JMW Motorsport dominated the fifth round of the 2016 European Le Mans Series with a runaway win at the iconic Spa circuit, Belgium.
Off the back of two wins at the previous rounds, it’s fair to say spirits have been high in the JMW camp but never complacent. Coming to Spa with a slim 5 point lead over the #99 Aston Martin in the Championship the team was adamant only another win would suffice!
Of course Spa is a circuit which commands as much respect and causes as many headaches itself as your competitors on it!
Showing good pace in the free practices the team had a strong qualifying taking 4thon the grid, which as has become the norm for the LM GTE class was a close affair.
Come race day, the weather was clear and kind given Spa’s reputation as having a weather cycle all of its own! Rory Butcher started the race for JMW Motorsport not only keeping his nose clean during the expected melee of the first corners but making headway to take the lead. From getting the lead it was clear he was never going to let it go and pulled out a healthy lead.
Next to take the wheel was Rob Smith who appeared (on the surface) unfazed and undaunted by the gruelling circuit and the dramas befalling others. Rob put in a superb stint to see the lead stay healthy 16 seconds plus and the JMW Ferrari 458 just kept purring around the track. Whilst tangles elsewhere caused a safety car period the good fortune continued for JMW as it worked in our favour and say us gain a lap lead and another quick safety car period shortly afterwards allowed for a super speedy but comfortable handover to Andrea Bertolini.
With important safety work completed on a damaged barrier (huge shout out of gratitude to the marshals and Spa circuit team!), Andrea was able to put his foot down and continue to show off what was becoming an absolutely text book display by JMW Motorsport.
Rory returned to the cockpit with the final 45 minutes to go and a slight touch of rain made all hold their breath that Spa was about to turn on one of its (in)famous weather displays but it thankfully came to nothing. Rory brought the car home to grasp the third win in a row for JMW Motorsport and cement the Championship lead (now 20 points over the #99 Aston Martin)
What was a tough race made possible by the determination of the team and drivers looked almost easy on paper but don’t underestimate the sweat that made it happen.
Click here to hear what our winning drivers had to say after this superb win.
Heading to the final race at Estoril, Portugal on 23rdOctober, the team cannot finish any lower than 2ndin the Championship and have therefore ensured themselves a place at the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours! But as wonderful as that news is, for the moment the team remain focused on and greedy for the Championship title!