Two GT Academy Winners Finish the LeMans in 4th Place
June 22(Sat)-23(Sun) 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 22 total were using the Nissan VK45DE engine, and of course the Greaves Motorsport number 42 car driven by the GT academy winners also used the VK45DE, combined with a thoroughly developed Zytek chassis.
This year’s LeMans was struck with continuing bad weather, causing multiple red flags from even the qualifying sessions. As many teams lost their chance to mark good laptimes, car number 42 also did not have a chance to shorten their time and started the final race from 18th place, in the 9th row.
At 3pm Saturday the 22nd, the final 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 first and second 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 race start, car 42 rose to 3rd place in its class, just behind the two Morgan-Nissans. The podium was within sight.
But chasing car 42 furiously was car 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 third 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 car 26, and car 42 ended the race in 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 and racing the LeMans for the first time this year, it was mission accomplished.
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.