JMW Motorsport claimed 2nd place in the opening round of the European Le Mans Series LM GTE Championship.
JMW Motorsport staked their claim as Championship contenders in the 2015 European Le Mans Series, taking a firm second place in the opening round held at Silverstone, Great Britain.
The British team are once again contesting the series in the Ferrari 458, this time with a trio of British drivers. George Richardson returns to the team for a second season and is joined by ELMS debutantes Sam Tordoff and Rob Smith.
Sam has carved a successful career which now sees him in the British Touring Car Championship for a third consecutive year to run in tandem with his ELMS campaign. Rob comes to the team with a plethora of sportscar, GT and endurance experience, most recently contesting the Porsche Carrera Cup.
Happy to be back on Dunlop ‘boots’ the team were eager to get the first weekend on the way. Friday practice sessions provided the foundation for the rest of the event with the team confident of their race pace.
For Sam it was to be a baptism of fire as he was sent out to qualifying amongst the many factory and experienced ELMS GT racers. Unfazed, Tordoff put in a strong performance to take the car to its quickest time of the event so far and bag 6thon grid.
Equally not let off lightly, Rob Smith was given the mighty task of starting the race and the new boy was to be given quite the challenge. Despite being a 4 hour race the action was thick and fast on the very first visit to corner four, where Rob was deft in avoiding cars spinning in all directions. Within just a couple of minutes of his ELMS debut Rob was to get his first taste of follow the safety car and the challenge to keep the heat in the tyres!
Once the green flag was shown, Rob found solid pace and lifted the car as high as 3rdallowing him to hand the car over to Sam in a strong position.
In Sam’s first stint it was hard to comprehend this was his first outing in an endurance race. With excellent pace Sam soon had the car up into 2nd, and his consistency was impressive.
With just over half the race gone, George took the wheel and continued the fast laps. A second safety car period bunched the field once more and whilst at first glance it looked like this may play to JMW’s advantage alas the safety car lottery did not go their way. However, once the course was green again this didn’t deter George giving it everything before handing back to Sam for the final stint. Sam confirmed his first stint was no fluke, taking the car to the chequered flag with more splendid lap times.
The fighting spirit of the entire team saw them finish 2nd, highlighting their ambition for the season ahead.
The second round takes places at Imola, Italy on May 16-17.
“I am really, really happy with our result! Sam did a mega job in qualifying and Rob made a storming start. The car was great, we knew from Friday we would have the race pace. The most difficult part was keeping heat in the tyres when under the safety. We could feel robbed by the safety car but that’s racing. What we have shown is that we are contenders. It is good to be back with JMW as I love the team and love coming back to ELMS.”
“That was really special! As a ‘new boy’ I was quite apprehensive given the task of qualifying but it went well and I was happy with P6, and our fastest lap of the weekend so far. This has been a big challenge for me, I have never done a pit stop before, a driver changeover or taken over a car mid race. I think I shocked myself with my first stint! The car was great and it was an amazing experience. When I got in for my second stint, the final stint of the race, I felt I really had the grasp of it. I am thrilled with our result.”
“It’s an amazing result for all of us. I am so pleased to get a great result in our home race so that family and friends could share it with us. I can’t wait for the next round – onward and upward!”