RLR MSport is set to expand its reach to China, South East Asia and Australia with an assault on the 2019-20 Asian Le Mans Series LMP2 Am Trophy, in a bid to secure a coveted entry to the 88th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Bolton team will field a sole ORECA 05 Nissan for European Le Mans Series (ELMS) regulars John Farano and Arjun Maini, and New Zealand’s LMP2 debutant Andy Higgins for the duration of the four-part season that takes in some of the greatest racetracks in the Asia-Pacific region.
Higgins is a second-generation racer from Auckland and a stalwart of New Zealand’s historic motor racing scene.
He began his career with campaigns in his domestic Formula Ford Championship, before graduating to the Toyota Racing Series NZ in 2005.
However, he went on to set the pace in the MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series, winning the 2014 and 2017-18 championships, although finishing second overall in the F5000 50th anniversary celebration race at Laguna Seca – the biggest gathering of F5000 cars in history – stands as a personal highlight.
Higgins has since gained experience in iconic Group C prototypes from the late Eighties and early Nineties; starting with the Spa Classic in Belgium, he and father Paul achieved a lifetime ambition by contesting the 2018 Le Mans Classic with a Porsche 962C they restored themselves.
In 2017, Higgins finished third in class in the Gulf 12 Hour with a Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo, but the 38-year old is now set to make his modern Le Mans Prototype debut as part of RLR MSport’s maiden Asian Le Mans Series effort.
“I would really like to thank RLR MSport for this opportunity, as I’m really excited about joining the team in the Asian Le Mans Series,” said Higgins. “It’s going to be a big challenge and a massive learning curve, but I’m looking forward to joining John (Farano) and Arjun (Maini), who have been working strongly together in the European Le Mans Series. I’ve got a lot to learn, but I’ll need to get on the pace as quickly as possible.
“The entry is getting stronger each year and the series has certainly gained a lot more traction in New Zealand and Australia, especially since The Bend Motorsport Park was added to the schedule. I will just be focused on doing my absolute best for the team, and I can’t wait to get going in Shanghai.”
The 2019-20 Asian Le Mans Series commences at the Shanghai International Circuit in China (22-24 November) before moving on to The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia (10-12 January), and it concludes with back-to-back races at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit (14-15 February) and Thailand’s Chang International Circuit (21-23 February).
Each venue on the calendar will be unchartered territory for both RLR MSport and its drivers, but the Asian Le Mans Series provides an invaluable opportunity to clock-up countless meaningful miles in competitive conditions, to stay fresh and focused during the long European off-season.