JMW Motorsport Spa Race Report

Spa-Francorchamps circuit

A frustrating weekend for JMW Motorsport at the 2nd Round of the Le Mans Series but, their pace remains beyond doubt.

It was a frustrating race for the JMW Motorsport team at the 1000kms of Spa this weekend, which was the second race of the 2011 Le Mans Series Championship.

Fresh from their victory at the opening round of the series, the team continued to show competitive pace at Spa through the practice sessions, culminating with Rob Bell securing 2nd place on the LM GTE Pro grid in Friday’s qualifying session.

This speed and determination was carried though into Saturday’s race, with the team always at the business end of the LM GTE Pro battle which generated a great see-saw battle between the JMW Motorsport Ferrari 458 and the AF Corse Ferrari 458s. JMW Motorsport took the lead as a real battle royale developed, one in which tyres played an even more vital role than usual, and the Dunlops on the JMW Motorsport car were proving excellent. The strong first stint pace of Rob Bell was continued by James Walker when he took the wheel for his first stint. As a newcomer to the series, such was the level of James’ performance that some commentators even wondered whether Rob was double stinting and on confirmation it was James they were rightly impressed by the Jersey driver’s abilities, even more so when you consider this is only his second LMS race and first sportscar outing at the formidable Spa circuit!

#66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F458 Italia: Rob Bell, James Walker
#66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F458 Italia: Rob Bell, James Walker

Photo by: Lucien Harmegnies

The battle for the lead of the LM GTE Pro class looked set to continue unabated in Rob’s second stint but a full course yellow was called following an incident involving one of the prototype cars. The safety car laps bunched and slowed the field and shortly after returning to green flag status, Rob passed Fisichella for second then had a kerb discussion but was able to continue on pace but a few laps later unseen damage began to make itself known and Rob had to return the pits for remedial on the radiator system. As always the term made a sterling effort to get the car back on track for the remainder of the race and took around just 30 minutes to carry out the work. Back in the race both James and Rob continued where they had left off with some remarkable lap times. Rob certainly vented any demons setting the 2nd fastest lap of the entire race in the closing half an hour, reminding all that JMW Motorsport remain a force to be reckoned with this season!

Though down the order the Team still placed and so scored vital Championship points. After two rounds of the Le Mans Series the team are lying third in the Team Championship table with just 7 points covering the top three.

Jim McWhirter, Team Principal, “Once again an outstanding Team effort did not get its due reward - our Dunlop tyres were again superb and are vital to our success combined with committed driving by Rob and James supported by the best Team in the paddock lead by Steve Bunkhall and Davey Nicholas . Thank you to our loyal sponsors and supporters- we shall be back stronger and more determined at Imola with a little matter of Le Mans in between!”

-source: jmw motorsport

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About this article
Series Le Mans , European Le Mans
Drivers Rob Bell , James Walker
Teams AF Corse , JMW Motorsport
Tags bell, jmw motorsport, spa, walker