Hertz Team JOTA Fights for the Win at the 6 Hours of Spa

May 11, 2024Ramon Jones
WEC

Hertz Team JOTA secured its first win in the World Endurance Championship at the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps this weekend. The win today sees the team to second in the overall standings, 22 points behind Porsche Penske. Hertz Team JOTA lead a Porsche 1-2 ahead of the No. 06 Porsche Penske car driven by driven by Kevin Estre, Andre Lotterer and Laurens Vanthoor. Despite the P2 finish the No. 06 car still leads the championship. In third was the No. 50 Ferrari that despite topping the charts in Hyperpole; could not convert pole starting position into a win.

The race was stifled by a major delayed after a red flag. The clean up effort took nearly two hours to repair the track and clear the debris. The steward made the decision to extend the race by the amount of time lost rather than cancelling the race at the expiration of the starting clock which is typical in endurance racing. The red flag came out due to an incident involving Earl Bamber and the No. 02 Cadillac which started from P2 after the No. 50 was disqualified for a technical breach. Bamber did not sustain any major injuries in the crash.

Ferrari Comments After the Race on Fight Back to P3

The No. 50 Ferrari was able to bounce back due to the stoppage effectively making the race a two stint sprint race. Miguel Molina, driver of the No. 50 car said, “I think the team showed its full potential at Spa, and it will be hard to forget how both our crew and our teammates in the 499P number 51 climbed up from the back. At the sixth hour, we were first and second, and I believe that positioning best represents what we saw on the track today.”

Antonello Coletta, Global Head of Endurance e Corse Clienti

“The team did a great job over the entire weekend at Spa. Today in the race ,the drivers pulled back many positions and took the lead with the two official cars, benefiting from the team’s excellent strategy, which allowed them to make the most of the tires. The third and fourth positions of the 499P numbers 50 and 51, as well as the class podium finish of number 83, are significant results. However, this race, which ideally should have concluded at the sixth hour when we were in even better positions, went on a lot longer.”

Manthey Finishes 1-2 at Spa in LMGT3

Manthey secured a 1-2 finish in the LMGT3 class in a drama filled battle at Spa. The pair were separated by 1.3s in the race. The No. 91 Manthey EMA Porsche 911 R LMGT3 of Richard Lietz, Yasser Shahin and Morris Schuring started in third and fought through the on track drama and closing battle in the closing laps.

World Endurance Championship Standings After the 6 Hours of Spa

Next on the FIA WEC calendar is the biggest race of the season – the 24 Hours of Le Mans – which takes place at the Circuit de la Sarthe on the 12-16 of June.

No.50 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari driver Antonio Fuoco took his second consecutive pole position after setting a 2m02.600s lap in hyperpole. Unfortunately shortly after the session Fuoco lost that pole position due to a decision from the stewards. They said, “After having checked the Technical Delegate report, the stewards considered the minimum car weight did not comply with the relevant regulations. Consequently, the Stewards decided to impose the disqualification of car 50 of the qualifying and hyperpole sessions and the deletion of the lap times of these sessions.”

The decisions came after it was determined that the No. 50 Ferrari did not meet minimum weight requirements. The decisions meant that the No. 05 Porsche Penske Porsche 963 would inherit pole. The No. 02 Cadillac Racing V-Series.R claimed its highest ever starting grid position in P2.

Results From Hyperpole

The reigning champions bounce back in dramatic fashion this afternoon after a mixed conditions race threw all race strategies a curve ball. The rain held off until the two hour to go mark in the race. The rain prompted a need for swift action regarding tire strategy. You can view the closing stages of the race here:

For the second year in a row Toyota beat Ferrari on home soil. The result was a disappointing one for Ferrari after putting all 3 cars in the top 3 during qualifying. Additionally, Ferrari held the top position for over half of the race. However when the rain came the Ferrari AF Corse team was derailed on how to proceed. Ultimately the closing hours of the race is where the Ferraris fell off. Fuoco made a late lunge in the closing minutes to gain a position on the No. 08 Toyota but the effort wasn’t enough for a podium position.

Words from Ferrari on the 6 Hours of Imola Finish

Antonello Coletta, Global Head of Endurance and Corse Clienti

“The result at the end of the 6 Hours of Imola was not as expected, considering the great potential displayed by our 499Ps in the preceding days. When the rain came, the race was affected by the mistake of not varying the strategies among our three cars that had led up to that point. The disappointment is compounded by the regret of not delivering the deserved joy to the many fans who came to Imola and once again showed their immense affection for Ferrari and their passion for our involvement in the top endurance class. Among the positive highlights, I want to emphasise AF Corse’s success among the independent teams, with a first victory for the 499P number 83 in its second appearance in the championship.”

