24 Hours of Le Mans – LMP2: it didn’t escape Jota!

With 27 cars on the grid, the LMP2 category once again promised us an intense race! And the clash at the start was proof that the tension was at its height in this category where the final of the 2021 edition had been incredible to say the least!

24 Hours of Le Mans – LMP2

JOTA in patterns

Finally the race was rather clear in this category with a real domination of the JOTA team! The #38 driven by António Félix da Costa, Roberto Gonzalez and Will Stevens led the class for 354 of the 369 laps it covered.

This success will have allowed Roberto Gonzalez to join his brother Ricardo, winner of the LMP2 in 2013, on the list of winners. It should also be noted that Will Stevens became on this occasion the 5th driver to win at Le Mans both in GTE and in the prototype category. . Despite this apparent dominance, JOTA did not have an easy victory as the #38 was under constant pressure from the #9 Prema ORLEN Team Oreca 07 driven by Robert Kubica, Louis Delétraz and Lorenzo Colombo.

The Italian team car led early in the race with a sparkling Robert Kubica at the wheel and finished just over 2 minutes behind the winners. JOTA places its second car, the #28 in third place! It should be remembered that since 2014, JOTA has always placed a car on the podium in LMP2.

JOTA (GBR), Oliver Rasmussen (DNK), Edward Jones (GBR), Jonathan Aberdein (ZAF), Oreca 07 Gibson, action

feet in the carpet

Much was expected this year from the reigning winners, WRT, and United Autosports. The least we can say is that the 2 teams tripped over the carpet from the start… At the start in the #22 United Autosports, Will Owen found himself sandwiched between the Orecas of the WRT team driven by Ferdinand Habsburg and René Rast. The United Autosports Oreca finished in the bac while the #41 from Habsburg suffered a puncture and lost a lap.

Rast on #31 received a one-minute Stop & Go. In the end, the #41 finished the race in 21st place (with the fastest lap in LMP2 signed by Norman Nato) while the #31 finished its race in the morning following an exit from Robin Frijns (only retirement in LMP2). In the United clan, the #23 had its share of problems and 2 Drive Throughs (for unsafe release and slow-zone overtaking), the 6th place finish in LMP2 was in fact a welcome result…

UNITED AUTOSPORTS USA (USA), Alexander Lynn (GBR), Oliver Jarvis (GBR), Joshua Pierson (USA), Oreca 07 Gibson, action

The #22, for its part, despite its excursion in the tank in the first round and electronic problems, reached the finish in 10th place in the category. Just ahead of the 3rd car of the WRT team, which was not supposed to win, but at the wheel of which Mirko Bortolotti (second fastest lap in the category) and Dries Vanthoor impressed.

We expected a lot from the Vector Sport team at the start of the season, it’s a bit disappointing at the moment and the week was also complicated at Le Mans with an engine change in free practice forcing the team to give up on the qualifications and starting at the back of the grid. The team reached the finish in 27th place just ahead of the GTEs. Yet Sébastien Bourdais finished with the fifth fastest time in LMP2 in the race, so the potential is there and the hard work will pay off.

Vector Sport – Nico Muller / Sebastien Bourdais / Ryan Cullen

The good surprises

First of all, we note the success in LMP2 Pro-Am of the Oreca 07 #45 Algarve Pro Racing. However, the Portuguese team did not have an easy task in having to make a chassis change following the exit of Steven Thomas during the first free practice session. Starting from the back of the grid, the car (also driven by René Binder and James Allen) finished 24 hours later in 19th place overall and with victory in LMP2 Pro-Am!

A last-minute replacement in the #13 TDS Racing Oreca 07, Nyck de Vries proved that Toyota had done well to put him in as a reserve driver… The Dutch driver shone from his first laps during the Warm-Up and it should be noted that if we take the 20 best fastest laps signed by each driver in LMP2 and that we average them, Nyck de Vries was the fastest and the most consistent. He is no stranger to the excellent 8th place finish of the Montpellier team.

Finally, we will highlight the progress made throughout the week by Sébastien Ogier and Lilou Wadoux in the Oreca 07 #1 Richard Mille Racing Team, while at CD Sport the contract has been fulfilled by taking the only Ligier on the entry list to the arrival.

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