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Hignett (Jota): “It’s the Right Time to Change Chassis”

Sam Hignett expands on Jota Sport’s busy 2016 season…

Photo: Jota Sport

Photo: Jota Sport

Jota Sport will head into next year with an ambitious dual championship program, having announced Friday an expansion to the FIA World Endurance Championship full-time with a new Oreca 05 Nissan. (En Français)

The 2016 season will be very much a transition year for the British squad, which will also keep fielding its Gibson 015S in the European Le Mans Series.

“We did not want to wait until 2017,” team partner Sam Hignett told Endurance-Info. “The list of teams that will order [new] chassis will get longer because of the new regulations and we didn’t want to risk it.

“It’s better this way for the team and the drivers. We believe the Oreca 05 is the best car and that’s why we’ve signed with them. This is the right time to change chassis.”

Hignett said the decision to order the pair of Oreca 05 chassis was made over the last few weeks after keeping a close eye on the car’s development since the start of the year.

“We waited to see how the Oreca 05 was since the beginning of the season and its victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans [appealed] to us,” he said.

“In addition, there’s the possibility of adapting the car to the new 2017 LMP2 regulations.”

Driver lineups are not yet set for either program but Hignett confirmed that Simon Dolan will not be part of its expanded FIA WEC effort, with the Silver-rated driver set to again focus on ELMS due to his work commitments.

In fact, the WEC and ELMS programs will operate independently of each other, according to Hignett, although the aim will be for the Oreca and Gibson to be run alongside each other at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Jota heads into this weekend’s penultimate round of the ELMS season leading the LMP2 title race, with an impressive pedigree in the continental championship.

Out of 15 total starts, the team has recorded 11 top-four finishes, three wins and no fewer than ten pole positions, with all of its success having come from the Gibson (Zytek) chassis.

Hignett believes remaining with the Gibson for 2016 will be a smart choice.

“We think it still has a good shot to [win] as we have shown this season in FIA WEC at Spa,” he said.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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