Two GT Academy Winners Finish the LeMans in 4th Place
On the 22nd and 23rd of June 2013, the 90th LeMans 24 Hour race was held on the Sarthe Circuit, and the two GT Academy winners participating from UK’s Greaves Motorsports achieved 4th place (10th overall) in the LMP2 Class.
Taking on the race were the two GT Academy winners Lucas Ordóñez and Jann Mardenborough, joined by Michael Krumm. In the LMP2 class they fought in, the Nissan engine has been gaining respect over the last few years. This year 15 cars out of the total 22 were using the Nissan VK45DE engine, and of course this was true also for the Greaves Motorsport number 42 car driven by the GT academy winners, combined with a thoroughly developed Zytek chassis.
This year’s LeMans was struck with continuing bad weather, causing multiple red flags since the qualifying sessions. Because of this, many teams lost their chance to improve their laptimes, including car #42 which started the final race from the 18th place, in the 9th row.
At 3pm Saturday the 22nd, the race started. With rain coming and going on the track, multiple accidents occurred and the safety car was seen more than once on the track. Leading the LMP2 class was the two Morgan-Nissans of Oak racing. They ran a perfect race with cars positioned in 1st and 2nd from the beginning, where they continued their rock solid performance to bring victory to their team.
In the meanwhile, car #42 of Greaves Motorsports gradually rose among the ranks, carefully monitoring and overcoming the difficult conditions. At 11pm, 8 hours from the start of the race, car #42 rose to 3rd place in its class, just behind the two Morgan-Nissans: the podium was within sight.
But #42 was furiously chased by #26 of G Drive Racing (Oreca 03 – Nissan). For over 10 hours, car #42 strove off the onslaught of car #26. The two cars kept outpacing their best laps in a furious battle for 3rd place, but with 4 hours remaining at 11am, Sunday the 23rd, car #26 got ahead of car #42, turning the tables. The fight continued but the team was not able to overcome the closest antagonist, and car #42 ended the race 4th of its class.
Though they missed the podium, the experience of fighting through a full 24 hour race with no errors and no trouble while many accidents occurred around them, will build confidence in the two GT Academy Winners. Especially for Jann Mardenborough who learned the effect of downforce in F3 cars this season, his first LeMans experience tastes of great success and it's proof of a great accomplishment for the GT Academy programme.
Their fight will now continue. Please watch over the further progress of the GT Academy Graduates. This year, continuing from last year, the LMP1 overall victory was a fight between the Audi and Toyota Hybrids, but ultimately the Audi Team Joest R18 car number 2 won the race.