Ho-Pin Tung says he’s ready to “bounce back” after a recent string of bad luck for Jackie Chan DC Racing, as the Chinese team seeks victory on home soil in this weekend’s Six Hours of Shanghai amid a tightening point race.
Tung and co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Thomas Laurent have seen their LMP2 championship lead slashed to just 10 points entering Sunday’s penultimate round of the season after scoring class wins in three of the first four races.
It was highlighted by victory and a double overall podium result for the pair of Jota Sport-run Oreca 07 Gibsons at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
While having claimed top class honors in the following round at the Nürburgring in July, their 46-point lead has dwindled away, courtesy of an unlucky break at Mexico, and a resurgence from the No. 31 Valiante Rebellion crew of Bruno Senna, Nico Prost and Julien Canal.
“We’ve come off a fantastic record in the beginning of the year,” Tung said. “But after the summer break, we’ve had our run of bad luck, which started in Mexico. We had almost [zero points] scored [there] because of some clutch issues.
“In Austin we didn’t seem to have the pace and Fuji was Fuji [with the rain].
“I think we’re coming here with a lot of confidence. I think we’ve done our homework for this track.
“We’ve had such a great run this year and we’d definitely like to shine in front of our home crowd.
“I think we should all be sharp and be ready to bounce back.”
Tung said their primary focus is getting back to the top step of the podium.
The team is coming off a strong run in last weekend’s Asian Le Mans Series season-opener in Zhuhai, which saw 19-year-old French phenom Laurent score pole and the fastest race lap en route to a dominant victory.
Tung admitted their focus hasn’t necessarily yet turned to the championship, knowing that a win, no matter where the Rebellion car finishes, would pad their points lead with only two races left.
“We’re absolutely going for the win,” he said. “We’ve been going flat out for the entire year so far.
“I don’t think the championship is really on our minds yet. It also depends a lot on what our competitors will be doing in the race.
“Everyone’s been developing very quickly throughout the season.
“I think one of the strong things about Jackie Chan DC Racing is that we had an amazing car right out of the box at the first race, and at Le Mans as well.
“We’ve maintained that position but were not able to show that potential in some races.
“If you see our race at the Nürburgring, it was arguably the strongest race we’ve done this year. We’re pretty confident we can repeat such a race here in Shanghai.”
“We’ve Come a Long Way” Since 2013 Debut
Tung said he’s been incredibly proud of he and David Cheng’s rise through the endurance racing ranks over the last four years.
The Chinese duo have accounted for three Asian Le Mans Series titles, prior to moving into full-time WEC competition last year with Signatech Alpine and its recent success with Jota Sport.
“David and I started our ascent of the ACO ladder back in 2013 in the Asian Le Mans Series,” Tung said.
“We’ve come a long way since. I don’t think anyone could have imagined then we would be here as Le Mans winners, having both finished on the overall podium there.
“I think endurance racing, in general, has made big steps [in China] since the beginning. We’ve been heavily promoting the sport together here. We can see that it’s paying dividends.”
All WEC races have been broadcast live in its entirety in China this year, with triple-digit increases in viewership since the team’s class win at Le Mans.
“We need to try and pay back with a good result on Sunday afternoon,” Tung said. “We’d be disappointed if we left without anything less than a win.”