Le Mans Series is to try and get an entry for the team into the Le Mans 24 Hours.”

The deal presents a huge challenge for Koutsoumidis having never raced an LMP2 machine previously.

The 43-year-old has spent the majority of his racing career competing in the Australian GT Championship, but has been a long time admirer of prototype sportscars.

A successful test in the Ligier at Jerez earlier this year signalled the move to compete in the Asian Le Mans Series.

“I still have to pinch myself to be honest,” Koutsoumidis told Speedcafe.com.

“They (prototypes) are wonderful cars and to be able to race one with a team that competes in the European Le Mans Series, a real top outfit is very exciting.

“Where it will go I don’t know. I know the team has got plans for ELMS and the Le Mans 24 Hours but I have been very clear that we take it step by step and that’s why I want to do the Asian Le Mans Series first.

“The car isn’t overwhelmingly daunting mainly because James has been training me in a V8 Radical sportscar.

“Hopping into the LMP2 and the tricks to driving them are similar to what you have to do in the Radical.

“Le Mans is a target for me but it is a Mount Everest feat.

“If Asian Le Mans turns out to be a good experience the next target would be to do the European Le Mans Series.”

Winslow and Koutsoumidis are due to conduct a four day test in Europe next month as final preparation for the Asian Le Mans Series opener at the Fuji Speedway FIA World Endurance meeting on October 10-11.

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