Jota Sport leaves it late to line up third at Le Mans

All three Jota Sport drivers, Oliver Turvey, Simon Dolan, and Lucas Luhr, performed impeccably in the tricky conditions that caught out a number of their class rivals.

Jota Sport will line up third on the LMP2 class grid for this weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours thanks to Oliver Turvey’s excellent late flying lap during this evening’s night qualifying session at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

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

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

The Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes Formula 1 Test Driver, who shares the team’s #38 Zytek-Nissan with Simon Dolan and Lucas Luhr, made the most of the dry conditions late in the final session to initially vault up to second place in the ultra-competitive LMP2 category, before a late improvement elsewhere left the British squad a still-impressive third.

Wednesday night and Thursday evening’s sessions had taken place on either a damp or wet circuit, and although that remained the case at the start of final qualifying, the track quickly improved as the night wore on. A late stoppage to clear debris then left less than 30 minutes to make the most of the week’s best conditions, and Turvey didn’t disappoint: not only was the Briton’s 3m40.459s lap good enough for third in class but it also put Jota ahead of its ELMS rivals.

What is more, all three drivers performed impeccably in the tricky conditions that caught out a number of their class rivals, allowing the team to enjoy a well deserved rest day tomorrow ahead of Saturday and Sunday’s main event.

Simon Dolan: “Out of 12 hours of scheduled running this week I’ve managed four timed laps! Red flags at the wrong time, sessions ending early and our need to run through the programme didn’t help matters. But the car feels good and that’s been translated into starting P3. So bearing in mind where we were 20 minutes before the end I’m very pleased!”

Oliver Turvey: “The conditions have been tricky and we’d not had a lot of track time before the last 30 minutes of qualifying. However, I’m pleased to be third even if pole position was perhaps a possibility on a fresh tyre run. But we’ve focused on the race, which ultimately is the most important thing. This is my first Le Mans and driving at night has been the biggest surprise, but also very special.”

Lucas Luhr: “It was difficult for everyone with the changing conditions and red flags, but that’s Le Mans. From our point of view we still need to work on the set-up a little bit. We’re almost there as it’s just a case of fine-tuning during Saturday’s warm-up and we’ll be in good shape for the race. It’s going to be an exciting battle, but also the toughest we’ve had this year in LMP2. It’s the strongest category and I’m looking forward to it.”

Sam Hignett, Team Principal: We wanted to be in the top six so to be starting third is a great effort. There have been no dramas, the car’s in one piece and it’s been reliable so it’s gone exactly according to plan thus far. Most of the preparations have been done – what you saw out there tonight was pretty much the car that will line up on Saturday. Overall I couldn’t have asked for much more.”

Dolan, Turvey and Luhr can now look forward to the traditional Drivers’ Parade through the centre of Le Mans tomorrow ahead of Saturday’s 24 Hours, which starts at 3pm local time.

Jota Sport

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Lucas Luhr , Eric Gilbert , Sam Hignett , Oliver Turvey , Simon Dolan
Teams Nissan Motorsport , Jota Sport
Article type Qualifying report
Tags dolan, jota sport, lemans, luhr, turvey, zytek-nissan