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DC Racing Takes Historic LMP2 Win, Overall Podium

DC Racing’s Le Mans run ends in LMP2 victory and overall podium…

Photo: John Dagys

Jackie Chan DC Racing executed a near-perfect race with its No. 38 Oreca 07 Gibson to clinch LMP2 class victory in the 85th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and even briefly flirt with overall victory before finishing second in the final classification.

Starting third in class, Oliver Jarvis made a rapid start in the Oreca to move into the lead through the first stint, only to drop back after a starter issue.

More ground was lost when Thomas Laurent suffered a brief stoppage on-track at Indianapolis before getting the car back going, after which point the trio that also featured Ho-Pin Tung stayed out of trouble, rising up the order through the night as the LMP1 field descended into meltdown.

A LMP2 car finishing on the podium seemed possible yet improbable heading into the race given the low turnout for the premier class, but with four of the five LMP1 hybrid runners hitting trouble by half-distance, it looked increasingly likely.

Repeated issues for the early LMP2 pace-setter Vaillante Rebellion Racing with its pairs of Orecas, No. 13 and No. 31, caused the Swiss team to lose its 1-2 position and fall a lap behind the No. 38 car with seven hours to go.

Running second overall, DC Racing became the first ever LMP2 team to lead the overall order at Le Mans in the 21st hour when Andre Lotterer was forced to park his No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid up at the side of the track, squandering a 13-lap advantage over the field.

The No. 38 car enjoyed an extended stint as the outright leader, with Laurent and Tung sharing the running at the sharp end of the field before the recovering No. 2 Porsche eroded the two-lap deficit that stood after Lotterer’s stoppage.

Timo Bernhard made an easy pass on Tung to take the lead heading into the final hour of the race, with the DC Racing pit wall informing its driver to be careful and ensure the car did not overheat.

A change of the rear end of the car was completed in the closing stages, with the two-lap buffer to Rebellion’s No. 13 car that was second in class giving the team plenty of breathing room.

With 24 hours in the book and having fully embraced spirit of the ‘Mighty 38’ previously made famous by Jota Sport, who remains heavily involved in the running of the team and has since passed on the nickname, Tung crossed the line to secure class victory for DC Racing and finish second overall, one lap down on the race winner.

The result marked the first class victory for a Chinese team at Le Mans, as well as maiden successes for Jarvis, Tung and Laurent, the latter standing on top of the LMP2 podium at just 19 years old in his race debut.

The overall podium was also notable for being the first since 1995 to feature entries from mixed classes, with LMP2 cars finishing second and third alongside the race winner from LMP1.

Finishing two laps down on the No. 38 Oreca, Rebellion clinched P2 in class and third overall with its No. 13 Oreca shared by Nelson Piquet Jr., Mathias Beche and David Heinemeier Hansson.

Capping off a remarkable day for DC Racing, the No. 37 Oreca managed to move into the top three in the final hour, giving Tristan Gommendy, David Cheng and Alex Brundle a class podium.

The trio benefitted from a late error made by Andre Negrao in the No. 35 Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine A470 Gibson, running into the gravel and Mulsanne to throw away a chance at completing the LMP2 podium alongside Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues.

Despite fears of Oreca chassis dominating proceedings in the race, United Autosports managed to take fifth in class with the No. 32 Ligier JS P217 Gibson, marking a solid Le Mans debut for the Anglo-American outfit.

RESULTS: 24H Le Mans

Luke Smith is a British motorsport journalist who has served as NBC Sports’ lead Formula 1 writer since 2013, as well as working on its online sports car coverage.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. therandomguy

    June 18, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Despite Oreca dominance it is nice to see the LMP2 doing well and got 2nd and 3rd overall.

    But ACO need to do something to balance the Oreca’s and the others in the future or there will be concerns.

    • Steven

      June 18, 2017 at 9:29 am

      That’s up to Ligier, Dallara, and Riley needing to figure out a better package. The engine is spec based so the majority of it comes down to aero and how hard the car can push on the tires. Oreca found a very fast balance.

      There should not be any BoP in LMP2.

      • someone

        June 18, 2017 at 3:08 pm

        They did come up with a better aero kit. But you need all three other constructors to agree to allow you to change. Oreca didn’t agree so Ligier is locked in for the 4 years like everyone else. I like how you pretend that they are allowed to change the aero at will, it’s almost like you don’t know the regulations.

        • John

          June 18, 2017 at 5:29 pm

          The rules grant ALL the teams one “joker” update card, to use during the four-year homologation period.

          Onroak could have used theirs, and installed the new aero kit, but didn’t want to expend it so soon in the formula’s life, so they tried to find a loophole and asked the others to agree to a waiver.

          Understandably, the other constructors vetoed the idea, and Ligier had little choice but to race as is.

          But they did have a choice. They just tried to find a way around the rules, and it didn’t work.

    • AF

      June 18, 2017 at 10:15 am

      It’s not Oreca’s fault that they’ve built the best car, they made use of the time working with Rebellion on the P1 car and it has paid off. The fact that the manufacturers only get one evo package over the four year homologation period is the bigger worry as surely the Oreca will only get better. The Riley is never going to succeed in Europe, the Ligier looks to be a dog, while the Dallara is the closest challenger, it just requires some refinement in its low drag kit.

  2. P

    June 18, 2017 at 9:33 am

    The ‘Mighty 38’ was Amazing.

    What a way to carry the ‘Mighty 38’ Legacy on to future races in 2017 and beyond.

    Simon Dolan and the Gibson 015S would be proud of what happened today.

  3. Susafan

    June 18, 2017 at 10:27 am

    The empire will take out its BoP-Hammer

  4. GridS2Plaza

    June 18, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    On what grounds will the Riley never succeed in Europe? Simply because it’s an American manufacturer.
    Obviously if it doesn’t improve it’s performance it won’t be succeeding anywhere, but I’m sure if it’s performance was on par or close with the Oreca it would have some European interest.

    • AF

      June 18, 2017 at 1:29 pm

      The fact of the matter though is it is miles off the Oreca. Look at the laptimes for all drivers in the race, and Ricky Taylor and Jeroen Bleekemolen, two good drivers, languish amongst am drivers in the Ligier’s. I’d be happy to be proven wrong, but the lack of support for the car supplied in Europe will also be a factor, when the others can have readily available parts etc fairly easily.

    • susafan

      June 18, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      The Riley is a piece crap, at least for a high speed, low-downforce track. Heck they managed to be backmarkers with two of the top 10 Pilots in the P2-Field (Taylor and Bleekemolen)…

      The ACO should award a fifth constructor slot to a capable company like Swift, Elan or Norma…

  5. Anonymous

    June 18, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Fantastic performance from Oreca, if they had won and I think an overall LMP2 victory was certainly on today, what would it have said about the technological superiority of LMP1-H

    Quietly some groups, (Porsche & Toyota & ACO) are all breathing a collective sigh of relief.

    But I agree with several of the other comments regarding the pace of the other LMP2 manufacturers, specifically Riley, who will need to improve, and fast. at least the Dallara was the fastest car innthe speedtraps, even outrunning the LMP1-H cars!

  6. JOHN Stroud

    June 20, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Congratulations on your LMP2 LeMans victory Jackie Chan D.C. RACING ORECA TEAM.

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