Having achieved its aim of conquering the Le Mans 24 Hours, JOTA Sport heads for the third round of the European Le Mans Series at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on the crest of a wave and full of confidence.
The British team scored a brilliant LMP2 class victory – and took an amazing fifth place overall – in the French classic last month, to build on recent ELMS success at Imola in May, and now returns to the scene of another strong championship showing twelve months ago.
The Dunlop-shod JOTA Zytek started from pole position in last year's Austrian round, thanks to Oliver Turvey - who co-drove with Simon Dolan and Harry Tincknell at Le Mans. Having led from the start, however, a stop-go penalty at mid-distance meant the team managed only a fourth place finish in the three-hour race around the 2.688-mile track.
For next weekend's four-hour event, the two British team regulars will be joined once again by Filipe Albuquerque, who ensured that JOTA has started both 2014 ELMS races from class pole, taking top spot at Imola to follow up Tincknell's P1 time at Silverstone, leaving Dolan confident of further success.
“I love the Red Bull Ring,” he enthused, “We raced there for the first time last year in LMP2 and would have won but for a pit-lane speed indiscretion which was most unfortunate.
“The track suits the Zytek quite well with its quick corners and the importance of the traction coming out of the slow ones. It's also a bit old school in terms of so little 'get out of jail free' run off areas – if you go off there you are likely to end up in the gravel. A track like this really focuses the mind.
“Our aim has to be for another win – we need it to go ahead in the championship – but we also can't ignore the importance of getting a good haul of points, and so staying out of trouble will be equally important.”
Dolan, Tincknell and Albuquerque start the Austrian race second in the drivers' standings, with JOTA Sport holding down a similar position in the teams' table, just eight points off the overall lead. A grid of 36 cars, including ten LMP2 machines, is expected to start on Sunday.
“I'm certainly on a big high from Le Mans and these four-hour races that I thought were so long coming from F3 are now going to feel very short after a 24-hour race!” Tincknell smiled, “It's vital we refocus for the task. Despite our non-score at Silverstone, we are only eight points behind the leaders with 78 still available so there is everything to play for.
“After Silverstone, our title aspirations took a dent as there are only five rounds, so we lost 20 per cent of our points straight away. We went to Imola knowing we had to get pole and we had to win to have any chance. We did that and with the results elsewhere going in our favour puts us right back in the hunt.
“We will attack the Red Bull Ring race in the same way as Imola. We'll be gunning for the extra point for pole to keep our 100 per cent record going and hunting down another race win – a podium is our minimum target. The way the team and driver squad is performing, we should be able to produce another strong performance.”