Sep 2017

ELMS Spa


JMW_Spa_2017_07
Photo Copyright JMW Motorsport


A second place at a chaotic Spa round of the European Le Mans Series means that we are just one point off the championship lead in the GTE class.

We worked hard on setup during Friday's FP1 and still had work to do, so changes were made overnight which transformed the car for Saturday's FP2. The car felt good on longer runs and race pace was good so we were looking forward to Sunday. Will Stevens has joined us for the last two rounds of the ELMS and he did a good job to qualify in P3 on Saturday afternoon.

I started the race and got as far as the first corner where I had contact to the right hand side and was pushed wide, so ended the first lap last of the GT cars. Luckily there was only minor damage to the car although the impact felt big! Midway through lap two, the TF Sport Aston Martin was damaged in contact with an LMP3 car and while it was wounded and struggling for pace was defending its position, so by the time I got past, I was over 4 seconds behind the GT pack. The first of a number of full course yellows intervened at the end of lap 7 and after 2 laps under yellow it went green again and I set off after the other GT cars in front. I chipped away at the gap and closed them down over my stint and handed over to Rob on the hour mark on the tail of the third place battle.

Rob's hour in the car was punctuated by full course yellows and safety cars, one which saw the no 77 Porsche taken out by an LMP3 car and by the time the chaos had subsided and Rob handed back to me, we were in third position behind the Beechdean Aston Martin and no 51 Spirit of Race Ferrari. During one of the many full course yellows the Beechdean car exited the pits not far in front of me in second place and after a couple of laps of green looking for a way past, another full course yellow meant I had to follow him closely waiting to pounce as soon as I could after it went green again. Andrew was defending so I decided to go around the outside and got passed him through the Fagne Chicane then concentrated on putting a gap between us. The leading no 51 Ferrari had managed a stop under full course yellow so had a big lead and barring a problem would be difficult to catch and we now had a healthy gap to the Beechdean Aston Martin in third place.

I handed over to Will Stevens with 55 minutes to go and he brought it home in a clear second place meaning a championship gap of just one point to the TF Sport Aston Martin with one round to go in Portimao on 22 October.