2013 was the year of David Cheng, taking the inaugural Asian Le Mans Series for OAK Racing Team Total.
Cheng narrowly took the title from KCMG rival James Winslow, beating the British driver to the top spot by just two points, which was also the case between OAK Racing and KCMG in the Teams’ Standings.
“2013 has been the best year of my motorsports career so far,” said Cheng. “Winning a LMS title anywhere in the world is an incredible achievement in itself. But to be crowned the first ever champion in the top class of the inaugural year of the Asian Le Mans Series is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Especially for me being a Chinese driver to win an Asian title means more than any other LMS title.
“So for my Career this ranks at the top, but also for winning my first race of the season in the 12 Hours of Sebring in the American Le Mans series would rank second on that list. And at number three would be our Winning our China home race in the Asian Le Mans Series at the 3 hours of Zhuhai.”
The first two races of the season went the way of KCMG and Winslow, but the tables turned at the halfway stage, with Cheng taking victory in the third round at Zhuhai and sitting just four points off Winslow in the points, setting up a thrilling closing race in Sepang.
“We knew we only had one way to win the championship which was to win the race,” explained Cheng. “I was on a good pace but after multiple laps of side by side battles with Winslow, I used up too much of my Michelin tires and was unable to advance further up the field. The team readjusted our race strategy and took a gamble and my Co driver Ho Pin Tung basically drove consistent qualifying laps the rest of the race to retake the lead and open up a insurmountable gap.
“The 3 Hours of Sepang race was probably our greatest challenge of this season as it all came down to this and all the odds were stacked against us. But what gave us our edge with the people involved in our program. Every single crew member of our Oak Racing Total team gave it their all. Ho Pin Tung who went above and beyond what we thought our Morgan-Judd LMP2 on the Michelin tires is capable of.”
As a result of winning the LMP2 category – the highest category in the AsLMS – Cheng and OAK Racing will now receive an invitation to compete in the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans along with defending his crown as the 2013 AsLMS Champion.
“For me this off season is a chance for me to better myself for the challenges of the next,” he concluded. “The greatest Victory is the one over ourselves. I will also be looking to put together a comprehensive testing and simulator program. We’re already close to putting our partners in place for next year and you can count on me returning even stronger and better for 2014.”