Insight and comments to an epic Le Mans victory by Ho-Pin Tung and Jackie Chan DC Racing
Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport and the #38 ORECA of Ho-Pin Tung, Oliver Jarvis and 19-year-old Thomas Laurent wrote a new page in the motorsport history books as they became the first-ever Chinese team to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, taking victory in the LM P2 class and finishing second overall in the world’s greatest race. Tung is also the first-ever Chinese Le Mans winner in what was a dream race for the team.
The #37 ORECA of David Cheng, Tristan Gommendy and Alex Brundle joined their sister car on the podium, finishing third in LM P2 and fourth overall. With the team’s phenomenal performance at Le Mans, it increased its lead in FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) LM P2 classification.
Team founding partner Jackie Chan said: “How exciting! It’s exactly like when I got an Oscar. Really, watching it live on tv, I’m just sorry I could not be there. But, we won! We now have to continue , work hard for next year and coming years and years.”
LM P2 car leading Le Mans
The #38 ran well in the early stages of the race, but encountered a few issues that forced them to battle back. In the late hours of the night, the team worked its way back up to the front, taking the LM P2 lead and building a gap to its rivals. The #38 would finish two laps clear of its closest rivals.
While the #38 ORECA led the LM P2 cars, it was also holding strong in second overall. However, with three hours remaining, the leading #1 Porsche LM P1 was forced to retire and the #38 moved into the lead, becoming the first LM P2 car to outright lead at Le Mans. Tung led the race until its penultimate hour, when his LM P2 was overtaken by the eventual winners, the #2 Porsche LM P1.
The sister #37 also challenged for the class lead in the early stages of the race, but dropped down in the order. The team worked its way back up and, with less than six hours remaining, were fourth in LMP2 and fifth overall. With just forty minutes remaining in the race, the #37 ORECA moved into the third and final LMP2 podium position, solidifying an incredible, history-making race for the Chinese squad.
#38 Ho-Pin Tung: “It’s still hard to believe that we are Le Mans winners! It didn’t come easy and we really had to push hard for it. We stamped our authority on the race in the night where we moved all the way to the front and were able to control the race from there on. To lead outright for a while was amazing, history was written as we were the first-ever LMP2 to lead at Le Mans. Whilst we were always focused on the LM P2 class win it was amazing to finish second overall.
I am very happy that our sister car came home in third and we crossed the line side-by-side, which was a perfect reflection of our team, a very well deserved result for them after a very strong race”.
Ho-Pin Tung reflects emotionally : “This was a monumental race for Jackie Chan DC Racing. The first time our Chinese team takes on Le Mans, we bring home a win and a third place. David, Rémy and I started our journey exactly five years ago in 2013 at Le Mans and now we have not only won Le Mans but have also extended our lead in the World Endurance Championship. I must say a huge thank you to all the boys and girls at JOTA Sport, both cars ran flawlessly and every pit stop was sharp, fast and on point. Another person to thank is Hugues de Chaunac and all his staff at Oreca, Dunlop Motorsport and Gibson. The Oreca 07 Gibson Dunlop package was superior for the entire 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
Victory against the 25-strong field
Rémy Brouard, Jackie Chan DC Racing: “What an incredible race! Only Le Mans, which has been running since 1923, can give such results and such intensity. In this 85th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport took the LM P2 victory against the 25-strong field, we placed two cars on the podium and finished second overall. This result is of course also due to JOTA Sport, what a great partner !”
Grueling hot conditions
#37 David Cheng: “From a driver’s perspective, it feels incredible for the #37 ORECA with Alex and Tristan to reach the LMP2 podium in the most highly contested race of the year. A big thanks to everyone on our Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport team, the calls from engineering were spot on, stops were quick and virtually flawless and the physio team kept the drivers going in grueling hot conditions”.
Writing history for Cina
“From a team owner’s perspective, having both cars reach the podium and for the #38 ORECA of Ho-Pin, Thomas and Oliver to win in LMP2 and to have led outright the race to eventually finish second overall is an amazing feat. It’s also a number of firsts: for a Chinese team and driver, which makes what we achieved here quite historical. A big credit to Hugues de Chaunac and Oreca for the 07, which was incredibly fast, but was also reliable which gave us this opportunity.”
David Cheng states “Congratulations to the six drivers of the team, who all had a remarkable race! We remain at the top of the FIA WEC LM P2 standings with the #38 ORECA, while the #37 is also in the title race as we go to Nürburgring in July.
“I am very proud of the journey we have taken with David Cheng, Ho-Pin Tung and Wennie Cheng since 2013! We travelled from the first Asian Le Mans Series race to yesterday’s victory. The Chinese team of Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport has entered into Le Mans history. Thanks to all our fans and partners for their support!”
David Clark, JOTA Sport: “What a fantastic result for all the team. First and third in class and second and fourth overall is our greatest achievement yet at Le Mans and to have led the race overall for a significant period of time, makes this a special victory for all of us.
We should all be very proud that for the entire 24 hours, neither car had to go into the garage which is an outstanding achievement in itself.”
Le Mans, June 19, 2017.