Donington: Zytek race report

Zytek 06S proves fast throughout the race - holding the lead several times - only to retire in the latter stages with a failed clutch. After a highly impressive qualifying, Japanese driver Hideki Noda began the Donington round of the Le Mans ...

Zytek 06S proves fast throughout the race - holding the lead several times - only to retire in the latter stages with a failed clutch.

After a highly impressive qualifying, Japanese driver Hideki Noda began the Donington round of the Le Mans Series 2nd on the grid. In the charge to the first corner Noda flatspotted his tyres on the first corner preventing him from keeping up with the pace of the race leaders. After dropping down the field, Stefan Johansson took over the wheel in 10th position for a charge back up the field.

At the 1.5 hour mark, the Zytek-engined #24 Binnie Motorsport spun off the track following a puncture, throwing debris on the track and bringing the safety car out. Johansson was quick to bring the 06S in for fuel, resulting in a move up the field to 3rd position when the safety car came into the pits.

Johansson immediately began clocking impressive lap times, taking the 06S from third to first position 2.5 hours into the race. Following the amazing drive from Johansson, Noda began his 2nd stint, with time lost for tyre changes and refuelling putting him back on the track in 3rd position. Remaining in the car for a second stint, Noda pushed hard every lap, maintaining the leaders' very competitive pace.

At the 4 hour mark Noda led the race, clocking lap times fast enough to keep the lead from the Pescarolo by just over 2 seconds. Bringing the 06S in to the pits for Johansson to take over, a routine tyre change proved problematic, the left rear wheel refusing to come off due to a seized wheel pin. Losing a lap in the pits with the tyre change, Johansson went back out in 3rd, a lap down on the leader.

Just a few laps later Johansson returned to the pits, only for the car to be pushed into the garage and retire from the race. The failure of the clutch on the 06S was the reason for the retirement, with irreparable damage to the oil tank.

Zytek Motorsport race director Trevor Foster was disappointed with the result after such a great performance in the first four hours, "It is so frustrating for something like this to happen when we were having such a great race. The car had been faultless throughout the race for over four hours and then something out of our control happens. We are all disappointed because we were heading for a podium finish."

Swedish driver Stefan Johansson on the car's performance said "The more I drive the 06S, the more impressed I am with it. I was able to put us in the lead because of the sheer speed and handling of the car, it is just a shame that I didn't have the opportunity to challenge for the lead again in the final hour of the race."

The Zytek-engined Binnie Motorsport team finished the six hour race on the podium, 3rd in LMP2.

-credit: zytek

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Series ELMS