European Le Mans Series leaders JOTA Sport have today announced that they will step up to the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2016 with an ORECA 05-Nissan while also continuing to compete in the European Le Mans Series with their current Gibson-Nissan.
Although the team has already contested and had considerable success in individual rounds of the WEC, 2016 marks the first year that the British team will contest a full season.
Since 2012, JOTA has dovetailed its ELMS programme by contesting the WEC’s Six Hours of Spa in preparation for its annual Le Mans 24 Hour race foray and with amazing success. LMP2 class honours at Spa were achieved in 2012 and ’15 enhanced further by second (2014) and third (2013) placings. Combining to make these sporadic WEC ventures truly phenomenal, JOTA Sport has recorded seventh, first and second positions in the annual “blue riband” Le Mans event over the past three years.
JOTA will campaign an ORECA chassis in next year’s WEC which begins on “home” soil at Silverstone on 17 April after a comprehensive test programme with a second ORECA 05 chassis following delivery of the Nissan-engined LM P2 sportscar scheduled for the end of this year. This year’s closed-top ORECA 05 made its debut at Silverstone in April and has won the last two WEC races, victorious on its Le Mans 24 Hours debut and more recently in the Six Hours of Nürburgring.
“I am obviously very excited for JOTA Sport to be competing in the 2016 WEC.” said Simon Dolan. “We have proven over the last three years with our WEC wins at Le Mans and Spa that we will be immediately fighting for race wins while the LM P2 championship title is definitely our aim and within our grasp.
“We have been looking very closely at various chassis’ and I’m delighted to announce our partnership with ORECA. We have been very impressed with the ORECA 05 having raced against one all season in both WEC and ELMS races. It was quick straight out of the box and just as importantly, has shown remarkable reliability. I am confident that we have chosen the best chassis for 2016 and beyond in to the new regulations.”
Meanwhile for the fifth consecutive year, JOTA will enter its Gibson 015S-Nissan (nee Zytek Z11SN) in the ELMS next season. Since making its series debut at Paul Ricard in 2012 – the French venue that sees JOTA bidding to increase its championship lead by scoring a fourth podium finish of the season on Sunday (6 Sep) – JOTA has contested 15 ELMS races. In that time, the team has recorded 11 top-four finishes, including three wins, plus an incredible 10 pole-positions.