Ferdinando Cannizzo, Head of Endurance Race Cars

“We conclude the 6 Hours of Imola with regret about the result, as we had the potential to secure overall podium positions, having led the race for nearly four hours. We know that the Ferrari 499P’s performance on slick tires is excellent in damp track conditions, and even in the wet at the start, it was pretty good, so we tried to extend the lead over our competitors. However, in the end, misjudging the weather forecast, we made a late call that compromised the overall result. In the finale the number 50 499P delivered an outstanding stint in wet track conditions with slick tires, while the number 83 Ferrari secured an impressive class win, undoubtedly a positive aspect of the race. There is still much work ahead, and as always, we will approach it with humility, working to regain competitiveness at Spa.”

LMGT3

The LMGT3 victory went to the No. 31 Team WRT BMW M4 of Augusto Farfus, Darren Leung and Sean Gelael. The win came after a high risk high reward decision by the team to stay on slicks despite full wet conditions played a large part in their win due to saved time on the pitlane. The team secured a 1-2 with the sister No. 46 car finishing in second place. LMGT3 Qatar 1812km winners Manthey PureRxcing placed third in a hard fight back to the podium.

team wrt secures a 1--2 finish at the 6 hours of imola
AUTODROMO INTERNAZIONALE ENZO E DINO FERRARI, ITALY – APRIL 20: #31 TEAM WRT BMW M4 LMGT3 of Darren Leung, Sean Gelael and Augusto Farfus at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari on Saturday April 20, 2024 in imola, Italy. (Photo by Motorsport Images)

Vincent Vosse, Team Principal BMW M Team WRT

“What a great weekend for our LMGT3 crews! Qualifying and the race went very well, and we did the little things right. Augusto and Maxime stayed on slicks on a wet track and were able to show incredible pace. That gave us a good lead and ultimately the one-two victory. In the Hypercars, we were in the window where we belong this time after the big disappointment in Qatar. We are taking one step at a time and have already done some things very well here. On to the next race at Spa-Francorchamps”.

Valentino Rossi, #46 BMW M4 GT3:

“I am very happy about the one-two victory for Team WRT, for BMW M Motorsport, and my first podium in the FIA WEC. We already had a strong car on Saturday in qualifying, and Ahmad achieved a very good third starting position. In the race, we then decided to stay out on slicks. Augusto was a bit faster than Maxime at the beginning and took the lead. Nevertheless, I am very happy with the result”.

Full 6 Hours of Imola Results are Below

Antonio Fuoco secured Hyperpole for the No. 50 Ferrari hypercar ahead of tomorrows 6 hour endurance race at Imola. Fuoco set a fastest 1m29.466s lap which edge him and the No. 50 car team ahead of the No. 83 AF Corse car. It was a good day to be a Ferrari with the No. 51 finishing third in qualifying making a 1-2-3 finish for Ferrari. The No. 6 Porsche Penske 963 was the best of the rest finishing 4th in the session. Rain was an early threat but it stay away for a clean qualifying.

LMGT3

The class winners from Qatar Manthey PureRxcing with the Porsche 911 RSR LMGT3 driven by Aliaksandr Malykhin continued their amazing start to season with pole position at Imola. Malykhin set a 1m42.365s lap to take a decisive pole with a gap of 0.692s to the next car behind. The Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage will line up on the front row with the porsche

Full WEC Imola Qualifying Results are Below

Ferrari lead both practice sessions on Day 1 of the 6 Hours of Imola weekend. The No. 50 Ferrari Hypercar driven by Antonio Fuoco set a 1m30.957s lap outpacing the No. 6 Porsche by almost 4 tenths. Day 1 was all Ferrari with AF Corse lead Practice 1 and then Ferrari AF Corse taking the afternoon. The Ferraris looked particularly fast towards the end of the day.

LMGT3

TF Sport sister cars were set to finish the session 1-2 again until the final moments of the session as the No.81 car headed the No.82 Corvette ZO6 by 0.2s. Charlie Eastwood and Daniel Juncadella again set the times as American muscle starts to look strong in Italy.

Free practice 3 kicks off in a few hours time.

FP2 Results from Imola are Below

This week’s 6 hour race at Imola marks the first visit for Toyota Gazoo Racing and their World Endurance Championship program. The 2024 season got off to a great start for the Japanese manufacturer with a both cars scoring points in the season opener in Qatar. Toyota Gazoo Racing currently sits 2nd in the WEC championship standings. They will be looking to make a charge for first place this weekend in it’s first visit to Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari. Imola replaces Monza as the circuit is currently undergoing renovations.

