Prepare to be amazed! This mind-blowing race report will leave you on the edge of your seat! Brace yourself for a thrilling ride through the Bahrain 8 Hours as we unravel the incredible journey of Jota’s Porsche 963 LMDh.
Team principal Sam Hignett has dubbed their fourth position finish as a strong result, despite missing out on a top-three spot due to a drive-through penalty. A podium battle with the Ferrari 499P Le Mans Hypercars turned into a nail-biting pursuit, with Jota’s Porsche trailing just nine tenths of a second behind. Hignett spoke highly of his team’s achievement, especially considering that the Bahrain race marked only the fifth outing for their Porsche. This amazing feat came just two races into the 2023 season, which kicked off at Spa in April.
But wait, there’s more! Hignett exclaimed with pride that his team, also known as the “boys from the farmyard,” were able to rival the mighty Maranello team, all while operating on a budget that pales in comparison. This underdog story gets even more exciting when we learn that Jota’s Porsche managed to overtake the Ferrari not once, not twice, but five times during the race! How’s that for an adrenaline rush?
The action-packed race saw Will Stevens initially claim the third position before passing the baton to Yifei Ye, who secured the car’s fourth spot. The stage was then set for Antonio Felix da Costa to lead the charge. He swiftly overtook Nicklas Nielsen’s #50 and set his sights on Mike Conway’s Toyota GR010 HYBRID LMH, closing the gap to within 12 seconds. However, fate had a different plan for da Costa.
In a heart-stopping moment, da Costa’s double stint was punctuated by a pitstop, right before he went off track at Turn 1. Unfortunately, his daring maneuver to rejoin the race prompted a drive-through penalty for an unsafe rejoin in front of the D’Station GTE Am Aston Martin. Hignett, while acknowledging da Costa’s valiant efforts, expressed his dissatisfaction with the penalty. He argued that it’s challenging for drivers to have full visibility when wearing restrictive HANS Devices.
Hignett shed light on the instructions given during the drivers’ briefing, revealing that the correct protocol for cars going off at Turn 1 was to rejoin the track immediately. Instead, da Costa had opted to continue on the asphalt, bleeding back onto the circuit at a less acute angle, specifically on the exit of Turn 3. A controversial move for sure, but this only adds fuel to the already intense narrative of Jota’s struggle against the odds.
To add to the unpredictability of this gripping tale, the Jota Porsche encountered braking issues during the latter stages of the race. However, the team decided to throw caution to the wind and go all out rather than nursing the brakes. This daring choice, combined with Stevens’ return to the cockpit for the final stretch, allowed Jota to close the gap from over eight seconds after the last pitstops to a breathtakingly close 0.962 seconds at the checkered flag.
The Bahrain 8 Hours truly delivered spectacular racing moments that will be remembered for years to come. Jota’s impressive performance against the Ferrari, combined with their budget constraints, demonstrates the true essence of motorsport – the thrill of the competition and the triumph of the underdog. As the dust settles and the cheers of the crowd fade away, Jota’s remarkable journey in the world of endurance racing remains etched in our memories.
So there you have it, the exhilarating recount of Jota’s battle in the Bahrain 8 Hours. Stay tuned for more heart-stopping racing action as the WEC season unfolds. Who knows what incredible storylines await us next?