G-DRIVE RACING STAY IN TITLE HUNT, DESPITE NURBURGRING FRUSTRATION
25th July 2016
G-Drive Racing remain in the hunt for the FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 title, despite suffering their first non-finish of the season at the 6 Hours of the Nurburgring in Germany on Sunday (July 24).
The #26 ORECA 05-Nissan, crewed by Rene Rast, Roman Rusinov and – for the first time – Alex Brundle – was fastest in every session over the weekend and held a commanding lead of the LMP2 class when a gearbox issue sent the car into the pits. Despite intense efforts by the G-Drive Racing team the car was retired in the fourth hour.
Rast, competing in front of his home crowd, made it a clean sweep of four class pole positions in four races for the G-Drive Racing car with lap three-quarters of a second faster than his nearest rival. He bagged a bonus championship point in the process.
The German then made a strong start to the race, holding the lead and building a large advantage during his opening 50-minute stint. Rast also set the fastest lap of the race with a 1m49.864s, just under one second clear of the opposition.
The G-Drive Racing ORECA-Nissan lost the lead at the first round of pitstops as Brundle relieved Rast of duties behind the wheel while rival teams gained time by choosing not to make their first driver changes until later on.
But Brundle’s fantastic pace brought him back into the class lead within 15 minutes of taking over and the Briton had built a comfortable advantage mid-way through a double-stint in the car.
Unfortunately, the ORECA developed a gearbox issue, which forced it into the pits half an hour ahead of the race’s midway point.
The G-Drive Racing team, who are run operationally by the JOTA Sport organisation, worked relentlessly to repair the unit, but in spite of their tremendous effort, the car had to be officially retired.
Despite the setback, G-Drive Racing lie third in the battle for the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams with four of the 2016 season’s nine races completed.
Rast and Rusinov hold third place in the Drivers’ Championship while Brundle got off the mark in 20th with his pole bonus.
The next round of the WEC, the Six Hours of Mexico, takes place on September 1-3, but G-Drive Racing will be back on August 26-28 as they run their Gibson 015S-Nissan in the fourth round of the European Le Mans Series at Circuit Paul Ricard in France.
“Obviously it is a big disappointment to be so quick, get pole position and conduct the pace of the class in the race yet come away with not finishing, but as they say this is racing sometimes.
“We will come back stronger again and the positive aspects are that we were clearly the fastest car and crew in LMP2 again. I am looking forward to Mexico now and to trying to make sure we can put the bad luck behind us.”
“I went from the second to third upshift and something has given up in the gearbox. We thought it might be an electrical issue, we then went through the emergency modes but nothing worked. It is of course tough to take after such a great weekend up until then.
“The G-Drive Racing team was fantastic and the car was performing so well. If we continue like we did up until the issue stopped us then the season has a lot of positives ahead for us.”
“It was very hard to take seeing the car develop a problem like that after we had such a fantastic weekend here, even harder when it is at your home race.
“The car felt good in the opening stint and I was able to get a reasonable gap to the rest. Again though we come away with not what we deserve, so it is frustrating. All we can do now is to focus on Mexico and make sure that we can concentrate on getting the maximum points there.”
Sam Hignett, Team Principal
“The pace of the car was superb this weekend. We were fastest in every session and clearly, on pace we were the team to beat for the opposition again. The gear ratio failure was just one of those things and in hindsight there was nothing we could have done differently to prevent it from occurring.
“Overall it was a great job by the whole team and all three drivers were brilliant. A special mention to Alex (Brundle) in his first race because he was great on his first run with the team.”
Race Result & Points
LMP2 Race Result – Nurburgring
1 Menezes/Lapierre/Richelmi Signatech Alpine A460-Nissan
2 Gonzalez/Albuquerque/Senna RGR Sport by Morand Ligier-Nissan
3 Dalziel/Derani/Cumming Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier-Nissan
4 Leventis/Kane/Williamson Strakka Racing Gibson 015S-Nissan
5 Graves/Pizzonia/Howson Manor ORECA 05-Nissan
6 Petrov/Ladygin/Shaitar SMP Racing BR01-Nissan
DNF Rusinov/Rast/Brundle G-Drive Racing ORECA 05-Nissan
2016 FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Drivers – After Four Rounds
1 Menezes/Lapierre/Richelmi 112pts
2 Senna/Albuquerque/Gonzalez 71pts
3 Rast/Rusinov 65pts
4 Cumming/Derani/Dalziel 59pts
6 Shaitar/Petrov/Ladygin 44pts
2016 FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams – After Four Rounds
1 Signatech Alpine 112pts
2 RGR Sport by Morand 74pts
3 G-Drive Racing 67pts
4 Extreme Speed Motorsports 59pts
5 SMP Racing 50pts
6 Strakka Racing 46pts
Images: Jakob Ebrey Photography