A Zytek-Nissan has won the first race of the European season for Le Mans-style cars. Oliver Turvey and Simon Dolan, sharing the wheel of the Jota Sport-entered Zytek Z11SN, headed the field at the end of Saturday’s rain shortened European Le Mans Series round at Silverstone.

#38 Jota Sport Zytek Z11SN Nissan: Simon Dolan, Oliver Turvey
#38 Jota Sport Zytek Z11SN Nissan: Simon Dolan, Oliver Turvey

Photo by: DPPI

Underlining Zytek’s technical expertise was the fact that the car was powered by a Nissan VK45 engine developed and serviced by the Repton-based concern.

The race, a curtain raiser for the following day’s World Endurance Championship event, was scheduled for three hours.

However, heavy rain conditions initially brought out a safety car and then caused the race to be curtailed at 75 per cent distance. In qualifying for the race, Oliver dominated the opposition with three laps, all of which would have been good enough for pole position. The best of these was eight tenths of a second faster than the opposition.

Initially, Oliver settled into second position in the race. An accident brought out the safety car in the early stages and, with the rain falling, some of the other teams gambled by changing on to wet tyres.

The Jota Zytek stayed out on slicks for a few more laps, meaning that it temporarily lost out when it eventually stopped for wets.

Oliver then relentlessly worked his way back up the field, taking the lead just into the second hour. At the end of his stint, when he pitted to hand over to Simon, he was 43 seconds ahead of the field.

Running wide at Vale corner, Simon nudged the barrier and fell back to second place. Worsening conditions brought out the safety car for a second time roughly half way through the race.

The lead car had to pit again, leaving Jota, with its superior race strategy back in the lead. There it remained until the weather conditions became such that the organisers called a halt to the race after 48 laps.

The Three Hours of Silverstone was the first race of 2013 European Le Mans Series. The championship continues at Imola, Italy on May 17-18 followed by the Red Bull Ring in Austria on July 19-20, the Hungaroring, Hungary (September 13-14) and Paul Ricard, France (September 27-28).