Richard Bradley, Matt Howson and Nick Tandy fought a gripping battle and delivered a stellar comeback.
The seventh round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) witnessed KC Motorgroup Ltd. (KCMG) clinch a superb podium finish after the Hong Kong-based LMP2 outfit concluded the series’ arduous six-hour thriller in third place at Shanghai International Circuit. In tricky circuit conditions, Richard Bradley, Matt Howson and Nick Tandy fought a gripping battle and delivered a stellar comeback, highlighting the team's commanding performance to recover from an early setback.
KCMG set the pace during Friday’s free practice sessions and went on to place the #47 LMP2 in second position on the starting grid, after Howson and Tandy posted an average time of 1:53.345s during the qualifying run. The race started under the safety car due to torrential conditions at Shanghai on Sunday. Nick Tandy was off to a strong start in the #47 ORECA 05, but unfortunately got stranded after spinning off track at T10. The British ace rejoined the race and weaved his way several places up the field by the end of the first hour.
I believe that we have a very strong chance in Bahrain.
Multiple red and full course yellow flags were called throughout the race, impeding the team’s aim to challenge for further positions at the front. As the race went past its halfway mark, the #47 LMP2 started to gain ground with Richard Bradley delivering impressive lap times. With an hour and half remaining on the clock, Tandy took over driver duties with the ORECA 05 still two laps behind. True to form, Tandy’s pace was peerless and posted super quick times as the race entered its final hour - logging the class’ fastest time of 1:55.560 in the process. By then, KCMG was back in the top 4 and was steadily challenging for the podium.
With eight minutes left on the clock, Tandy was chasing the #28 Ligier to take third position when a full course yellow was once again called due to a car spinning off track. As the race restarted, the Le Mans 24 champion continued his hunt and was just a few seconds behind G-Drive Racing’s Ricardo Gonzalez’s Ligier when the #28 LMP2 spun off track, allowing Tandy to ultimately grab third position at the end of the dramatic six-hour race at Shanghai.
Richard Bradley: “It was a good result for us under the circumstances to come from two laps down to third place. All three of us did a very good job and to come back to this position is fantastic, it keeps our championship hopes alive and I believe that we have a very strong chance in Bahrain.”
Matt Howson: "There's something about KCMG and the Shanghai race that throws up surprises and this one was no different! After our earlier incident and going 2 odd laps down it was an amazing fightback from the drivers and team who played a clever strategy to get us back on the podium and keep us well in contention for the championship. Thank you to all at KCMG for another excellent team performance."
Nick Tandy: “At the end the result was better than expected because we had really good pace in the wet and dry conditions. We put pressure on the #28 car and was challenging for the position, in the end they made a mistake so we picked up points. Now we’re still within good chance of the championship come Bahrain, so I’m very much looking forward to the last round of the season and hopefully seal the championship.”
Erich Kolb, KCMG WEC Team Manager: “The start of the race was trying for us, but in the end Nick did an outstanding job to catch up and finally we finished third in class. The championship is still open and we head to Bahrain with an intention to do better and win the LMP2 title.”
KCMG currently sits second in the LMP2 standings with 137 points.