Jota Sport gatecrash podium at Spa-Francorchamps

Jota Sport will continue their preparations for Le Mans during the Official Test Day at Circuit de la Sarthe on June 9, ahead of the race itself on June 22/23.

Simon Dolan, Oliver Turvey and Lucas Luhr maintained Jota Sport’s excellent start to their 2013 endurance season by finishing third in the LMP2 class at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday.

The British squad, which won the opening round of the European Le Mans Series at Silverstone last month, was making a guest appearance at the FIA World Endurance Championship event in Belgium as part of its preparations for the blue riband Le Mans 24 Hours this June.

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

Photo by: XPB Images

12 months ago Jota Sport stunned the FIA WEC regulars by scoring class victory at the Ardennes classic, and the team was once again at the sharp end throughout the weekend thanks to the efforts of Dolan and Turvey, as well as Luhr who was making his debut at the wheel of the #38 Zytek-Nissan ahead of Le Mans.

Although the team narrowly missed out on pole position, Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes Formula 1 Test Driver Turvey began Saturday’s race strongly and ran amongst the top three before an unfortunately timed Safety Car period saw the team lose a lap to the class leaders. Unfazed, Turvey, Dolan and Luhr stuck to their task and, with just 45 minutes remaining, had reduced their arrears to only 21 seconds.

Luhr continued to chase the leaders over his final two stints but ultimately had to settle for third following a late splash and dash for fuel.

Sam Hignett, Jota Sport Team Principal: “Spa has always been good to Jota Sport and that was the case again this weekend. We showed our pace by qualifying just 0.2sec shy of pole position and backed that up with a well-executed race.

Of course there was nothing we could do about the untimely Safety Car; sometimes it works for you and others it doesn’t. But I was delighted with the response of our drivers who performed excellently throughout the race. Lucas quickly gelled with Simon and Ollie, so I’m feeling very confident ahead of Le Mans.”

Simon Dolan: “In the end it was very close and, if I’m honest, the team is feeling a little bit frustrated at the thought of what might have been. It was definitely an opportunity missed but, on the flipside, I’m very proud of everything the team has achieved this weekend after stepping up from the ELMS.

We can go to Le Mans knowing that we have the pace to take on the WEC entries. Lucas’ experience is going to be invaluable and I’ve learnt a lot from him this weekend.”

Oliver Turvey: “I’m pleased to be on the podium again and delighted for the whole team. I’m still learning the ropes in sportscar racing and after the wet weather at Silverstone it’s been really useful getting some dry race mileage here. I also hadn’t triple stinted before today and although you learn something new every time you go out, I do feel as prepared as I can before my first Le Mans. The fact that myself, Simon and Lucas have worked so well together this weekend only gives me even more confidence.”

Lucas Luhr: “I’ve got mixed emotions really. On the one hand I’m very happy to have scored a podium on debut with the team, Simon and Ollie, but on the other the Safety Car essentially ended our hopes of fighting for victory. There’s always room for improvement and we will certainly keep on pushing so that we have every chance of finishing two steps higher at Le Mans.”

Jota Sport will continue their preparations for Le Mans during the Official Test Day at Circuit de la Sarthe on June 9, ahead of the race itself on June 22/23. Before that the team travels to Imola for round two of the European Le Mans Series on May 17/18.

Jota Sport

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About this article
Series WEC
Drivers Lucas Luhr , Sam Hignett , Oliver Turvey , Simon Dolan
Teams Nissan Motorsport , Jota Sport
Article type Race report
Tags dolan, jota sport, luhr, spa, turvey, wec, zytek-nissan