FORMER SPA & LE MANS WINNER GENÉ TO RACE FOR JOTA SPORT
27th March 2014
Ultra-experienced Spaniard makes LMP2 class debut for British team with Dolan & Tincknell
Scuderia Ferrari F1 Test Driver & Audi Sport “reserve” driver Gené in two-race WEC campaign at Spa & Le Mans
JOTA Sport has further strengthened its relationship with Audi Sport by securing the services of Marc Gené for its two-race 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship programme.
Gené, who celebrates his 40th birthday on Saturday (29 March), will join JOTA Sport’s regular European Le Mans Series drivers Simon Dolan and Harry Tincknell for the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) and 24 Heures du Mans (F).
The ultra-experienced Spaniard, who remains Audi Sport’s “reserve” driver* at both of these races, will test the Kent-based team’s LMP2 Zytek Z11SN for the first time next week (1-2 April).
Gené joins fellow “factory” Audi Sport driver Filipe Albuquerque, Dolan and Tincknell at the ELMS Official Tests at Paul Ricard (F). Albuquerque, as announced earlier this month, combines his Audi Sport LMP programme of Spa and Le Mans by racing for JOTA Sport in the five-race ELMS.
Gené contested 36 Grands Prix for the Minardi and Williams Formula One teams (1999-2004) and remains actively involved at this level, attending every GP as a Scuderia Ferrari F1 Test Driver – a position he has held for almost 10 years with the Italian team.
Since 2007, Marc has carved out a very successful sports car career as a “factory” driver with Team Peugeot Total and from 2012 at Audi Sport Team Joest. Indeed Gené, who became a Bachelor in Economics at the University of Buckingham in England and speaks six languages fluently, won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2009 and also finished on the “podium” in 2008 and 2013. He also has won the Six Hours of Spa on three occasions (2008, ‘11 and ‘12).
Marc is not the first ex-F1 “pilot” or outright Le Mans race winner to represent JOTA Sport. Gené follows in the wheel tracks of Stefan Johansson, Jan Lammers, Alex Yoong, John Neilsen and Hideki Noda.
Albuquerque also tests for JOTA Sport at Paul Ricard next week having had his maiden run with the British-based team in Portugal recently (9-10 March). Filipe, along with his ELMS team-mates Dolan and Tincknell, clocked up almost 700 trouble-free miles in the two-day test.
JOTA Sport, in addition to the two WEC races this year, contest the five-race ELMS having finished third in the Teams’ Championship and joint third in the final Drivers’ standings (Dolan and Oliver Turvey) last year.
The opening ELMS race is staged at Silverstone (18-19 April) – a three-hour race the Kent-based team won last year with the Zytek Z11SN.
Marc Gené (ES). Age 39 (29.03.74). Born: Sabadell (ES). Lives: Barcelona (ES):
“This is the most perfect race planning for me as it fits perfectly with my F1 commitments. Spa and Le Mans are two of my favourite circuits. I have won three times at Spa and have been on the podium three times at Le Mans winning once.
“Obviously this year my targets are LMP2 class victories. I have never raced an LMP2 but I don’t see adapting to it will pose a problem especially as I know both circuits well.
“It is very kind of Audi Sport allowing me to race for JOTA Sport. I’m present at both races as Audi’s ‘reserve’ driver so it makes sense me substituting for Filipe [Albuquerque] at JOTA. Racing is very important, to keep me sharp and up to speed.
“I’ve not had any previous dealings with JOTA Sport but everything I’ve heard about the British team is good and I’m looking forward to racing with Simon and Harry.”
Simon Dolan (GB). Age 44 (20.05.69). Born: Chelmsford, Essex. Lives: Monaco (MC):
“Marc has an illustrious motorsport record and having someone of his experience, especially at Le Mans, will be invaluable. Marc joining us for Spa as well will be a great ‘warm-up’.
“It allows Harry and I to get to know him better and importantly for Marc to work with JOTA Sport in a race scenario before we head to Le Mans for the test weekend. Our second driver ‘loan’ from Audi Sport further strengthens our ties with a team that has won 12 times at Le Mans and the WEC titles for the past two years.”
Sam Hignett. Partner, JOTA Group:
“Marc joins the likes of fellow Le Mans 24 Hour race winners Stefan [Johansson], Jan [Lammers] and John [Neilsen] in racing for JOTA Sport and we’re very honoured to have him aboard our Zytek.
“To get Marc in the car as well for the Spa race is an added bonus – having a multi race winning sports car driver alongside Simon and Harry is a fantastic opportunity for us.
“His pace goes without saying and his knowledge and experience is something everyone at JOTA Sport will all learn from.
“At the recent Estoril test, we concentrated on getting all three ELMS drivers fully integrated into the team and with the Zytek. Over the course of the two days, we managed to get all of the drivers comfortable and began to start working towards a competitive race set-up to suit their styles. We even had time for a little qualifying shoot out!”
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport:
“It’s a perfect scenario for Marc racing at Spa and Le Mans to keep race fit. The fact that he’s competing for JOTA Sport means he is with a professional, top-performing team. If Audi Sport needs him at Le Mans, this arrangement means he is race sharp and also knows the R18 e-tron quattro from testing.”
Filipe Albuquerque (P). Age 28 (13.06.85). Born & Lives: Coimbra (P):
“We had two good days of fine weather testing at Estoril. We completed our planned tasks. I hope I brought some little ideas and details to JOTA in terms of the Zytek.
“It was good to get to know the team. JOTA Sport is a small, one-car team but has everything required: A strong driver line-up in Simon and Harry plus good technical guys and equipment – it looks promising for a successful season.”
Harry Tincknell (GB). Age: 22 (29.10.91). Born: Exeter, Devon. Lives: Sidmouth, Devon (GB):
“Marc is going to be a big asset to the team. I remember watching him drive for Minardi in Formula One when I was a kid and so it’s amazing I’ll now be driving alongside him in arguably the world’s biggest motor race.
“He has race winning form at both Spa and Le Mans and so it’s a great opportunity for me to drive and learn from someone as established and experienced as him.
“The recent test in Estoril went very well. I’m sure it will stand us in good shape come the end of the season when the Portuguese track hosts the final ELMS race.
“I’m feeling more confident with every run I do in the car and I am really enjoying the start to my sportscar career. It was great to drive with Filipe for the first time and I think his speed, consistency and feedback are going to be a big help for us this year.”