Single seater ace Mitch Evans will race for JOTA Sport at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans (June 13-14).
The 2012 GP3 champion will join team owner Simon Dolan and new signing Nick Yelloly in the British team’s Gibson 015S Nissan LMP2 prototype for the French endurance classic, as well as the preceding 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 2. Evans will replace regular ELMS driver Filipe Albuquerque, who will be on Audi LMP1 duty at those events.
At 20 years old, Evans is one of the brightest prospects in single seater racing. Under Mark Webber’s tutelage, the New Zealander worked his way through the regional Formula 3 ranks until he burst onto the GP3 scene in 2011, winning the championship with Arden International the following year. He then spent the last two seasons in GP2, finishing fourth overall in 2014.
While Evans has concentrated exclusively on his open wheel aspirations prior to this point, he was encouraged to seek endurance racing experience from Webber, who is now entering his second season in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMP1 class with Porsche.
“I’ve never raced a sportscar and only drove one for the very first time last month [at Aragon] but I don’t see this an issue,” Evans said. “I’ll use my single-seater experience to get to grips with the LMP2 sports-prototype as fast as possible. I’ve followed sportscar racing for many years and Le Mans has always been on my ‘bucket list’.”
Evans joins a growing list of single seater drivers who have signed with JOTA to gain prototype racing experience. Former GP2 front-runner Oliver Turvey was part of JOTA Sport’s Le Mans winning line-up last year, while Turvey’s team-mate Harry Tincknell was called up to Nissan’s LMP1 programme last month. Formula Renault 3.5 race winner Yelloly then joined the team recently in a full-time role.
“I’m very excited to welcome Mitch to JOTA Sport,” Dolan said. “Hopefully he will help us in successfully defending our Le Mans LMP2 title. He is without doubt one of the best young single-seater drivers out there. With a proven track record of speed and bringing a car home in one piece. I’m sure he’ll adjust quickly to sportscar racing and I am certain he’ll fit in with JOTA Sport immediately.”
JOTA Group partner Sam Hignett added, “Mitch’s speed and ability are evident from his GP2 and GP3 performances. Mark Webber is Mitch’s mentor so I’m sure he will pass on some knowledge and general information about sportscar racing before Mitch gets in to our Gibson at Spa and Le Mans.”
JOTA Sport’s 2015 season begins with the official ELMS test at Paul Ricard on March 23-24.