Weiron Tan has been given the opportunity to chase his ‘childhood dream’ this year and next, competing for Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and Le Mans 24 Hours as part of the prestigious, newly-formed SIC Motorsports Talent Development initiative.
From a single-seater background, Tan has increasingly established himself as a future sportscar star in recent seasons, challenging at the front of the field in the China GT Championship before making his LMP2 class debut in the Asian Le Mans Series earlier this year, turning heads by reaching the top step of the rostrum first time out.
The 23-year-old’s eye-catching success was shared with countrymen Jazeman Jaafar and Afiq Ikhwan Yazid – the trio making history in securing the maiden victory for an all-Malaysian crew – and now Tan is targeting even more attention-grabbing headlines as he graduates to endurance racing’s premier global series.
The highly-rated Malaysian Chinese racer’s programme was confirmed during a press conference held in Kuala Lumpur, at which Sepang International Circuit (SIC) officially unveiled the 14 drivers and riders to join its inaugural Motorsports Talent Development scheme.
Tan will team up once again with Jaafar and Yazid – as well as former FIA Formula 2 Championship ace Nabil Jeffri – to fly the Malaysian flag in WEC’s fiercely-disputed LMP2 category as the series speeds towards its 2018/19 ‘Super Season’, which will feature eight races including two editions of the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours.
The campaign will rev into life with the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium in early May, prior to which teams will have the opportunity to assess the opposition during the pre-season Prologue test at Paul Ricard in southern France on 6/7 April. To say that Tan is keen to get out on-track would be quite the understatement.
“I feel extremely honoured and blessed right now,” remarked the erstwhile Caterham F1 Academy member. “I’m hugely excited to be contesting the WEC Super Season with Jackie Chan DC Racing, and absolutely stoked to be part of Sepang International Circuit’s first-ever all-Malaysian driver line-up in the series and at Le Mans.
“Competing at a world-class level was a childhood dream of mine, and here we are, ready to do battle at the pinnacle of international endurance racing! Massive thanks to SIC and Jackie Chan DC Racing for making this happen.
“Racing for the team in the Asian Le Mans Series was a lot of fun. The time we spent together in the last two rounds gave me the opportunity to bond with everybody, and it’s a nice feeling knowing I’m going to be racing with the same guys in WEC. I have full confidence in them, as I hope they have in me. I believe the combination we have is a very good one, and I’m very much looking forward to our assault this year!”
Tan’s optimism is shared by SIC Chief Executive Officer Datuk Razlan Razali, who has high hopes for his young protégés and explains that all four earned their places on the programme entirely on merit.
“The dream to see Malaysian riders or drivers competing at World Championship level is no longer just a dream,” he enthused. “The investment is huge, but we have secured a formidable team in Jackie Chan DC Racing – who finished first and second in the LMP2 class at Le Mans last year – and we certainly have faith in Jazeman, Weiron, Afiq and Nabil.
“They produced some impressive achievements in the Asian Le Mans Series earlier this year, and I hope to see them doing the same in WEC. We believe they have the qualities to shine, and the expectation is for them to all perform exceptionally well.”
“I am very happy with our full Malaysian driver line-up and the massive support from Sepang International Circuit for our No.37 car,” added Jackie Chan DC Racing Co-Founder, David Cheng. “All four drivers showed their speed, ability, commitment and work ethic in the Asian Le Mans Series and all four are very capable of delivering for the team. I believe we can achieve great results and we are really looking forward to kicking off the season at the Prologue.”