Friday, June 13, 2014
Sidmouth race ace Harry Tincknell competes in the toughest and most famous sportscar race in the world, the Le Mans 24 Hours, this weekend (June 14 and 15) aiming for a class win in the prestigious annual race.
An invited entry of 54-cars will contest the 82nd running of the gruelling twice-around-the-clock sportscar endurance race that sees Sidmouth-based Tincknell plus Simon Dolan and Marc Gené racing the JOTA Sport Zytek Z11SN in the LM P2 category.
Exeter-born Tincknell embarked on his maiden sportscar season in 2014 after multiple wins in the FIA European and British Formula Three Championships since 2011 following a successful start to his motor racing career in karting throughout Europe.
Twenty-two-year-old Tincknell, who has never been to the Le Mans 24 Hours even as a spectator, made an immediate impact on the sportscar scene by topping the timesheets in the opening European Le Mans Series race at Silverstone in practice and qualifying. Tincknell then set the third fastest LM P2 time in practice and qualifying on his FIA World Endurance Championship debut in the Spa 6 Hour race (May 3).
This year’s race marks Kent-based JOTA Sport’s eighth appearance at Le Mans, having competed under various monikers, the undisputed ‘jewel’ in the sportscar calendar, with the small but dedicated Kent-based outfit justifiably gunning for victory – or at least its first-ever top-three class finish in the 17-car LM P2 field.
The demanding 8.47-mile Le Mans circuit consisting of closed ‘public’ roads combined with a permanent race track section will see the Dunlop-shod Zytek reach speeds of up to 190mph.
JOTA Sport recorded an unrepresentative seventh fastest time (3m 39.849s, Gené) in the LM P2 category in the ‘official’ test session at Le Mans – the only opportunity the invited entry gets to drive on the track before race week itself.
Split into two, four-hour sessions, the JOTA Zytek was consistently fast with all three drivers behind the wheel which bodes well for the race. A left rear puncture, caused by debris, lost the team some afternoon running at the test.
Satellite television channel, Eurosport, plans “live” coverage of qualifying and the race while practice, qualifying and race will be covered “live” by Radio Le Mans (www.radiolemans.com).
Tincknell says: “My aim is a podium and we’ll give it everything for sure – we have a realistic chance of scoring a LM P2 class victory. Simon (Dolan) was very fast there last year while Marc (Gené) is a former winner and needs no introduction.
“I’ve raced previously in France but hadn’t set foot in Le Mans until the official test this weekend (May 30 to June 1). I’ve always been interested in Le Mans, especially from when Bentley won (2003) and obviously that interest intensified since I started working with Allan McNish in 2009, himself a three-time Le Mans winner.
“Le Mans is legendary. A fantastic circuit that provides great racing, a party atmosphere amongst the fans, and the fact that it’s the biggest motor race in the world. I drove on the track for the very first time last Sunday, completing my mandatory 10-laps during the morning session and ended up second fastest, so I was very happy with that. Unfortunately I didn’t get many laps in during the afternoon session after Simon’s puncture. But I completed 18-laps in total and I was happy with my pace.
“Allan (McNish) and I have discussed different aspects of the race in depth while having Marc as a team-mate is the additional bonus because he knows the place like the back of his hand.
“I’ve not raced at night although I experienced night time driving on a track for the first time earlier this year in a test at Paul Ricard. I’m certainly looking forward to that in the race at Le Mans.
“I’ve been training hard all year with this race in mind and I will continue my intense fitness preparations this week before I head back out to Le Mans this coming weekend. It isn’t the most physical track we go to as there are lots of long straights but you need a lot of stamina to get you through the 24 hours so I’ll be continuing my endurance training program, eating well and making sure I’m as fresh as possible.”