PRESS RELEASE. Image credit: Autosport
Filipe Albuquerque will contest the European Le Mans Series with JOTA Sport for a second consecutive year aiming to go one better and win the prestigious title in 2015.
The 29-year-old Portuguese and Simon Dolan will again race JOTA’s venerable Zytek Z11SN which has now been rebranded a Gibson 015S.
Albuquerque, who along with Dolan and Harry Tincknell, missed out on last year’s ELMS title by just four-points despite scoring three podiums – including one win – and four pole-positions.
Filipe will combine his JOTA Sport five-race ELMS campaign, that begins at Silverstone (GB) on 11 April, with an LM P1 programme at Audi Sport Team Joest as in 2014.
Albuquerque and Dolan recently tested the Gibson at Estoril in Portugal. It now features aerodynamic, safety and serviceability updates to the cost-capped open-top prototype that have been made over the winter.
The third and final driver who will partner Albuquerque and Dolan in ELMS this season will be announced next month. Discussions are also underway for Albuquerque’s replacement for the FIA World Endurance Championship races at Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans.
Dolan, Tincknell and Marc Gené recorded a fine second in LM P2 at Spa last May. Simon, Harry and Oliver Turvey, the latter subbing for Gené when the Spaniard was unexpectedly recalled by Audi Sport Team Joest, brilliantly won LM P2 in the legendary twice-around-the-clock French race – finishing an amazing fifth overall.
About Filipe Albuquerque . . .
2015: European Le Mans Series, five races (JOTA Sport). FIA World Endurance Championship, Spa 6 Hours & Le Mans 24 Hours (Audi Sport Team Joest).
2014: 2nd ELMS, three podiums inc one win plus a personal pole-position & fastest race lap. 6th Spa 6 Hours, WEC (Audi Sport Team Joest).
2013: 18th DTM. 1st Daytona 24 Hours GT class.
2012: 11th DTM.
2011: 12th DTM, one podium. 3rd Blancpain Endurance Series.
2010: 1st Race of Champions. 2nd Italian GT Championship.
2009: 3rd A1GP Series, six podiums inc one win. 1st Race of Champions Iberia.
2008: 11th A1GP Series, three podiums.
2007: 4th World Series by Renault 3.5, two podiums inc one win, best rookie. GP2 Series, fours races. Formula 1 test driver for Red Bull and Toro Rosso.
2006: 1st Formula Renault NEC, 10 podiums inc four wins. 1st Formula Renault Eurocup, four podiums inc four wins.
2005: 3rd German Formula Renault, eight podiums inc four wins, best rookie. 5th Formula Renault Eurocup, two podiums, best rookie. 6th Spanish Formula 3 Championship, three podiums inc one win, best rookie.
Simon Dolan (GB). Age 45. Born: Chelmsford, Essex. Lives: Monaco (MC):
“I’m really happy to be doing ELMS again which is without doubt the strongest LM P2 category in the world. We had a great season last year finishing second in the championship plus winning our class at Le Mans but in 2015 we need to go one better and do the double.
“It will be very interesting to see how the Gibson does against the new Coupés. We’ve found some time in the car over the winter which we are really excited about so I am sure that with the pace and the incredible reliability of the chassis we will be right in the mix again.
“I’m personally delighted to have Filipe on board again with JOTA Sport. He’s an outstanding driver, totally professional and a really lovely guy. I couldn’t ask for anything else from a team-mate.
“Our recent Estoril test was frustrating due to the weather. But the latest upgrades have unlocked a whole new area of performance that we need to work on and fully exploit which would then give us a fantastic race car which will enable us to fight for both the ELMS title and to enable us to defend our Le Mans win.”
Filipe Albuquerque (P). Age 29. Born & Lives: Coimbra (P):
“I am very happy to be returning to race for JOTA Sport in 2015 in addition to my Audi Sport ‘factory’ commitments. After last season, I now know all of the JOTA team very well which will immediately help from the opening race.
“I am delighted to return to ELMS having just missed out on winning the title with Simon and Harry Tincknell last year. The championship gets more competitive every year and I think 2015 will be even tougher, in terms of both cars and drivers, because teams are raising the level. But I am sure that we as a team will be even stronger.
“Looking specifically at the championship rules and driving time, I am really happy to see that the organisers have taken action and changed the mandatory driving time of Silver/Bronze graded drivers.
“Racing in ELMS last year was perfect and definitely helped me to get in to a rhythm quicker for my Audi Sport LM P1 programme. I learnt many things including coping with traffic situations.
“Competing in ELMS gives me the opportunity again to race on ‘home’ soil at Estoril and that is always special. Last year, the Portuguese organisers and crowd put on a spectacular show. It was a perfect day for motorsport in Portugal and for the ELMS despite us just missing out on the title.
“We were very unlucky with the weather at a Dunlop test at Estoril earlier this month. It mostly rained on both days and we only managed a few laps in damp conditions. There is great potential with the revised Gibson but there is still a lot of work to be done.”
Sam Hignett. Partner, JOTA Group:
“JOTA Sport enjoyed a phenomenally successful year in 2014, winning at Le Mans and just missing out on claiming the European Le Mans Series title. At Le Mans, Simon [Dolan], Harry Tincknell, Marc Gené and then Oliver Turvey each did a fantastic job for us while Filipe [Albuquerque] joined Simon and Harry for our ELMS programme. The three of them did us proud but we just fell short in the ELMS title race and we’re aiming to reverse that in 2015.
“We’re delighted that Filipe can re-join Simon for our ELMS campaign and are grateful to Audi Sport for allowing him to combine his sportscar programmes. Obviously Harry has moved on, graduating to the Nissan LM P1 programme and everyone at JOTA Sport is thrilled for him. That now leaves us with a driver vacancy and we’ll be aiming to announce our third ELMS driver next month. Additionally we’re working hard on filling the final seat for Le Mans.
“We took the rebranded Gibson 015S to Portugal recently although the weather hampered the programme we had set out to achieve during the two-day Dunlop test.
“But it was great to be out running on-track again since our last race, coincidentally there last October when we narrowly missed out on winning the ELMS title.