Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport and the #Mighty38 and #FortuneCat37 ORECAs shift into top gear in an all-out push to make history as the first Chinese winners at the world’s greatest race – the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The iconic race begins Saturday on the 13.62km Circuit de la Sarthe, and the current FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) LMP2 classification leaders are more than ready to face one of their toughest challenges of the season. At last week’s official test, the #37FortuneCat of David Cheng, Tristan Gommendy and Alex Brundle was the third-fastest of the LMP2 cars, with the #Mighty38 of Ho-Pin Tung, Thomas Laurent and Oliver Jarvis fifth-quickest in the category.
This year marks the fourth Le Mans collaboration for Chinese drivers Cheng and Tung. In 2014, the pair finished seventh on the Circuit de la Sarthe and a year later, the formidable duo was in the top 10 again, despite encountering electronic issues.
In 2016, Cheng and Tung were on track to put the Chinese flag on the podium, but their Le Mans dream ended in heartbreak when a broken brake disc forced the team into early retirement. The team has expanded for 2017 and the two-car assault includes the likes of Jarvis, who finished third overall in last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ready to avenge its loss in 2016, Jackie Chan DC Racing is this year joined by 2014 Le Mans LMP2 winners JOTA Sport as it sets out stronger and hungrier than ever for victory.
Having found success early in the season – a win in the opening round at Silverstone was followed by a podium finish at Spa – the team is confident that they have what it takes to succeed at Le Mans. Success here is especially important for the team’s FIA WEC LMP2 championship aspirations: double points are awarded at Le Mans and a strong showing is critical given this year’s highly-competitive LMP2 field.
Team founder David Cheng talks about the upcoming Le Mans race: “This year we’re back stronger than ever and the test day was a great vindication of that. Both cars performed very well to be in the top five, especially as performance runs were not our main focus. This year’s race with the new cars may very well come down to attrition and we’re as prepared as can be. The Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport crew has been training for emergency situations and all of the drivers have the right mindset and understanding about what this needs to be. Combined with the fact that the average pace of both cars is really good, I cautiously say that we are a step ahead – now our work is to keep focused and keep us in this position.”
Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport used the official test to perfect its preparations and gather critical data as it heads into the main event. All the drivers were on the pace, while the engineers and mechanics practiced dealing with the myriad situations which they can expect during the most grueling 24 hours in motorsport. Following the test, the team spent time in the JOTA Sport simulator, carefully examining the data from the test.
First run in 1923, scrutineering for the 85th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans began yesterday in the centre of town and continues today. The drivers will take the track for the first time on Wednesday evening, with free practice and the first of three qualifying sessions. Qualifying continues on Thursday, before Friday’s drivers’ parade which pays homage to this iconic event. The 24 Hours of Le Mans 2017 begins on Saturday, June 17 at 3 pm local time (9 pm Beijing time).