Kiwi driver Mitch Evans and the British sportscar team JOTA Sport have achieved another fantastic result in the world’s toughest motor race. Having won the LM P2 category in the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hour race, JOTA finished close runners-up in this year’s gruelling event. Simon Dolan, Oliver Turvey and Evans swept their Gibson-Nissan home from the back of the field after an early drama to the front in the annual French “classic” over the weekend.
The trio clocked up 358-laps, 3,031-miles at an average speed of 126.20mph in the twice-around-the-clock marathon – finishing second – a mere 48.182secs behind the winning LM P2 car – and 10th overall.
JOTA’s 2014 Le Mans victors Dolan and Turvey were joined on this occasion by GP2 Series driver Mitch Evans. The protégé of ex-Formula One race winner and Porsche “factory” driver Mark Webber was experiencing only his second career sportscar race – the Kiwi GP2 and GP3 race winner having won his first with JOTA last month (2 May) in the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
“It has been a huge team effort,” commented Evans. “Everyone knuckled down and fought back really hard. We were all disappointed with what happened just after the start when a very small component let us down.”
“However it was really cool to be part of the recovery. We recovered so much time especially during the night. Simon did a great job. Olly was fantastic and I was happy to put quite a bit of time in as well. The strategy was spot on with Sam and the boys. It’s been a great experience.”
Turvey started the No38 Gibson-Nissan, christened #Mighty38, from fourth place on the LM P2 grid – row seven of the capacity 56-car grid around the high-speed 8.47-mile track. He completed the opening lap third but pitted to rectify a gearshift gremlin from eighth place after just over 30mins dropping to 18th in the 19-car LM P2 field and crucially over one lap behind.
But clean and consistently fast stints by all three drivers had the Gibson in to seventh place by midnight. With seven hours remaining, the British team was inside the top-three – their progress only briefly delayed with a puncture during the early hours – and then into second place on 100mins.
Since 2012, the JOTA Gibson has competed in 22 races (European Le Mans Series & FIA World Endurance Championship) and achieved 13 podiums – including five wins.
Dolan will be joined by JOTA’s European Le Mans Series regulars Filipe Albuquerque and Harry Tincknell for the team’s next race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria (12 July). Albuquerque and Tincknell were each on “factory” duty with Audi Sport and Nissan NISMO respectively at Le Mans.
Media: SB Networks