All four 2014 team drivers gain valuable mileage & experience in France.
JOTA Sport returns to its UK base this weekend in a buoyant mood and counting down the days to its opening race after enjoying a successful two-day test at Paul Ricard.
Filipe Albuquerque, Simon Dolan, Marc Gené and Harry Tincknell clocked up over 1,000 miles between them during the European Le Mans Series official test in the South of France (1-2 Apr).
The opening ELMS race is staged at Silverstone (19 April) – a four-hour race the Kent-based team won last year with its Zytek Z11SN.
Filipe Albuquerque (P). Age 28. Born & Lives: Coimbra (P): “It was a good test, we went through a set programme and everyone wanted the same thing from the car. We all completed many laps and that was good to gain a rhythm.
“We came away from Ricard happy with our work and ready for Silverstone. I think we have a good trio of drivers for ELMS in Simon, Harry and myself and that’s going to be very important in races of four hour duration.
It was also fantastic to have Marc [Gené] present at Ricard bringing his experience.”
Simon Dolan (GB). Age 44. Born: Chelmsford, Essex. Lives: Monaco (MC): “From my perspective the test was very productive, if not a little challenging at times. The track seemed to have a mind of its own, conditions changing drastically overnight for no apparent reason, which made set-up work difficult. “Marc fitted in perfectly to the team, a lovely guy and a consummate professional as we’d expected. We all had at least 40 laps in the car on the first day and were within 0.3s of one another, so that bodes well for our first race at Silverstone, and of course for Le Mans, which always rewards consistency.”
Marc Gené (ES). Age 40. Born: Sabadell (ES). Lives: Barcelona (ES): “The Ricard test went well and was very positive. It was my first time driving an LMP2 sportscar and I liked it. It’s quite similar to an LMP1 and has good cornering grip but the LMP2 just lacks power, even compared to the GT cars, on the straights. I immediately felt at home with JOTA Sport – it is a very professional team.
“I obviously know Filipe [Albuquerque] from Audi Sport but I was impressed by the competitiveness and times set by team owner Simon [Dolan] and also Harry [Tincknell] taking into account his lack of sportscar experience. Both will be good to drive with at Spa and Le Mans.”
Harry Tincknell (GB). Age: 22. Born: Exeter, Devon. Lives: Sidmouth, Devon (GB): “It was a good test for the team and an invaluable one for myself. We worked through our programme and I believe we’re in excellent shape for Silverstone.
“The test gave me my first experience of driving at night which was very cool and also dealing with the GT traffic which is an art in endurance racing. I learnt a lot from my experienced team-mates which should stand me in good stead for the season ahead.”
Sam Hignett. Partner, JOTA Group: “We began on Le Mans driver combination seat fit as well as driver comfort and familiarisation for Marc then worked on car set-up concentrating on drivability as opposed to outright pace. It was great to have all four drivers in the car and to learn from the enormous experience that Marc brings. Between now and Silverstone there is a lot of car ‘prep’ to be done as well as more and more pit stop practice for the guys.”
Paul Ricard “The Prologue” Test Times
Tuesday (am) 1m 50.407s (P5, Dolan), +1.643 (57 laps)
Tuesday (pm) 1m 50.099s (P5, Albuquerque), +1.757 (52 laps)
Tuesday (night) 1m 50.141s (P4, Gene), +0.360s (46 laps)
Wednesday (am) 1m 50.303s (P6, Albuquerque), +1.046s (74 laps)
Wednesday (pm) 1m 50.844s (P3, Albuquerque) +1.074s (50 laps)
Overall 1m 50.099s (P8, Albuquerque), +1.757 (52 laps)