The #FortuneCat37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07 features a brand new all-Malaysian lineup this year with Jazeman Jaafar, Weiron Tan, and Nabil Jeffri. DSC was able to catch up with Jaafar and the boys at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, all of whom will make their World Endurance Championship debut this weekend.
“It is an absolute dream to be here, it has been a goal for myself and for my career progression to be here,” said Jaafar after himself and Jeffri combined to put the car in fourth position for the start of the six hour race.
Speaking on the race to come, the goal for the #37 JCDC Oreca is a top three finish, which the boys are optimistic that they can achieve.
“The main focus is for a strong race…”
“I think we will fight for a top three finish… it won’t be easy because the competition is really strong but I think my teammates and I, we have worked hard to get here and hopefully a clean race will bring us there (a top three finish).”
Tan and Jaafar were teammates with each other last year in the 2017-2018 Asian Le Mans Series in the #7 Jackie Chan DC Racing Jota Oreca 05 that finished the championship in fourth position. While Nabil Jeffri is also a graduate of the Asian LMS, moving up from a one off run at Sepang in the Eurasia Motorsports Ligier JSP2 to form the three-man 2018-2019 WEC team.
It only takes a quick look at their social media pages to tell that three of them have a strong sense of camaraderie, and that has helped them acclimatize to life in the WEC paddock.
“With the whole package, it has brought us a good foundation for the rest of the Super Season… the debut is finally here and as an all-Malaysian lineup, it puts the icing on the cake.”
LMP2 is the only class in the WEC this year that features a split in tyre manufactures with JCDC, Signatech Alpine, TDS, and G-Drive Racing being the only teams in the paddock to run Dunlops. Finding the balance on them, which is a comment we have heard a lot of from both Michelin and Dunlop teams, has been difficult.
“In practice the track was very dusty, and the Dunlops were quite sensitive…” said Jaafar, adding that their “… main focus is the tyre degradation for the race.”
The pieces of the puzzle do seem to all be there for the #37 Oreca with solid showings in all of the free practice sessions boding well for the team’s first race today. A fourth in FP1, followed by a strong FP2 which saw their fastest lap be just four tenths off the top time of the session. A sixth in FP3 was rebounded however by a good qualifying position to wrap up the day.
The team is also very much looking forward to Le Mans later in the year, all three of them will be making their debut at the 86th running of the French endurance classic later this year in June. Beyond that there’s the question of whether the backing of the effort by Sepang International Circuit might help to see the WEC visit their homeland in a future season.
For now though the team has their sights set on a strong finish in the opening round of the 2018-2019 WEC Super Season.