Words From Toyota Gazoo Racing

Kamui Kobayashi (Team Principal and driver, car #7):

“I am looking forward to racing again at Imola and getting back behind the wheel of the GR010 HYBRID. I had a great experience in NASCAR at Austin last month, but now it’s back to WEC business and I’m fully focused on Imola…I raced quite a lot in Italy as a young driver, so I know the track well, and I won races there too. It will be a challenge to win this weekend on a new track for our car, but we are pushing hard together as one team to get the best possible result. As always, the key will be to make a strong start in practice and quickly find a good set-up direction for our car, then execute a clean race, using our experience and team spirit.”

The Toyota Gazoo Racing WEC Racing Team. Photo courtesy of Toyota Gazoo Racing

Ryo Hirakawa (Driver, car #8):

“Imola is another new track to learn with our GR010 HYBRID, but I tested a Formula 1 car there last month and raced an LMP2 in ELMS a few years ago so I am quite familiar with the layout. I expect it will be exciting to drive with a Hypercar and it should be spectacular for the fans. I hope this track will be more suited to our car compared to Qatar, which was a difficult weekend. The team has worked hard to prepare and find ways to come back stronger. I can’t wait to get started.”

Nyck de Vries (Driver, car #7):

“I’m looking forward to the start of the European season and we’re expecting a lot of Italian fans, so the atmosphere should be something special. It’s a new track on the WEC calendar, and it’s very narrow and challenging, so it’s exciting to see how we get on as a team. It’s a short event compared to Qatar, and we don’t get that much track time prior to the race, so we need to hit the ground running. Hopefully we can have a good weekend and fight at the front.”

Next up on the calendar for the World Endurance Championship is the 6 hours of Imola. Imola will be the first 6 hour race of the year providing fans with an exciting and action-packed race day, featuring intense on-track battles, strategic maneuvering, and moments of drama as teams and drivers push themselves and their machines to the limit in pursuit of victory. The Imola circuit, officially known as the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, is located near the town of Imola in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. The circuit holds high esteem amongst racing legends and fans alike.

37 cars have entered the race set to take place next weekend. The race weekend schedule is below:

Race Timetable (Local Time)

Friday 19 April
Free Practice 1: 12:00 – 13:30
Free Practice 2: 17:15 – 18:45

Saturday 20 April
Free Practice 3: 11:10 – 12:10
Qualifying + Hyperpole: 14:45 – 15:55

Sunday 21 April
Race: 13:00 – 19:00

Key Quotes

Frederic Lequien (CEO FIA WEC):

“It is an honor for the FIA WEC to visit Imola for the first time in 2024, a circuit steeped in motorsport history and where we are made to feel very welcome. We visited Imola with the European Le Mans Series in 2022, and it was a huge success. This year, with 14 manufacturers including Ferrari, Lamborghini and Isotta Fraschini plus our Italian star drivers such as Valentino Rossi and Antonio Giovinazzi, everything is in place for an unforgettable event”.

Marco Panieri (Mayor City of Imola):

“We are proud and honored to be able to host in our International Autodrome “Enzo and Dino Ferrari” the 6 Hours of Imola of the World Endurance Championship exactly fifty years after the first race. The most important world endurance event, one of the most striking and relevant in the motorsport scene, a competition that is expanding and finding renewed interest with the entry of new car manufacturers in particular from our Motor Valley.  It is an incredible opportunity for all of Emilia-Romagna, not only for Imola, which greatly enriches the 2024 event calendar with more than 50,000 expected attendees.

On the occasion of the Finali Mondiali Ferrari 2022, it was at the Enzo and Dino Ferrari that the Ferrari Hypercar 499P, which later triumphed at Le Mans in 2023, was presented to the world.  But not only that, it is also a great comeback exactly 40 years after the last race held in 1984, after a first edition in 1974, which at that time was the World Sportprototype Championship with the “1000 km of Imola”. We are intent on working on the multi-year nature of the event, and Imola is preparing with collateral events and initiatives that will connect the Autodromo and the historic center. 

It will be an event integrated with the city, participatory and inclusive with a weekend dedicated to the promotion of excellence and Made in Italy. In this regard, I can confirm that we have obtained the inclusion of the Imola weekend in the official calendar of initiatives of the National Made in Italy Day promoted by the Ministry of Business and Made in Italy.”

The 2024 6 Hours of Imola Entrant List

The initial announcement that the Iron Lynx and Lamborghini were partnering up to launch a GTP program in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship sparked a frenzy amongst racing face all around the word. After months of anticipation the fans finally got their first opportunity to see the Lamborghini SC63 in action during a race. The No. 63 Iron Lynx Lamborghini SC63 finshed 7th overall in their debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring; a feat that the team admitted wasn’t expected.

