JRM will start their first 24 Hours of Le Mans from 11th place after driver Peter Dumbreck completed the final qualifying session for the race.
Dumbreck was the only driver from the team – also featuring David Brabham and Karun Chandhok – to run during the two hour session that finalised the start order for the race (start 2pm Saturday UK time). In his 13 laps on track the Scot bettered the team previous best lap by 1.5 seconds, setting a fastest time of 3:35.421, good enough for ninth fastest in the session times and 11th best overall, once times from the other qualifying sessions were considered.
“It's a great feeling to qualify for our first-ever Le Mans,” enthused Nigel Stepney, team manager and chief engineer. “This being our debut, we knew there could possibly be some hitches so we took the precaution of having all our drivers do a minimum of five laps yesterday evening. As it happens this worked out well as we lost the earlier session when we changed the gearbox and the engine. Although we're not 100% on the set up just yet, clearly our goal has got to be getting to the end and seeing where we are at the finish.”
The British team, running a HPD ARX-03a in LMP1 missed the first of Thursday's session as the team worked to replace the engine and gearbox, slotting in the units that the team will use during the race. The swap was made after a crack in the original gearbox was found, damage from a incident in Wednesday's first session for Chandhok.
“Yesterday I hit some debris through Tertre Rouge and the car felt like it took off,” said Chandhok. “We didn't know until we checked thoroughly overnight but the impact of coming back to ground cracked the gearbox. The team then decided to change the engine, which was pretty logical considering we were changing [on Friday] anyway. Although I would have liked to drive tonight, I'm just looking forward to getting behind the wheel at my first Le Mans on Saturday.”
Dumbreck surmised; “It's been a tough day with a fair few issues but we always knew that as a rookie team in the top class it was going to be that way. The team acted very professionally to get through all the changes and condense the programme into the final session. It will be good to have the day's break tomorrow to fully understand the information we have and how we can make the most of the race.”