Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Wins 4 Hours of Zhuhai
30th October 2017
• Dominant victory for sportscar newcomer Harrison Newey and teammates Thomas Laurent and Stéphane Richelmi
• Podium finish for Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport LMP3 newcomers Guy Cosmo and Patrick Byrne
• Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport leads Asian Le Mans Series as team heads to Shanghai to resume FIA WEC LMP2 title battle
Zhuhai, China : Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport seized victory in the opening round of the Asian Le Mans Series 2017/18, with the team’s exciting line-up of Stéphane Richelmi and 19-year-olds Thomas Laurent and Harrison Newey – making his sportscar debut this weekend – driving a near-faultless race to win the 4 Hours of Zhuhai.
The #8 ORECA 05 Nissan powered to the chequered flag in dominant style, finishing a lap ahead of its closest competitors. The three-car Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport entry also celebrated on the podium in the LMP3 class, with team newcomers Guy Cosmo and Patrick Byrne finishing third in the #6 LMP3 Ligier JSP3 on their Asian debut.
Having set the fastest time in Saturday’s qualifying session, Laurent started the first race of the season from pole position, with David Cheng in the #7 ORECA 05 Nissan lining up alongside him on the first row and Cosmo on the second row of the LMP3 cars. Laurent led at the start, with Cheng also making a great getaway. However, just a few laps into the race, Cheng encountered a technical issue that led to the retirement of the #7.
Laurent pushed hard during his opening stint, but late into the first hour of the race, an incident with a competitor in another category caused damage to the rear of the #8 ORECA 05 Nissan. Laurent headed into the pits, where the Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport team quickly repaired the damage.
Having spent additional time repairing the rear of the car, Newey took over driving duties and headed back out in second position. The Briton, who arrived in Zhuhai straight from a strong season in the FIA F3 European Championship, quickly began to close the gap to his rival, getting past just a few laps later to reclaim into the lead for the team. Newey then set to work to lengthening the gap from his rivals and, with just under an hour and a half remaining in the race, handed the baton to Richelmi with a lead of more than a lap.
Richelmi continued the team’s strong pace, with last year’s FIA WEC LMP2 champion and LMP2 winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016 further extending the team’s lead. With 40 minutes remaining, the team pitted for the final time before Richelmi brought the #8 ORECA 05 Nissan home to take the chequered flag.
Making their Asian debuts, Cosmo and Byrne had a strong race in the LMP3 category. Battling with the competitive LMP3 line-up throughout the four-hour race, the #6 LMP3 Ligier JSP3 moved into podium contention mid-way through the race. They continued to push hard, maintaining a strong pace as the all-American pairing raced in Zhuhai for the first time and claimed the final podium position.
While the Asian Le Mans Series resumes in Japan from December 1-3 for the 4 Hours of Fuji, Laurent, Cheng, Tung and the Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport team will be back in action next week as the team continues its FIA WEC campaign at the 6 Hours of Shanghai. With just two races remaining this season, the Chinese team currently leads the LMP2 classification and returns to race in China for the first time since the their historic Le Mans victory.
David Cheng, #7, team co-owner and co-founder:
“Our #8 car with our new driver Harrison Newey, our returning little superstar Thomas Laurent and as well as mine and Ho-Pin’s teammate from our sister car last year, Stéphane Richelmi, pulled off a very good race and won by quite a margin. Our #6 LMP3 car of Guy Cosmo and Patrick Byrne, coming to Asia for the first time and driving the Zhuhai track, to pull off a podium was very well deserved. And a very hard-fought podium because the LMP3 class is super-competitive. Overall I’m very happy for the team this weekend. We achieved two out of the three goals we set out to do.”
Sam Hignett, director JOTA Sport:
“It’s been a weekend of ups and downs. A big credit to ORECA and the team of guys here because they’ve taken two cars which had done a 40km shakedown in Europe, then they were put in a container and sent to China and we’ve topped every session and won the race. The winning driver line-up is really impressive – we know Thomas of course from WEC, Harrison has come into his first sportscar race and he’s done a fantastic job with very good pace all weekend and no mistakes, and Stéphane is a super quick, experienced driver, the reigning LMP2 world champion, and he was just as good as we expected him to be.”
Thomas Laurent, #8:
“I pushed my first stint to make a gap for my teammates and unfortunately a GT came into my car. I don’t know why or how it happened, but we lost two minutes in the pit to repair the rear part of the car. The car was just amazing to drive and a big thanks to Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport and big congratulations to our rookie Harrison for his first race and also to Stéphane.”
Harrison Newey, #8:
“Thomas did a great job giving the car to me with a healthy lead. After the pit stop I jumped straight into the car with new tyres. The car felt good and comfortable and from there, it went pretty quickly. The stint was almost triple what I’ve done before. I feel really good – what way to start my sportscar career. A massive thanks to the team, who really educated me and brought us this win.”
Stéphane Richelmi, #8:
“It was almost an easy job when you go in the car and you have a one-lap lead. It’s a pretty cool feeling and it’s always really good when you’re able to push. The only bad thing was a mistake I made on Turn 1. It’s a pretty good start for our Asian Le Mans Series campaign – we’ve done the job here this weekend and hopefully we’ll do the same in Fuji.”
Patrick Byrne, #6:
“First of all I want to thank everyone at Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport for an awesome job. They did a really good job throughout the weekend and we’re really happy to be here.”
Guy Cosmo, #6:
“We have some really strong competition in LMP3, which is going to make the championship all the more enjoyable. The timing was right for Patrick and I to come here and race the full season. We’re up against some high-quality teams and drivers and it’s going to be really enjoyable for us.”
Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport
4 Hours of Zhuhai – Provisional Results
1. #8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport/Richelmi, Newey, Laurent
2. #37 BBT/Liu, Rizzo, Derani/+1 lap
3. #4 ARC Bratislava/Konopka, Calko, Breukers/+3 laps
1. #18 KCMG/Burdon, Prette, Wei
2. #11 Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport/ Lin, Thong/ +58.727
3. #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport/Cosmo, Byrne/ +2 laps
Provisional points after Round 1
1. #8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport – 26
2. #37 BBT/Liu, Rizzo, Derani – 18
3. #4 ARC Bratislava/Konopka, Calko, Breukers – 15
1. #18 KCMG – 26
2. #11 Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport – 18
3. #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport – 15
Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport
#6 – Patrick Byrne / Guy Cosmo
#7 – David Cheng / Ho-Pin Tung
#8 – Stéphane Richelmi / Harrison Newey / Thomas Laurent
Supported by team founding partner, Hollywood superstar Jackie Chan, the team was established in 2015, and immediately claimed the 2015-16 Asian Le Mans LMP3 championship. For the team’s 2017 FIA WEC campaign, Jota Sport brings almost two decades of endurance racing expertise which includes class wins in both the Le Mans and Spa 24 Hours.
Flying the flag for China and Chinese motorsport development across the world, Jackie Chan DC Racing has brought together the strongest driver line-up in its history in its quest to capture the LMP2 title in the world’s most prestigious endurance racing championship. The combination of multiple championship and race winners with fledgling talent creates a potent formula for success at the highest echelon of the sport.
2017-18 Asian Le Mans Series Calendar
October 27-29 – 4 Hours of Zhuhai (China)
December 1-3 – 4 Hours of Fuji (Japan)
January 11-13 – 6 Hours of Buriram (Thailand)
February 2-4 – 4 Hours of Sepang (Malaysia)