Driver Matteo Cairoli said, “I didn’t expect such a great result and I’m delighted for what we achieved today in our first race with this car. I want to thank the team because they never stopped working as hard as possible. I’m extremely happy to be part of this team. To finish less than 30 seconds away from the lead in a 12-hour race on such a tough track is something I could not believe at the start. We now enjoy the moment, and we will prepare to get back on track even more competitive in the next rounds.”

Words from the Team Racing Director

The 12 Hours of Sebring is a test of reliability for the manufacturers. Lamborghini knows they can build a car that possess the build quality to finish an 12 hours endurance race. Emmanuel Esnault, Racing Director, “We can be proud of what we accomplished at Sebring. We completed one of the toughest races in the world and overcame every obstacle that came to us.

Our drivers and team members worked incredibly hard, constantly adapting and focusing on the big picture. There is still a lot of work to be done, but we feel we made great progress at Sebring that we will carry forward in the rest of our 2024 journey. Making our first IMSA race has been a great challenge, as this project is still very new, but here and in Qatar we proved that as a team, we can make a difference. Our focus now shifts to our home race at Imola, but we are leaving the USA extremely motivated and we cannot wait to be back on track.”

Next up for the Iron Lynx Lamborghini collaboration is the 6 Hours of Imola; a race on home soil.

Jean-Eric Vergne, Nico Muller and Mikken Jensen’s No. 93 Peugeot had a seemingly successful race that was sure to see them on the podium. However, disaster struck when the car ran out of fuel with 2 laps to go. Unfortunately today’s news was another blow for the team. Due to a breach of the technical regulations the No. 93 car has been disqualified from the race for multiple infractions. The key source of the infractions was the use of ERS below 150 km/h in an attempt to finish the race after the car had run out of fuel. The team was also cited for not returning to the pits after using MGU-K to complete the lap and not making it to parc ferme.

The official bulletin is below:

As a result the No. 93 falls to the bottom of the table. Before the decision the team had the following words:

Jean-Marc Finot, Stellantis Motorsport Senior VP

“Everyone at Team Peugeot TotalEnergies had a very good race for the final outing of the PEUGEOT 9X8 in its 2023 version. We showed the potential of the car and the team really delivered a great performance. We were right in the mix. Unfortunately, there was a refueling problem at the last pit stop, something we still need to investigate, but it meant that Jean-Eric had to finish the race with the electric motor. We’ll take the positives from this race and focus on the next round. We’re looking forward to Imola and building on today’s performance in the 2024 version of the PEUGEOT 9X8.”

Nico Müller –  PEUGEOT 9X8 #93

“It’s just unbelievable, to run out of fuel on the final lap, undoubtedly due to some issue during the last refueling pit stop. We have to analyze what happened. It’s a hard one to take, as we really deserved to finish second today. We wanted to secure a final good result for the 2023 PEUGEOT 9X8.”

It was Porsche day in Qatar for the Qatar 1812km as the manufacturer secured 4 podium finishes between the Hypercar and LMGT3 classes. Porsche Penske Motorsport led the effort in Hypercar with their No. 6 car taking the checkered flag and securing the first win of the season. Hertz Team JOTA finished in a hard fought second place as the No. 12 Porsche 963 has hovered in the top 5 all weekend. The team will be pleased with the result despites falling behind the No. 6 car by 32 seconds. The sister Porsche Penske car who led practice and qualifying earlier in the weekend finished P3 to give Porsche Penske a double podium in the season opener and the lead in the team standings.

Heartbreak for Peugeot, Lamborghini Clearly behind

As the clock ticked to the closing minutes it seems all but guaranteed that the No. 93 Peugeot would finish on the podium until disaster struck. The car ran out of fuel with just 2 laps to go. The team fell to P7 due to the failure. The sister car finished P17 in class.

Lamborghini Iron Lynx debuted the new SC63 Hypercar finishing P15 on the weekend. Given that the team has no race data on the car. One of the most important goals of the weekend was to finish the race. While they finished 5 laps behind the lead lap this weekend served as a data gathering opportunity to help them fine tune the car for the future rounds in WEC and IMSA. The SC63 will make its IMSA debut at the 12 hours of Sebring later this month.

Manthey PureRxcing Secures LMGT3 Win

Manthey PureRxcing raced its Porsche 911 GT3R LMGT3 to victory completing 299 laps and winning the LMGT3 class. There was only one other car on the in class lead lap; the No. 27 Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGT3. In third the No. 777 D’Station Racing Aston Martin finished 1 lap behind the leaders. MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi secured a top 5 finish in his WEC racing debut. The feat was an incredible achievement as Rossi started his quest to dominate in the car racing world as he has in the motorcycle racing world for years.

#91 MANTHEY EMA Porsche 911 GT3 R of Yasser Shahin, Morris Schuring and Richard Lietz JEP/Motorsport Images

Full Results From the Qatar 1812km