Mathieu Jaminet hailed the “really consistent” pace of his crew’s Porsche 911 GT3 R through the day-to-night transition as a key factor in GPX Racing’s Paul Ricard 1000km win on Saturday night.
Jaminet teamed up with Earl Bamber and Matt Campbell to clinch GPX’s first Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS victory and points of the season, in the race that precedes the blue riband Total 24 Hours of Spa next month.
Bamber started from 10th on the grid but made a strong start to reach the top-six at the end of the opening one-hour stint.
Jaminet took over at the second stop and emerged from the pit sequence in fifth, before passing Ferrari’s Callum Ilott in betwen both Walkenhorst BMW M6 GT3s for second.
GPX temporarily lost out to Marco Wittmann’s No. 34 Walkenhorst BMW due to a slow fourth stop in which another car boxed in the Porsche, costing it several seconds.
Campbell took the reins at that time and benefited from a safety car to push and pass Sheldon van der Linde in the BMW with one hour, 17 minutes to go. A double overtake on Orange 1 FFF Racing Team’s Marco Mapelli clinched the win during a tense final hour.
Jaminet said that GPX found its No. 22 Porsche to be consistently quick through all stages of the six-hour race, which started in daylight at 6 p.m. before descending into cooler conditions for a midnight finish.
“I think we kept more or less the same pace throughout the race, and I believe our car was really consistent in all conditions,” the Frenchman told Sportscar365.
“This made our strength: when the track started to change from daylight to night, we didn’t pick up the pace or drop. We just stayed really consistent.
“Maybe some of the others had some issues and had to adapt, but for us the car was usual throughout the day. This is what made the difference.
“It is a big surprise because in qualifying we had no pace. We thought, OK, if we have a clean race, we can go for top-five. And then suddenly in the first stint with Earl, we were up to P7 and P6.
“We were in the game and then I went in, got past the two BMWs and the Ferrari, and started to catch the Lambo. The car was really working well, and we were just up there.
“We got a little bit unlucky with the stop where we lost 10 seconds, on the change from me to Matt, due to the parking of the other car in the pit lane.
“In the end, we had a good last stop. The car was really consistent from first stint to last stint with the fuel. Not really much tire deg and we were really quick from start to finish.
“This is what made the difference today, and we put in the execution when it really mattered.”
GPX appeared as strong as it was last year at Paul Ricard when it finished second with Jaminet, Campbell and Patrick Pilet, despite that edition running in colder mid-November conditions compared with the late-May warmth of this weekend.
Jaminet declared that winning the six-hour race serves as the perfect boost heading into next weekend’s Nürburgring 24, where Nick Tandy will join the GPX trio in a Frikadelli Racing Team Porsche.
The win is also set to give the GPX Racing squad confidence heading into the 24 Hours of Spa, which it won in 2019.
“Spa is a little bit far, but for all of us – especially for the driving crew – we are already focused on next week,” said Jaminet.
“We have one of the biggest targets of the season for us and the brand. For sure we want to keep the momentum.
“We also had really good preparation there with the team, so everybody is really pumped and ready to do well. Now we are back in the game for the championship, so it’s good.
“I believe we will arrive in Spa with full confidence, and we showed today that people will be able to count on us for the season.”