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Davidson: Jota “More Prepared” for 6H Spa after ELMS Cameo

ELMS outing at Spa has enabled Jota to hit the ground running for Saturday’s WEC contest…

Photo: MPS Agency

Anthony Davidson says Jota Sport is more prepared for the FIA World Endurance Championship’s return to action at Spa-Francorchamps having “learned a lot” during its European Le Mans Series cameo at the same track last weekend.

Jota was one of four WEC entrants without a full-time ELMS program to capitalize on the back-to-back placing of the two ACO-run series’ visits to the Belgian circuit.

The British team’s No. 38 Oreca 07 Gibson started the ELMS race from fifth and finished eighth in the hands of Davidson, his WEC co-driver Roberto Gonzalez and Jake Dennis.

Despite missing out on a top result, Davidson reckoned there were still lots of positives to draw from the extra four hours of racing Jota banked before the Total 6 Hours of Spa.

“The other ELMS teams had already raced in Paul Ricard, but it didn’t take us long to get into the swing of things,” Davidson told Sportscar365.

“I had heard stories of other drivers jumping into cars and adapting immediately, and I hoped that I would have been able to do the same, and sure enough that was the case.

“That was quite a big relief because you never know how you’re going to feel after such a long six-month period away from driving. It was a good weekend and we learned a lot.

“Coming into WEC, we’re really pleased that we were able to participate [in ELMS]. We entered to win and run at the sharp end, and we were until a load of Full Course Yellows and safety car timings went against us.

“We ended up losing over a minute and a half compared to the other teams that were able to stop under those periods.

“It doesn’t always fall your way, but we learned a lot and we’re more prepared for this weekend now.”

While Jota’s ELMS outing helped to shake off any cobwebs, Davidson noted that the team will be heading into the WEC race with “eyes wide open” as different weather conditions are forecast for this weekend.

“Last weekend was a bit more of a struggle in terms of pure pace in qualifying than we expected,” he said.

“But it was in extreme conditions, so hopefully this weekend will be a bit normal for Spa, and it will push us back into a better tire performance window.

“It’s going to be very different from ELMS. We’ve got more continuous cloud cover, there’s a threat of rain, while last week it was blistering sunshine and 35 degrees (95 F). I think this will be a more standard temperature range for this time of the year at Spa.”

In the ELMS round, Jota had its first race event use of Goodyear’s ‘B-spec’ medium tire compound which is now set for its WEC debut this weekend on three cars in LMP2.

The No. 38 trio of Davidson, Gonzalez and recently-confirmed Formula E champion Antonio Felix da Costa are aiming for their fourth straight WEC class podium this season.

“Spa is a circuit that suits that tire naturally,” said Davidson. “It pushes you towards the harder end of the spectrum of tire compounds and construction, particularly with how hot it was [for ELMS].

“We had track temperatures above 45 degrees (113 F) – uncharacteristically hot – so it was never a consideration to try our regular tire for WEC.

“We’re coming here with our eyes wide open. We learned a lot last week, but you saw in Formula 1 – from one week to the next at Silverstone – how dramatically things can change.

“But we’re looking forward to this weekend and we think that what we learned last weekend should help us coming into this one.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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