Jota Sport has bolstered its European Le Mans Series driver line-up with the addition of Audi Sport factory driver Filipe Albuquerque.
The Portuguese joins team partner and regular driver Simon Dolan and sports car newcomer Harry Tincknell at the wheel of the British team’s LMP2 Zytek Z11SN for the entire five-race ELMS season.
Albuquerque gets his first experience in the Zytek in a test at Estoril in Portugal next week along with Dolan and Tincknell prior to them all attending the ELMS Official Tests on April 1-2.
“I am really looking forward to racing with JOTA Sport. I expect to learn a lot and to fight for the ELMS title that the team just missed out on last year,” Albuquerque said. “Jota is one of the best teams in ELMS.
“We have in common the will to win and the [car] package is very good. For me, it’s perfect to get more experience in endurance racing. It’s a ‘win-win’ situation.
“I really want to thank Audi Sport for allowing me to race with Jota and I am certain that it will help in my preparation for the Spa 6 Hours and the 24 Hours of Le Mans – I am completely focused in improving my endurance skills.”
After three years racing in the DTM for Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Audi Sport announced that Albuquerque, who began his motorsport career in 1994 and joined Audi in 2011, was switching to its LMP program in 2014, contesting the Spa 6 Hour and Le Mans 24 Hour races.
For Jota Sport, who finished third in last year’s Teams’ Championship with Dolan and Oliver Turvey claiming joint third place in the final Drivers’ standings, Albuquerque’s signing means the team can now fully focus on a busy test schedule ahead of the season-opener at Silverstone (April 18-19).
“There is no doubting Filipe’s pace and credentials,” said JOTA Sport team partner Sam Hignett. “It is up to us to give him the tools to expedite his sports car education and I’m certain that he will fit in perfectly with Simon and Harry and form a combination that will be consistently competitive and one that ultimately challenges for the ELMS title.”
The Estoril run will be Tincknell’s third test with Jota Sport – a team that scored one win (Silverstone), two third placings (Hungaroring and Paul Ricard) and a fourth (Red Bull Ring) plus four pole-winning starts (Silverstone, Imola, Red Bull Ring and Paul Ricard) in last year’s ELMS.
LMP2 cost capping regulations mean that the Zytek Z11SN will essentially be as raced so successfully last season.