Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport crowns historic FIA WEC 2017 season with podium finish in the 6 hours of Bahrain
The Jackie Chan DC Racing x Jota Sport team with in the #38 car Ho-Pin Tung, Oliver Jarvis and Thomas Laurent narrowly missed out on the FIA WEC LMP2 championship title. Still it has been an incredible season for the history-making Chinese team.
Ho-Pin Tung stated right after the disappointing race in Bahrain: ‘We dominated the race for a very long time. An hour and a half it took us to take the lead, which we extended to 50 seconds. We were on championship course, nothing less. It is frustrating that a problem with the fuel system forced us to make an extra pit stop. That extra stop made us miss the title on 10 seconds.’
While an incident early in the race saw the #38 ORECA face an unexpected challenge, the team fought back and with a brilliant drive from Oliver Jarvis, the team emerged second after the first pitstop. After the second stop, with Ho-Pin Tung now in the car, the team claimed the lead and over the course of a double stint, Tung pulled away.
Having built up a lead of 35 seconds, Tung handed the car over to 19-year-old Thomas Laurent late in the third hour. Laurent stayed in the lead with the gap as much as 50 seconds, before Tung took the reins for another double stint. The #38 ORECA was up by 30 seconds when Tung handed the car to Jarvis for the final 54 minutes of the race.
Following the pitstop, Jarvis was third in class but the quickest LMP2 driver on track, using the pace to make inroads into the advantage of the two cars ahead. But a fuel tank issue that occurred mid-way through the race meant that the #38 ORECA was doing six laps less per stint than the rest of the field and was forced to make an additional stop. This stop proved costly as, following the final stop, Jarvis was 21 seconds behind the class leader, before a furious final fight saw him close the gap to a little over 10 seconds by the chequered flag.
The sister #37 ORECA of David Cheng, Tristan Gommendy and Alex Brundle also had a challenging race, working their way from the back of the LMP2 pack up to fifth. But an incident resulted in nose damage and the tail section also had to be changed.
The close battle for the championship title highlighted the intensity of the competition in the FIA WEC LMP2 category, and while the team came so close to the title, Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport is rightly proud of what has been a monumental season. Having written a new chapter in motorsport history as the first Chinese team to win at the Le Mans 24 Hours, and having finished second and third on the overall Le Mans podium, Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport can reflect a season of success, one which has included victories and podium finishes throughout the year.
Ho-Pin Tung: “Whilst disappointment is obviously the dominating feeling at this moment, we shouldn’t forget what a fantastic year we have had. We have had our fair share of bad luck but that is – how cruel it may sound to us now – motorsport. In terms of pace we have been the team to beat in almost all the races this year and we should be incredibly proud as a team. We have won Le Mans 24 hours, we have won two more WEC races and ended on the podium a further 3 times on our way to the vice championship.
Who could have thought we would ever achieve this when David, Rémy and I started this adventure back in 2013! When Jackie Chan and Sparkle Roll came onboard with us things started to move incredibly fast and gave us the opportunity to celebrate the big success we have had. Along the way we have teamed up with a fantastic crew in Sam Hignett, David Clark, Bob Friend and everyone at JOTA Sport, team manager Gary Holland, our chief engineer Greg Wheeler and all our teammates on both the #37 and #38 cars. Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport has won several prestigious awards this year for “Best Team” and this is with a reason, we are! A big hats off to everyone involved to making this happen with us, I am immensely proud of you all and to be part of this family.”
Supported by team founding partner, Hollywood superstar Jackie Chan, the team was established in 2015, and immediately claimed the 2015-16 Asian Le Mans LMP3 championship. For the team’s 2017 FIA WEC campaign, Jota Sport brings almost two decades of endurance racing expertise which includes class wins in both the Le Mans and Spa 24 Hours.
Bahrain, November 18th, 2017.