Jann Mardenborough remains upbeat following the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours despite seeing victory in the LMP2 class scuppered by technical issues during the final quarter of the race.
Driving the brand-new Ligier JS chassis alongside fellow GT Academy graduate Mark Schulzhitskiy and Alex Brundle under the G-Drive by OAK banner, the trio were pace setters for much of the LMP2 race, moving into the lead during the first-half and maintaining a solid advantage into the next morning.
However, with just four hours remaining, the car began to develop power issues, forcing the team to make an unscheduled stop. Despite repeated attempts to cure whatever was sapping its power, the #35 car would lose too much time in the closing stages, demoting it to fifth place at the chequered flag.
A bitter disappointment in terms of final result, Mardenborough was nonetheless pleased with the performance of the brand-new Nissan-powered car, which was racing for the first time at Le Mans.
“For my 2nd time here at Le Mans, I really enjoyed racing the new Ligier JS P2 with OAK Racing, the support team. Myself, Alex and Mark were surprised at how competitive the car was straightaway. We led the race for over 14 hours, with a good gap to second place.
“The car was really strong and the balance was really good. Unfortunately we had a small issue 20 hours into the race, which really hurt us. But the whole team has been fantastic. It's a really professional team and I've really enjoyed working with them.”
Similarly, Brundle admits it was 'heart-wrenching' to watch the large lead the team had built up ebb away as the team fought to diagnose the problems.
“I have no idea how long we led the race for, but every moment it felt like we were in the front. We took the lead quite early on, during the safety car period. The team did an excellent job with the tyre management, changing the tyres, having managed to push to the front. We just stayed there, lap after lap after lap, doing fastest laps.
“Unfortunately then, we had an issue with the spark plug, which cost us time, and we dropped back into fifth place, which is heart-wrenching, watching the gap of a lap that we'd built up just go slowly away as we worked to try and fix the issue. Eventually we managed, but we lost too much time. I'm gutted for everyone.”