Asia-based F1 team announce entry bid by 2026 season

'LKY Sunz' has secured significant investment from US-based Legends Advocates Sports Group.
  • Appears to be a rebrand of the Panthera Team Asia F1 Team project
  • Team aims to be wholly operational outside of Europe
  • Planned base in South East Asia promises net zero emissions
  • LKY Sunz has pledged to provide motorsport opportunities to underrepresented communites

LKY Sunz, an operation based in South East Asia, has announced its intention to enter Formula One by the 2026 season.

The team has announced its application will be submitted to the International Automobile Federation (FIA) by the end of May, with a target of starting racing in either the 2025 or 2026 seasons.

The operation describes itself as an ‘entertainment and youth-culture focused motorsports team’, and has secured significant investment from US-based sports fund Legends Advocates Sports Group.

The goal is for the team to become wholly operational outside Europe, forging links to inner city communities across North America, Asia and Africa.

LKY Sunz appears to represent a rebrand of the former Panthera Team Asia F1 Team project, which first emerged as an interested party back in 2019.

Benjamin Durand, Andrew Pyrah and Paul Fleming – all involved at board level with the former entry bid – have been announced as co-founders of this new project.

Durand and Pyrah retain their chief executive and chief commercial officer roles from Panthera, while Fleming transitions to chairman of the operation.

In a statement, the team claims to have a ‘commitment to providing underrepresented communities opportunities in motorsport’. The team has partnered with Chris Miles, founder of Starting Grid, to assist in forging pathways with underrepresented communities.

“We are excited to see our investors share our vision of fusing youth culture and racing to create a team that will disrupt Formula One,” said Durand.

“The sport's popularity has grown exponentially and every current stakeholder in the sport has been responsible for that, but our guiding principle is to bring something different into the sport to appeal to new audiences.

“By being the only team operating outside the traditional F1 corridors and developing bespoke programmes to attract talent from underrepresented communities, we can bring a diversity of thought yet to be seen in Formula One.

“We of course aim to be competitive on the track but we also commit to entertaining fans off the track. We have already onboarded an impressive team of motorsport executives, music and entertainment industry experts and creatives who will help bring this vision to life”

LKY Sunz intends to build a net zero emissions facility in South East Asia in time for the planned entry to Formula One, but until then its race cars will be constructed in Europe.