KUALA LUMPUR: Former Le Mans and Formula One driver Alex Yoong is confident that Jazeman Jaafar, Weiron Tan and Nabil Jeffri will achieve a podium finish at the season opening round of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium this weekend.
Alex believes the trio should not have much difficulty making the step up from the Asia Le Mans Series (ALMS) to WEC as they are all highly experienced drivers with a strong background in formula racing.
"I expect them to be on the podium right off the bat. They are experienced enough and are what I consider to be complete drivers in terms of driving education," said Alex, who is also the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) head of driver development.
"I do not want to say they are going to win (immediately) but I expect them to be competitive and challenging for podiums and wins.
"With a bit of luck they could even win a World Championship (title) this year, they are good enough to do it."
Jazeman, Nabil, Weiron and Afiq Ikhwan Yazid, who are under the SIC Talent Development Programme, will be rotated for WEC this year which features eight rounds this season, two of which will be at Le Mans.
They will continue driving for Jack Chan DC Racing, with whom they had competed with during ALMS last season, though have been given a more powerful car — Oreca 07 — to use in the LMP2 class of WEC. They had previously used the less powerful Oreca 05 in ALMS.
"It (Oreca 07) was competitive in previous years. I have not been following the testing times enough to know if it still is but I have been speaking to the drivers and they are happy with how it is going so far," added Alex.
The second round of WEC will be held at Le Mans on June 16.
Alex had competed in the prestigious 24-hour race at Le Mans in the 2006 and 2007 seasons. His team finished fifth in the LMP1 class in 2007.