JOTA Sport will contest the FIA World Endurance Championship with an ORECA 05-Nissan while continuing to compete in the European Le Mans Series with its venerable Gibson-Nissan next year.
2016 marks the first year that the British team will contest a full WEC season although it has already enjoyed considerable success in WEC Championship races.
Since 2012, JOTA has dovetailed its ELMS programme by contesting the WEC’s Six Hours of Spa in preparation for its annual Le Mans 24 Hour race foray and with amazing success. LM P2 class honours at Spa were achieved in 2012 and ’15 enhanced further by second (2014) and third (2013) placings. Combining to make these sporadic WEC ventures truly phenomenal, JOTA Sport has recorded seventh, first and second positions in the annual “blue riband” Le Mans event over the past three years.
JOTA will campaign an ORECA chassis in next year’s WEC which begins on “home” soil at Silverstone on 17 April after a comprehensive test programme with a second ORECA 05 chassis following delivery of the Nissan-engined LM P2 sportscar scheduled for the end of this year. This year’s closed-top ORECA 05 made its debut at Silverstone in April and has won the last two WEC races, victorious on its Le Mans 24 Hours debut and more recently in the Six Hours of Nürburgring.
Meanwhile for the fifth consecutive year, JOTA will enter its Gibson 015S-Nissan (nee Zytek Z11SN) in the ELMS next season. Since making its series debut at Paul Ricard in 2012 – the French venue that sees JOTA bidding to increase its championship lead by scoring a fourth podium finish of the season on Sunday (6 Sep). JOTA has contested 15 ELMS races. In that time, the team has recorded 11 top-four finishes, including three wins, plus an incredible 10 pole-positions.
Simon Dolan (GB). Partner, JOTA Group: “I am obviously very excited for JOTA Sport to be competing in the 2016 WEC. We have proven over the last three years with our WEC wins at Le Mans and Spa that we will be immediately fighting for race wins while the LM P2 championship title is definitely our aim and within our grasp. We have been looking very closely at various chassis’ and I’m delighted to announce our partnership with ORECA. We have been very impressed with the ORECA 05 having raced against one all season in both WEC and ELMS races. It was quick straight out of the box and just as importantly, has shown remarkable reliability. I am confident that we have chosen the best chassis for 2016 and beyond in to the new regulations.”
Sam Hignett. Partner, JOTA Group: “This announcement marks a very exciting era for JOTA Sport. We’re very much looking forward to working closely with Hugues de Chaunac’s ORECA operation and of course racing its fabulous 05 or 06 Coupe which pipped us to LM P2 class honours at Le Mans this year. JOTA has scored numerous podiums and enjoyed phenomenal success in a number of championships. We narrowly missed out on last year’s ELMS title while our LM P2 category victory in the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours was an incredible achievement. We’re in contention again to win the ELMS title this year, scored a fabulous WEC LM P2 triumph at Spa and were a close second at Le Mans. But the time is now right for JOTA to step up to a full WEC campaign. We’ll be talking to drivers in the coming months and planning a comprehensive test programme around the ORECA. JOTA Sport will continue to contest ELMS with the Gibson which is a great, compact series.”
Hugues de Chaunac. Group ORECA’s President: “Simon Dolan, Sam Hignett and David Clark have quickly established JOTA Sport as a reference in motorsport and so I’m very proud to announce that the team will run an ORECA 05 in 2016. We know JOTA Sport’s strengths quite well since we’ve competed against them in the ELMS and Le Mans 24 Hours, including this season. It’s a strong, high quality team which is always fighting for victory. To work with such a squad, for us as a manufacturer, is very exciting. I’ve had discussions with JOTA in the past and I’m happy these have now turned into a great project. We’re looking forward to taking up interesting challenges together and I’m convinced that the JOTA Sport and ORECA 05 combination will impress.”