Malaysians Jaafar, Tan and Jeffri Taste Sweet Victory at Fuji

JACKIE CHAN DC RACING X JOTA SPORT enjoyed the sweet taste of victory in the LMP2 class at the 6 Hours of Fuji, the fourth round of 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship, with the full Malaysian line-up in #Fortunecat37 backed by Sepang International Circuit claiming their maiden win at the highest level of endurance racing.

Winners: Weiron Tan, Jazeman Jaafar, Nabil Jeffri.

The Chinese team started the race taking place in the foothills of Mount Fuji, being the fastest squad qualifying on Dunlop tyres. #Fortunecat37 piloted by Jazeman Jaafar, Nabil Jeffri and Weiron Tan started from the second place on LMP2 grid, followed by sister car #Mighty38 of Ho-Pin Tung, Stephane Richelmi and Gabriel Aubry in third.

“Both cars had an amazing race today,” said an excited team founder David Cheng. “The beginning of the race was very trick. For #37, the starting position really help them out, while it was a little bit tougher for #38. But as the race went on, both cars really did terrific job. As a team, we call the strategy perfectly: we decided to come in under the safety car go on the slicks, which help us get a very big early lead. Towards the end of the race, the Full Course Yellow came out right after we had pitted in. Despite losing a lot of advantage, all the boys raced strongly. Today we put pace, performance and strategy together to achieve a dominant win. For the Asia leg of the tour, as a Chinese team, taking an all Malaysian line up to the top step shows the progress these boys have made with us from when they started with us here in Fuji last year in our Asian Le Mans program and now to win on the world stage is something I’m really proud of and a real pleasure to see come to fruition.”

As the race kicked off under light rain, which had lasted since early morning, most entries chose to run with intermediate tyres on the damp 4.563km circuit. The first 30 minutes was full of action and incident, inevitably bringing out the safety car to clear the circuit, when the JOTA Sport-run team called both cars in and changed to slicks.

The #37 car of Jazeman.

Jaafar and Tung, who took the start for #Fortunecat37 and #Mighty38 respectively, re-joined the field and drove carefully, waiting for the opportunities to come, before they eventually picked up pace of both ORECA 07s powered by Gibson, on the drying track.

By the time the race reached the second hour mark, the two China-flagged cars had gained a significant gap to their rivals. Despite their first time to race at Fuji Speedway as a joint force, the Malaysian trio displayed strong pace and great commitment. After the efforts made by countrymen Tan and Jeffri in the middle of the race, Jaafar took the chequered flag first in LMP2 class for #Fortunecat37.

Jazeman Jaafar: “It was a hard battle at the beginning. I fought very hard with Anthony (Davidson), when the track started to dry. So we pitted early with the slicks under the safety car, which was a right decision to eventually give us an advantage on pace and took the lead in the race. Our car has improved in every practice session. We missed the pole position in qualifying, but we had faith in our race pace. Everything went very well, and we got our first victory in WEC. We are here to fight for the championship. Now we have made another step. I appreciate Jackie Chan DC Racing and SIC to give us the chance to fight for our ultimate dreams.”

In the previous round at Silverstone, the Chinese team presenting the racing spirit of Richard Mille Asia enjoyed a tight but clean battle at the closing stage between the two cars carrying the auspicious cloud livery.  Coming to the iconic circuit in Japan, the team presented another great show, as Abury and Richelmi sharing the cockpit in #Might38 managed to close the gap to the leading sister car, before handing over to Tung for the last 90 minutes.

Weiron Tan was delighted with the win”Firstly, big thanks to Jackie Chan DC Racing and SIC for making it possible. It was a great effort by the entire team to get our first win in WEC. We absolutely enjoy it. There was a lot of fun in the race. We had known we would have a chance to win today after qualifying. Jazeman did very good job at the beginning, and then Nabil built on very well too. Standing on the top of the podium at Fuji was just very special for us.”

The Chinese driver made his best effort to catch Jaafar, before crossing the finish line in second place. With the #Fortunecat37 crew clinching a historic victory at Fuji by becoming the first all-Malaysian crew to win an international FIA race event, Jackie Chan DC Racing and JOTA Sport wrapped up the event with a second consecutive 1-2 finish in the last four races.

“Today we achieved the biggest result so far since we teamed up,” said a patriotic Nabil Jeffri. “The national flag of Malaysia flew over for the very first time at such a big international race event. Big thanks to SIC and Jackie Chan DC Racing, who give us the opportunities to race in WEC. We together have gained more experience from the first three races and improved a lot race by race. Jazeman and Weiron also did fantastic job in the race and we trust each other to get such an amazing victory.”

Motived by the dominant performance in recent races, the team will head back to JOTA Sport’s operation base in UK to make sure we will come back even stronger at the fifth round of the WEC Super Season, which will be held in China for the 6 Hours of Shanghai on 16-18 November.