Harry Tincknell is hoping that he and his Jota Sport team-mates can continue their push for a maiden European Le Mans Series title with a podium finish at Paul Ricard this weekend.
The British driver will share the team’s #38 Gibson 015S Nissan with Simon Dolan and Filipe Albuquerque at the four hour event on Sunday, September 6.
Victory at the recent Red Bull Ring ELMS round moved Jota Sport ahead of the challenging Thiriet by TDS Racing squad by two points in the overall standings, meaning that the championship fight could take a dramatic twist at this weekend’s race.
“A driver must be smooth at Paul Ricard, so it suits my style, but it’s a tricky track to master” he said. “Both the old and new Orecas will be fast, as will the SMP [BR01]. Our Red Bull Ring win was a massive result for us and there is absolutely no reason another solid team effort cannot reward us with a victory. Jota not only has a 100% finishing record in ELMS this year, but we’ve finished on the podium in all three races and that’s where we’re aiming to stay.”
Despite Jota’s evident form in 2015, which includes an FIA WEC race win at Spa and a podium finish at Le Mans, the nature of the 3.64 mile Paul Ricard circuit with its 1.1 mile Mistral Straight will provide a challenge for the upgraded Gibson.
At the pre-season Paul Ricard test, the Gibsons ran around 2 km/h slower than the quickest Orecas, but lap times were spread evenly across all of the LMP2 chassis makes.
“We won’t be the quickest on the straight but we will be pretty quick around the corners,” said Tincknell. “I qualified second and led last year’s corresponding race so we’re going to be in the ballpark.”
“I’ve never been on the podium at Paul Ricard so I’m intent on changing that. If all three of us drive as well as we did at the Red Bull Ring and the team does its usual good job, I don’t see any reason why we can’t be fighting for the win again.”
Tincknell’s bid for the European Le Mans Series title continues to run in tandem with his role as a Nissan LMP1 factory driver, although the Japanese manufacturer was forced to miss the most recent round of the FIA WEC after problems with the ERS system arose during testing. While a race return for the radical GT-R LM NISMO has not yet been confirmed, Tincknell maintains that its positive development is ongoing.
“With regards the GT-R LM NISMO, I’m looking forward to the continuing test programme. With every lap we complete we are learning more about the innovative LMP1 car. Everyone associated with the project is disappointed we’re not racing but this way we’ll come back bigger and stronger to face the incredibly tough competition in the WEC.”
On-track action for the fourth round of the European Le Mans Series begins on Saturday, September 5 at 10:30 with a 90 minute free practice session. The race itself gets underway the following day at 13:00 (all times local).
The Checkered Flag will be running live updates and exclusive news features from the Paul Ricard paddock throughout the ELMS weekend. Be sure to follow our social media accounts for unprecedented coverage and access to the 4 Hours of Le Castellet.