ELMS pace-setters in major car rebuild following Silverstone crash
“New boy” Gené joins fit again Dolan and regular co-driver Tincknell
Three-time Spa 6 Hour outright race winner Marc Gené makes his JOTA Sport debut alongside regular drivers Simon Dolan and Harry Tincknell with the trio looking to earn the British team a third consecutive Spa “podium”.
JOTA won the LMP2 class in the corresponding race in 2012 and finished third last year with this year’s Spa race on Saturday (3 May) marking the Kent-based team’s first of two FIA World Endurance Championship outings this year.
Doctors have declared Dolan fit, despite the massive front impact accident he suffered when leading the opening European Le Mans Series race on Easter Saturday, to join WEC debutant and Silverstone “pole” setter Tincknell alongside ultra-experienced Audi Sport “factory” driver Gené who has been loaned to JOTA for this race and the Le Mans 24 Hours.
While the Zytek Z11SN sportscar’s strength and build quality prevented any serious injuries to Dolan, not surprisingly a new monocoque is being utilised in Belgium.
Practice and qualifying are staged on Friday (2 May) with the race scheduled to start at 1.30pm (BST) on Saturday.
Simon Dolan (GB). Age 44. Born: Chelmsford, Essex. Lives: Monaco (MC):
“Spa has been quite kind to me. I raced there first in a Radical in 2009 and got a class win there in 2012 in the FIA WEC race. I followed that up with third in LMP2 in the same race last year.
“It is my favourite track. Very fast, flowing and a real challenge. This year the straight line speed of the GTE cars will mean that lapping traffic will be more difficult than usual. Personally I’ll be making sure I give any Ferrari a very wide birth after what happened at Silverstone!
“I am very excited to have Marc racing with JOTA Sport for the first time. His experience will mean he will be very quick through the traffic and I hope Harry and I can learn from this. I am near 100% fit after the Silverstone shunt but whatever state I'm in, I shall only be happy with a class victory.”
Marc Gené (ES). Age 40. Born: Sabadell (ES). Lives: Barcelona (ES):
“Spa is one of my favourite tracks together with Le Mans and Monza. I like circuits with high speed corners and clearly Eau Rouge, Pouhon and even the “Bus Stop”, are very fast corners.
“The scenery is very special – it’s like driving very fast through a forest. Meanwhile the change of elevation makes this circuit unique in Europe. My debut there was in 1993 in European Formula Ford. After that I drove there
in 1999 and 2000 in Formula One with Minardi. More recently I have been very successful at Spa with Peugeot and Audi, winning twice with the former and once with Audi on my race debut for them.
“My main objective is to gain experience with JOTA Sport and the Zytek LMP2 for Le Mans but I will still be targeting a podium at Spa but also with a winning mindset!”
Harry Tincknell (GB). Age: 22. Born: Exeter, Devon. Lives: Sidmouth, Devon (GB):
“I first raced at Spa in 2011 then again in 2012 both times in Formula Three. I've recorded top-six finishes there but have yet to get on the podium and that is a minimum achievement for me this time!
“It is an ‘old school’ track and I am really looking forward to going there in an LMP2 sportscar. Spa has its own micro climate and in both my previous visits, it was rarely dry. I have yet to drive the Zytek in the wet but I’m certain I will have my first experience of that at some point in Spa!
“We have a good chance of winning. The Silverstone ELMS race proved that we are a force to be reckoned with. Our pace appeared to be better than the LMP2 cars competing in the Silverstone WEC race the same weekend.
“JOTA Sport has a good record at Spa and so does Marc [Gené] while Simon [Dolan] was ultra-competitive at Silverstone. A podium should be the minimum target while a win is certainly not unrealistic.”
Sam Hignett. Partner, JOTA Group:
“JOTA Sport goes to Spa with a good record. In the 2010 Spa 24 Hours we won the GT4 class, while in the corresponding WEC races there we’ve scored a win  and a third  in LMP2.
“Due to Simon’s unfortunate Silverstone accident, we’ll be using ‘tub’ No9 which is the monocoque we used in 2012 and ’13 so it already has a pretty good track record at Spa!
“We carry a complete set of spares at our race shop so the actual car build since Silverstone was relatively routine. The time consuming element was getting the spares replenished, dry fitted, built up and liveried.
“After all of the team’s hard work since Silverstone, it would be nice to reward them with a top-three finish at the very least and I believe in Harry, Marc and Simon along with the Zytek, we have a combination quite capable of doing that at our first WEC race of 2014.”