Circuit de la Sarthe
Jota Sport AMR disappointed with early Le Mans exit
Official Aston Martin Racing partner team Jota Sport AMR were bitterly disappointed to make their earliest-ever exit from a Le Mans 24 Hours when an engine problem ended their involvement with just six-and-a-half hours gone.
Simon Dolan, Sam Hancock and Chris Buncombe had shown strong pace during their time on track to place the British team’s #79 Aston Martin Vantage GT2 as high as fifth in the ultra-competitive GTE Pro class.
After contending with a lengthy Safety Car period early on, Hancock handed the car over to Le Mans debutant Dolan who belied his inexperience by setting consistent lap times in traffic, before Buncombe began his first stint behind the wheel.
The team’s intention was to take a conservative approach during the race’s opening quarter in the hope of picking up places as the high attrition rate came into play. Unfortunately a considerable problem with the engine put paid to that strategy and although the Jota Sport and AMR mechanics worked tirelessly to remedy the issue, it was soon obvious that the car’s race was run.
Simon Dolan: “It’s such a shame to see a fantastic week end on a low note like that. The guys in the garage have all worked incredibly hard and my co-drivers have both been brilliant, but it just wasn’t to be in the end. I’ve certainly got the bug now though so hopefully this won’t be my last appearance here.”
Sam Hancock: “There’s only one word to describe my feelings right now and that’s gutted! Everything was looking really good but unfortunately six hours was all we could manage. The car was great all week and, despite the fierce competition in GTE Pro, we genuinely felt we had a chance to make an impression.”
Chris Buncombe: “I’ve had a great time with the team these past seven days. They’re a fantastic bunch so I’m as disappointed for them as myself that we couldn’t go any further. Hopefully the team feel the same way about my performance so perhaps there’s an opportunity to continue the relationship.”
Sam Hignett, Team Principal: “The team were desperately disappointed to go out so early. It’s the first time we haven’t made nightfall in five appearances at Le Mans. Up until that point our pace had been good and we hadn’t suffered a major reliability issue all week. Although we’re all down about the way it ended, we have to look at those positives and move forward. I’d like to reserve a special mention for Simon whose performance on his first visit to Le Mans has been remarkable. Don’t forget this was a guy who four years ago had never driven a racing car. That he’s now here and capable of turning in the lap times he did is a fantastic achievement.”
-source: jota sport amr